Thursday, August 25, 2011

It Went Click

Sometimes things just need to click.  So much has happened over the past six weeks and, although I am quite happy about all of it, sometimes it scares the crap out of me.  I've had several random moments when I've suddenly stopped dead in my tracks because my inner voice was screaming "What the hell are you doing?  Have you lost your ever loving mind?"

And then I calm down and I wait for the clicks. 


Before all of this came out of my mouth, it clicked.  Guess where the extra toilet paper is living these days?

The second click came when he said "It's just a little pet peeve of mine."


The great goddess of shutthefuckup was definitely looking over me again as this sentence never made it out of my mouth.  What did occur was my that this entire house is full of MY pet peeves.  There is no habit or system or really anything that is not one of mine. 


The third click was, I think, the biggest so far as it stretched out over the course of two weeks.  You see, we both really like to cook.  And both of us are really good cooks.  So one of the first things that we did was inventory the freezer and the fridge.  For some reason, he seemed to believe that the last time I went grocery shopping was some time during the Clinton administration and was sure that everything I owned was spoiled.  (Okay, there was a 10-year-old bottle of steak sauce but at least it was unopened.  I let him throw it out.)

After a few tense moments, and a serious scrutiny of expiration dates, pretty much everything stayed.  However, I got a hrumph and a eyebrow lift over the tupperware container full of gorgeous duck fat that I keep in my freezer.

Flash forward a few days and come join me in the kitchen.  We've gotten home late and are both hungry and--lucky for us--had had the sense to take some pork chops out of the freezer that moring.  At this point in the story, I need you to understand that I have never met a pork chop that I didn't like and that I make really, really killer pork chops.  It's really quite simple and much more of a technique than a recipe.  Put a drop of olive oil about the size of a half dollar in a skillet that can go in the oven (I've lectured enough about the beauty of cast iron so I'll let it go this time).  Salt and pepper both sides of the chops and, over a mediumish flame sear them on one side for about 5 minutes.  Flip the chops and pop the whole pan into a 350 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes.  Let them rest for about 5 minutes before you serve them and you will have perfect juicy pork chops every time.  (Note--these times are for center cut chops.  If you have the really thin ones, start checking them after 5 minutes in the oven.)

So there I was, getting everything ready and a voice comes from behind me saying "What are you doing with those pork chops?  They need liquid.  They'll dry out!"  So I just said, "Leave me alone I'm cooking."  I said it very softly and I think I may have scared him a little bit so he went grumbling to the couch.  I heard a few grousing "If they're dry I'm ordering out" comments but I ignored them.

And now, of course, I had to prove a point.  So out came the duck fat.   A little thinly thinly thinly sliced onion.  Two thinly sliced potatoes and some salt and pepper.  All  into another skillet.  In no time flat they were beautifully brown and crispy and perfect.  The chops came out and went on a plate.  Some white wine and lemon juice went into the skillet and back on the stove. Boiled for a few minutes then finished with some butter.  Outrageous.

I plated it and brought it out and he looked at it and immediately apologized.  He ate three pork chops and all the potatoes.

But guess what?  That's not even the click part.   The click part came a week later when he asked for the same dinner.  No problem.  As you can see, it's a quick easy meal so we had a lovely supper. 

The click part came the next night.  I had been down to pick up our CSA bags for work (we get two bags of wonderful fresh veggies for our employees) and the farmers had overharvested herbs that week so they had gorgeous, tender thyme, rosemary and parsley to give away for free.  I couldn't resist accepting a few handfuls and stopped and picked up a whole chicken to roast for dinner.

When I got home, I realized that there were still two pork chops left and I couldn't let them go to waste so we decided to hold off on the herb roasted chicken for another night.   And here's the part where the clicking starts.

Here's what I heard from the living room.  "I'll leave you alone in there but could you make the duck fat potatoes again?"  Cl...  Sure.  Sliced the chops and heated them up in the gravy.  Delicious.  Clic.........

A few hours later when a certain someone got hungry again (have I mentioned his metabolism) he started poking around the kitchen looking for something to eat.  He emerged 20 minutes later with meat ravioli served in the last of the pork chop gravy and finished with a handful of the herbs I had brought home. 


It was such a perfect moment.  I know this is a really long story to get to such a seemingly silly thing but it was the first time our cooking came together like that.  He's made things.  I've made things.  We've made things together. But this time, there was serendipity and intuition and connection in the kitchen even though we weren't in there together.   When we've made things together before, it was intentionally "our food".  This time it was naturally "our food" and that's a big difference.

P.S.  There should be great photos of the food in this post but home computer is still down.  And it's not going in to get repaired until Mercury gets the hell out of retrograde.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Random Thoughts

1.  Does anyone else find it interesting that Jerry Lieber and Nick Ashford died on the same day. 

2.  Bratty Girl started college yesterday.  I'm thrilled, nervous, etc. etc. etc.   This is going to be a long four years.

