Tell me, Mimi

June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

This weekend, I had the pleasure of spending 3 days with my grandmother, Mimi. We spent the weekend sitting in the living room, eating lemon merengue pie for breakfast, having Coke floats with lunch and watching old films on Turner Classic Movies.

Me and Mimi last summer

She commented on how it must have been a boring weekend for me, but I never thought I’d enjoy old movies so much! The stories, the dancing, the beautifully clean and innocent love scenes… these films have a depth that we just can’t recreate in studio blockbusters these days. What made them even more enjoyable was Mimi’s occasional commentary.

“Did I ever tell you that this was the first play I went to see on Broadway with my ladies club?” she asked me during The Bad Seed. Mimi and her friends used to take bus trips up to New York for Broadway shows. Mimi talks about these trips often with me, knowing how much I miss living in New York and how much I get a kick out of hearing what a trip to NYC and a ticket on Broadway cost in her day vs. mine.

We watched Daddy Long Legs and something about Fred Astaire reminded her of Grampi and what a great man he was. He was. I told her that Grampi ruined it for the rest of us girls because no man could live up to what an extraordinary man Grampi was. I told Mimi she got the best one and that was it. She told me again the story of Grampi and his brother getting dropped off at Girard College when they were very young and how Grampi’s little brother was crying so Grampi couldn’t cry because he, at 8 years old, had to be strong for his brother. Fred Astaire sang in the background and it reminded me of Grampi singing.

When she asked me if she’s ever told me how she and Grampi met, for a moment, my brain formed the word “yes.” But I didn’t say it. It’s a story I’ve heard over and over. I’ve written poems about it. I get goosebumps when I tell it. I couldn’t say yes because another part of my brain stopped me. There will come a day when I’ll never get to hear that beautiful story again. There will come a day when Mimi’s voice will be a memory that lives in my head. And I realized that no matter how many times I’ve heard that or any of her other stories, the only response when Mimi asks, “Did I ever tell you…” is always, “Tell me, Mimi.”

My Imaginary Date with Alcide Herveaux

June 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Image

It’s really hard to find a photo of Joe Manganiello with his shirt ON.

Alcide arrives on my doorstep 10 minutes early for our Saturday night date. He’s wearing tightish jeans and a grey crew neck T-shirt under a weathered brown leather jacket. I invite him in for lemonade while I finish getting ready. I’m wearing dark skinny jeans and a white tank top under my vintage 1970’s motorcycle jacket with my barely broken in Frye boots. I go easy on the jewelry and makeup, but I do throw on some special occasion mascara.

He sniffs my jacket and even through my perfume he recognizes the scent of its former owner- a packmaster from upstate New York Alcide met on a couple of road trips. He asks if I often date wolves. I can’t tell if he’s joking or not. I tell him I found it in a consignment shop. He gives me a toothy grin, shifts his weight and chuckles at the coincidence. As we head out the door, he nods toward his big black Harley-Davidson. I suggest we ride together. He scoffs at my Honda Rebel, but also looks a little impressed and agrees.

We roll up to a local BBQ joint and stake out a picnic table near the water. He goes up to the window to order for both of us. I check in on foursquare and Yelp, bookmarking the place to review later.

Alcide sits across from me and talks a bit about his surveying company. He asks me about my writing, my childhood and other generic first date topics. He likes my smaller tattoos, but not my half-sleeve. I sense that he feels it obstructs my femininity as he seems to like uber feminine girls. He likes my eyes and curly hair. He says I remind him of the forest at night.

Our food arrives- two hearty plates of pulled pork, baked beans, corn on the cob and lavish slices of corn bread. We debate Carolina vs Texas style BBQ, Louisiana falling somewhere in the middle. We both like a little kick in our sauces. He dives into his plate foregoing his utensils. It vaguely reminds me of the way my dog eats wet food and I find it both endearing and slightly repelling.

I point out that he’s got a little BBQ sauce on his shirt and he nonchalantly tears his whole shirt right off. I am immediately uncomfortable. Alcide senses my discomfort and sheepishly puts his jacket on. We continue pleasant chitchat and discover we have similar tastes in music, movies and meat.

After dinner, we leave my bike and go for a ride on his. Alcide likes that he doesn’t have to give me riding instructions and I like having my arms wrapped around him. Our banter has gotten better and we’re laughing at every red light before careening off into the night again. He stops near a trail in the woods and we walk for what seems like an hour- me clinging to his arm because I’m terrified of the woods at night and him with his free hand gently clasped over mine as he leads me to a small dock overlooking a lake.

I wonder how many dates he brings here as we sit on the edge of the dock with our toes in the water. Alcide seems much more comfortable here. He puts his arm around me and we play connect the dots with the stars reflecting on the water’s still surface. He tells me he feels like he can really be himself around me. I wonder if that’s just a line.

When I start to yawn, Alcide rides me back to my bike and then back to my place. He carries my helmet for me as we approach my door. I thank him for the nice evening and he leans in with a meaningful kiss that lasts just long enough before handing me my helmet. He tells me he had a great time and that he’ll call me next weekend.

He calls on Tuesday and we talk all night.

