Thursday, July 24, 2008

"saute" and the art of war

Subterfuge is my new favorite word...Its not a new one Ive just rediscovered it, something akin to when you rediscover fresh peaches. When dealing with the less then passionate in regards to gastronomy you have to be very careful/sneaky....and in my job I can't throw pans.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

This is how it starts

Listen up, blog readers. Because I am about to answer a LOT of questions about how our darling Mia came to say "America? Eh, I could take it or leave it." ;-) I was massively streamlining my life this week (read: throwing old junk away) when I happened upon Exhibit A: this patriotic picture of Mia, smiling oh-so beautifully next to the Stars and Stripes. Perhaps a tear comes to your eye at the symbolism of it all. And you think "Oh! Mia LOVES America! She's as American as cherry pie on the 4th of July! What a good old-fashioned American girl next door."

And now, friends, I present to you Exhibit B, which I like to call "Rebel Yell." There she is, the epitome of America, proudly waving the CONFEDERATE FLAG. Clearly she has had angst against her homeland for quite some time, do we agree? For years she may have been formulating her plan to flee the American commericialism, politics and materialism left behind in the wake of the War of Northern Aggression.
Folks, I was raised with this woman, I lived with her, and never once did I see evidence of this. Mia, I just don't know what to say...except keep the Confederate thing under wraps over in Kabul, ok? If you come home at Christmas wearing a headscarf made of the Southern Cross, claiming to be the leader of a new extremist group, you and I are going to have words.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Voting, So To Speak

A direct quote from the North Carolina Voters' Guide:

Mental competence is not a requirement to register and vote in North Carolina.

In case you wondered.
Not quite pithy or cliche, Jen, but a darn good one-liner of the "truth is stranger than fiction" variety. ; )

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sweat and Cakes and Ale

Today it is so humid in New York that I swear the subway platforms were slick with sweat. Even on the train, which is supposed to be air conditioned, I actually had sweat rolling down my legs. My legs, Marie! And the crankiness--oh, the crankiness. Not one, not two, but three separate individuals made three separate, noisy complaints about things completely beyond their control: "Why didn't they tell us sooner we were gonna skip stops?" from a man in a hardhat (take that thing off! It's too hot!); "Get outta my way! Geeze!" from a man old enough to know better to a klatch of preteens; and "What the hell's the matter with the AC on this thing?" from me. Summer in the city.

And, for the first installment of the "What's Jen Reading" blog posts, a quote from W. Somerset Maugham's Cakes and Ale:
The wise always use a number of ready-made phrases (at the moment I write "nobody's business" is the most common), popular adjectives (like "divine" or "shy-making"), verbs that you only know the meaning of if you live in the right set (like "dunch"), which give ease and a homely sparkle to small talk and avoid the necessity of thought. The Americans, who are the most efficient people on the earth, have carried this device to such a height of perfection and have invented so wide a range of pithy and hackneyed phrases that they can carry on an amusing and animated conversation without giving a moment's reflection to what they are saying and so leave their minds free to consider the more important matters of big business and fornication.
You're the exception that proves the rule, Marie, to use a pithy little phrase I've never really understood.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

More to love about America...and Spain!

Lest we seem unpatriotic on this most patriotic of weekends, I thought I'd remind you of one of the truly great things about our culture:

Also, in my best effort to be the first to post something inappropriate on your blog, I thought I'd mention this little tidbit: on Thursday I went to see a production of Garcia Lorca's House of Bernarda Alba. Do you know this one? A classic of 20th-century Spanish drama, it's concerned with five ghastly sisters who are kept locked in their Andalusian home by their man-fearing/man-hating mother (si, Bernarda). The sisters, as is only natural, are so starved for that they alternate between depressed lethargy and violent hysteria. (Remember hysteria? That's what all those unmarried Victorian women suffered from.) There is one male sniffing around the fridges of the house--how could there not be, with all that overheated estrogen wafting from the windows? Much discussed, but never seen on stage, Pepe proposes marriage to one sister, seduces another, and unwittingly captures the affections of a third. Cat fights abound. No one is left unscathed by the misery and waste of those five deprived females. In a moment of subtlety unlike anything I have seen before, Lorca puts into the mouth of one of his characters the exact step that would bring peace, light, and no doubt the happy twitter of birds and the contented buzz of bees. That line, to quote this brand new translation: "Will you loose the stallion upon the mares?"

Oh, Marie, it was an hour and a half well spent. Check it out, if you get a chance. I imagine there are lots of productions of it in Afghanistan.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Today, my boss sent me this picture with the caption, "Why America is really in Afghanistan."
My boss is Canadian.
I laughed anyway, though.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We made him an offer he couldn't refuse

It's official: when you come home for Christmas, you'll be visiting us in our new house!!! I'm not sure it has totally sunk in yet that 5 days ago we didn't have a house, nor were we looking for one, and now I feel like I'm drowning in facts, figures, estimates, and amortization charts. Last Wednesday, Brian went for a run, and literally ran past this place with a For Sale sign in the front yard. He brought me back to see it, I loved it, and he called the realtor, who turned out to be the Godfather himself. Turns out he bought this place and is flipping it. As an HGTV addict, I love the idea of buying a flip. So the Don sent his buyer's agent out to show it to us before it went on the market. It took us all of 10 minutes to completely fall for this cape in the country. There is hardly anything not to like: it sits on one glorious acre a generous distance from the neighbors, has 3, count them, 3 decks, 4 bedrooms, 1 bath with a whirlpool tub (SOLD!), a full, paritally finished basement, hardwood floors, and oh, be still my heart - it overlooks nothing but cornfields and a horse farm. Our first attempt at making an offer was foiled because the town had absolutely no record of the existence of this address. Oh yeah, true story. They also had no accurate tax information, which is sort of an asset when purchasing a home ;-) So 72 hours later (after the Don called the town himself to resolve this matter) we tried again, and contingent upon our final approval of the contractors' work and the engineering inspection - it's ours! We're aiming to close sometime in September, at which point I will go into Martha Stewart on crack mode, and I would recommend keeping a safe distance lest you get knocked out by a designer window treatment...