3.  I learned today that if you search "swimming pool tits" in Turkey, my blog is the 455th result.  Weird, right?

4.  My coworkers are so used to me that no one has asked why there's an electric toothbrush on my desk.

5.  I really, really, really need to fold the laundry.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Fun Being a Girl

I read this article the other day and started writing a total rant about it but stopped myself.  I just have three quick points to make:

1.  Courtney Love is held up as a role model.  Hello?  Miss Heroin is no heroine to me.
2.  The Signourey Weaver character in Working Girl was not a "superwoman" as you say.  She was a raging bitch who lied and cheated her way to the top.
3.  You mention Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.  How about mentioning the real Erin Brokovitch and the real Karen Silkwood.

Rant over.

I knit.  I cook.  I rule. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

F-You Mercury

According to every horoscope I've read, Mercury is retrograde.  Which has been shockingly apparent lately.

1.   The home computer crashed.  For some odd reason, I didn't freak out about it.  I have a loaner from work and I'm not going to take the broken one in until after this retrograde shit is over.

2..  I wore two different shoes to work yesterday.  One had a big flower, the other little sequins.  And one was higher than the other.  It took me hours to notice, even though I did catch on that I was feeling a little limpy.

3.  Sent my guy off to his union meeting in Manhattan.  Cancelled.

4.  Had a long email conversation with my IT guy in which we were each talking about something different even though our responses all sort of made sense.

5.  We did finally find the heating pad but now no longer need it.

I can't wait until August 27th.

P.S.  I generally read my horoscope when I have no idea what to do.  Hey, my life is in the toilet bowl and I don't know which end is up--I'm going to follow the one sentence advice of a total stranger at the NY Post.  Otherwise, I don't really keep up on it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Some Good Things

1.  Getting flowers for no reason.

And then coming home to an amazing dinner (there was shrimp cocktail).

2.  Kittens

She and Max have been plotting all day.  They're either going to murder us in our sleep or sing Memory.

You can thank me later for not linking to the Barry Manilow version.

3.  Penne with sausage and broccoli from Palisade Pizza.  Thank you Frankie.

4.  A silverware drawer that opens and closes.

5.  A clear spot of floor in Chez Chaos.  It slowly, slowly, slowly moves forward.  And I'm not complaining one bit.  Slow and sure wins the race.  Things are starting to look really good around here.  The plastic room is still hanging around the kitchen door to keep the sawdust in but I'm just calling it a second bedroom.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


When I started this post today, it was called Strangers.  But as I wrote it I realized that the idea of strangers was a small part of what was really on my mind. 

I've still been thinking about interdependence a lot and the concept of balance keeps emerging.  Balance is not equality.  Or tit for tat.  It's not "the groceries are $10.15 so here's $5.08 and you have to pay the extra penny next time."  Balance is not readily measurable. 

Balance is catching someone when they are falling.  It's picking someone up who fell too fast.  And it's being caught when you are falling and picked up when it's your turn to hit the ground hard.  It's flying high together.  Sometimes, it's being loud while someone else is quiet.  Sometimes, it's singing along to the radio together.  It's one person navigating while the other drives.  But it doesn't just come from personal relationships.  It comes from inner contentment and thoughtfulness.  It comes from knowing yourself and loving the person who you are. And, often, it comes from strangers.

This week I found two things on Ravelry. 

The first is this beautiful new baby.  I don't know her and I don't know her parents but for whatever reason, she has come to represent birth and beginnings and all babies to me.  She's beautiful and I find myself going back to visit her.  She makes me cry happy tears and giggle out loud.

The second is this young woman.  She died in April in an accident on the camping trip that she mentions on her blog.  I don't know her either and didn't start reading her blog until after her death.  And I wept openly for her.  Just as the baby has come to represent a concept to me, this young woman has come to represent loss.   In the pieces of herself that she shared on her blog, I see so many other woman who I have known and loved in my life.

And in that there is balance.  Beginning and end.  Life and loss.  From strangers.   

I am finally feeling balanced in my life.  So much so that I am surprised at just how unbalanced my life was.  That doesn't mean that there weren't wonderful things in my life or fabulous moments or kind and loving people.  It means that there were bad things, and rotten moments and really crappy people and I let those things take over.

Balance is learned.  You have to try to balance on a two-wheeler, it doesn't just happen.  But once you learn it, it's wonderful and you can stop worrying about the balance and enjoy the wind in your hair and feel of the road under your wheels.  And when your balance starts to waver, you feel it right away and can fix it before you fall.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Am the World's Worst Passenger

We abandoned Chez Chaos this weekend and took a daycation out to Pennsylvania.  It turned out to be more than a day which was just fine with me.

I'm usually the driver but this time I suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to get a few hours of knitting time in while my Handy Man drove.  I just forgot to tell him that I really suck at being the passenger.  And I mean REALLY SUCK!  I have a friend who has threatened to put a burlap sack over my head whenever she has to drive me anywhere.  I give directions.  I check the mirrors.  I look over my shoulder.   But the worst part is, I flinch.