How To Have A Bad Day

May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Make sure it’s raining. Not just some poetic drizzle, but an apocalyptic monsoon that begins the moment you open your front door and ends about 30 minutes after you get to work.

Bring your useless umbrella. Watch helplessly as the wind not only turns it inside out, but snaps it clear in half.

Fall up the stairs.

Twice.

In the same trip.

Arrive in your office looking like you detoured through a waterpark. Ask your boss if he has a pair of gym shorts you can borrow because, dear God, is there anything worse than soaking wet jeans? Watch him look at you like you’re nuts.

Send the intern out in the miserable monsoon for a pair of stretchy pants from a kind female coworker’s car.

Feel horribly guilty about it.

Change into the stretchy pants. Spend the whole day feeling like that kid who peed her pants in elementary school and had to wear the spare pants from the Nurse’s Office.

Grilled Cheese Tasting: A How To

February 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

Much has been written about the arts of wine and chocolate tasting (both of which I indulged in over the weekend). However, the most refined palates simply must learn the required method of sampling an exquisite fromage grillé. Please, allow me to guide you into the world of toasted cheese as you’ve never experienced it before.

I earned all my credentials at the Big Cheesy event at Openhouse NYC

Tasting always begins with the eyes. Note the color of the bread. Is it golden or a deep bronze? Is it completely burnt? Does the butter give the bread a wet sheen, a just-kissed gloss or a saturated spongy soppiness? What of the cheese? Is it peeking from the edges, bubbling softly or is it rolling like magma onto the plate? Lastly, pay attention to the cut. Whether your sample is a square, triangle, circle or star, it has been specifically crafted that way for a reason.

Aroma: Get your nose right between the slices and into the sandwich. What do you notice? (Did you burn your nose? Wipe that cheese off.)

The Crunch: Sink your teeth into it. A good toasted cheese sandwich should have a signature crunch. A great sandwich boasts a thin, yet substantial topical crust with soft bread and cheese blending in the center.  Some prefer a harder crunch throughout the bread juxtaposed by the soft meltiness of the cheese center.

A cold beer pairs well with grilled cheese and cleanses the palate.

Meltiness: This is a crucial factor in tasting grilled cheese. Is the cheese melted properly? There’s nothing worse than partially melted or still-solid chunks of cheese interrupting an otherwise enjoyable experience. Keep in mind, different cheeses and/or combinations of cheese melt differently.

Bread to Cheese Ratio: There should not be too much bread. Likewise, there should not be too much cheese. This is a delicate balance. In the case of stronger cheeses, toasted-cheesemongers may use less cheese with a combination of fillers like spinach, ham, mushrooms or other additions that will compliment the cheese without overpowering the sandwich.

A Toasty Trio by Little Muenster

Flavor: You should already know your cheeses, of course, so pay attention to the notes in cheese combinations. If there are any additional ingredients like vegetables, sauces or meats, identify them and ruminate on what they bring to the overall experience as well as how they blend individually.

Pairings: If your sample comes with a pairing, try it. With wine, sip after each bite. If it’s a shot of soup, try both dipping the grilled cheese into the soup and sipping the soup after a clean bite. If the sandwich is topped with a relish or other pairing, do not remove it. When in doubt, ask the server how the sample is intended to be tasted.

Hungry? If you’re ready to put your newly acquired tasting skills to the test (you’re welcome, by the way), try some of the best grilled cheese shops in New York and Philadelphia.

I recommend Little Muenster as the best I’ve ever tasted or Melt Shop, which took the title of Best Grilled Cheese in New York City at The Big Cheesy Event. Try all 7 contenders listed here.

In Philadelphia, try the grilled cheese at the South Philly Tap Room. Visit World Cafe Live and ask for the Featured Grilled Cheese. For more Philly favorites, follow this list.

Google Alerts That Would Actually Be Useful

February 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

Alert: An ex Googled your name. Google Search displayed your most recent successes and top 10 hottest photos.

Alert: Those flirty photos you sent have appeared on what appears to be a pornographic website. Contact site owner now?

Alert: 1245 middle aged “Girl Collectors” have added you to their Circles on Google+. Would you like to block them now?

Alert: Your “Sent Mail” folder contains items over 5 years old, most of which are super embarrassing. Empty folder now?

Lazy Girl’s Recipe Book: French Toast

February 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

Toasty, sweet, delish and cheap!

Breakfast is the most delicious meal ever, but eh. Who wants to go through all the hassle of whisking, cooking, flipping, and then cleaning all the syrup off of everything… Blah! This may be my laziest recipe yet!

You will need:
Bread
Butter
Syrup

1) Toast bread.
2) Apply butter
3) Dip in syrup.
4) Nom!

Official Color of 2012

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s that time again! Pantone has selected Tangerine Tango as the official color of 2012.

“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

Tangerine Tango conjures images of dancing citrus painting over memories of hookers in Mexico. It’s a rush of  passion and the color of the morning-after headache. It says, “I’m dangerous!” in that desperate way internet girls post Myspace angled photos to accentuate their breasts in an attempt to distract men from the fact that they can’t carry on a remotely intelligent conversation. This color pairs well with Walnut Waltz and Rhubarb Rumba.

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