I flinch a lot.

Which is bad.

Luckily, my Handy Man is also a very patient man who understands me (for the most part) so I didn't drive him crazy.  After we made it up the loop-de-loop from the Major Deegan and got over the GWB, I calmed down a little and settled in with my Citron.  The ride up the loop-de-loop was definitely going to be a make or break moment for us.  I hate that thing on a good day and I avoid it at all costs but we had stopped in the Bronx to get bread and I couldn't really say, "Hey, let's go all the way across the Bronx, waste a half hour and pay a toll" just to avoid the loop-de-loop. 

There's always traffic on it and there's a big merge in the middle of it and you're up really really high which I don't like at all, ever, anywhere and then for a random 20 feet you're on solid ground again and then you're up even higher and there are 18 wheelers and holy crap on a cracker I'm never going to survive this.  And if that's what it's like when I'm driving, you can only imagine what it was like when I was the passenger.  I had to cover my eyes until we got under the apartments (you have to be from NY to understand what that means but just trust me, it's a real place.) 

From there on out, it was smooth sailing.  We had a peaceful, restful weekend notwithstanding a tumble out of bed and a bloody shin.  (It wasn't so much the fall as the sudden stop.)  The plan was to head home Sunday afternoon but there were fresh tomatoes and fresh corn and a swimming pool and a little nap in the sun and I'm just not strong enough to resist that sort of a Sunday.

We made it home before midnight, stopped and had a quick nightcap and slept the sleep of the innocent.  By the way, I drove home.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'm Hoping Today is the Day

I still haven't found the camera but I'm hopeful.  I have been able to get to the general area where I thought it was but still haven't been able to put my hot little hand on it. I have so many things to show you that  I was considering getting some paper and crayons and drawing pictures instead but I can't find those either.

So today will just be some random notes.

1.  Chez Chaos gets better every day.  The piles are diminishing slowly but surely and we can almost walk around.

2.  All of my kitchen cabinets now close and latch.  This (much like the bathroom doorknob) has never happened in the history of my apartment.  No more getting bonked in the head while I wash dishes.  Glory Hallelujah it's like a brand new place.

3.  We're finally able to cook.  Too bad I can't find the camera or your mouth would be watering right now.   The first of the tomatoes are ripening up in Pat's garden and they are absolutely perfect.

4.  The heating pad is still missing.  Damn.

5.  I had to get a new alternator (thank you Pop).  It was quite dramatic when it happened.  It actually crossed my mind that my car might have been being taken by aliens (and me with no knitting with me!) but it turned out to be pretty mundane.  However, you would be surprised at how much power your car can lose without you noticing.  It seems the death of alternator is a gradual process.  Now it's like driving an airplane.  Very exciting.

6.  I think my boss may have gone on vacation without telling me.

7.  I'm going to try to use the word "hubris" in a sentence today (and this sentence doesn't count).  I'm feeling the need for some righteous indignation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Still No Photos

I think I know the general area of the house that the camera is in right now but there's no way in hell I can get to it.  The kitchen is finished being painted so we can start moving things back in and give me some room to get the rest of all my stuff organized which makes me believe that things should be back to normal pretty soon. I'm continuing with the "touch things only once plan" which is working out great for my work desk but not so well for Chez Chaos.  And let's not talk about my desk at Chez Chaos.

There are little paths through the house right now and last night I ended up in a tangle with Heatherthecat in the hallway.  She was walking in one direction and I was walking in the other and it was dark and somehow her front paw went right between my second and third toes and neither of us had a clue what the hell had happened.  We both walked away unscathed but spent the rest of the night giving each other shifty glances whenever we moved.

Aside from the fact that there are things that I just can't reach, so far only one item has gone completely lost.  The heating pad has been missing for two days and I'm sure it's going to turn up somewhere crazy.  In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the manufacturers of Tiger Balm.  I don't know what would have happened without you.

There have been a lot of conversations that go like this:

Him--Oh crap.  Where's the skinny screwdriver?
Me--In my purse.

Me--I can't find the cat food bowls!
Him--Don't worry.  They're under the table and I already fed them.

Him--Have you seen the bandaids?
Me--They're in my purse.

Me--Have you seen the kitten?
Him--She's on top of the blanket, that is on top of the bag, that is on top of the box, that is on top of couch--22.  She'll be okay.  She has her pink yarn with her.

Him--I'm hungry.
Me--I'm hungry.
Both--Hell if I'm gonna try cooking in that kitchen right now.  Let's go out.

I probably just put a huge curse on the whole process but we're so close to the end, I'm sure it will be fine.

Up next--the new kitchen floor goes down in a few days, the bathroom gets a pretty new coat of paint, and the tomatoes from Pat's garden get sliced up and served with cheese.  Sounds like a pretty good plan.