Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Over the river and through the wood, to Grandma's house we go by train! (Click on pictures to enlarge)
We wind our way past quaint houses...
and grand palaces.
Deep in the recesses of the forest we spy the ruins of ancient civilizations.
While changing trains I bought Grandma some chocolates from a local vendor.
Off on Train #2! Yes we can, yes we can!
The rest of the trip must be on foot. I check the map for the route to Grandma's. GRANDMA!!!
I made a wrong turn! Lost in the desert! It's as dry as Aunt Mary's turkey here!
Now I'm in the jungle! Oh no! Which way to Grandma's house? We are missing the green bean casserole!
If only I had GPS in my hat! But I will not stop and ask for directions. No man in my family ever has!
Exotic flowers point the way back to the road!
Wait! That's it! There's Grandma's house and she is waiting for me on the porch! I smell her Kentucky Jam cake from here!
Here's Grandma with her cat Whitey.
The sun shines on a Happy Thanksgiving!
I gratefully drink my tea and reflect on my blessings.
United States Botanic Gardens: Itself
Program: "A Midnight Clear" Nov 22-Jan 6, 2008.
Train Gardens and Sculptures:Paul Busse (Applied Imagination of Alexandria, Kentucky)
Grandma: Grandma HerbofDC
Whitey the Cat: Whitey
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
It just knocks the stuffing out of me that I find more and more retail businesses that are open on Thanksgiving Day. Are we so cranberry pickin' busy that we must be catered to every day of the year? Yeah the stores are packed before T-Day but let's give those underpaid, unappreciated pumpkin pie pushers a break.
I have relatives in the grocery business and Thanksgiving is the only day they have off from the middle of November until they collapse from exhaustion on Christmas Day and now they are about to lose that.
So people for the love of all things ButterBall:
Buy your "Ingredients for Life" some day other than Thanksgiving Day at Safeway. Tell Giant that you would prefer a "Giant on Your Side" on November 21st not November 22. RiteAid, with us "It's Personal" too so let your employees have a day off!
K-Mart, can you dim that Blue Light until Black Friday? We really don't need you "Right Here, Right Now" every day of the year.
So please stay home and enjoy friends and families. Read a good book. Volunteer at a shelter. Take a walk and do some bird watching. Text message a thank you to a military man or woman. Call an old friend. If you run out or have forgotten some critical canned Thanksgiving tradition, its OK. Improvise. Borrow from a neighbor. But stay out of the stores please!
So Relax. Enjoy! Stop and smell the green bean casserole and have a great Thanksgiving!
PS. Stay out of McDonald's also. "I'm Lovin' It" by boycotting you for a day. I don't care if the McRib is back!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Click Here for more information!
Friday, November 16, 2007
My Dear Fisher & Paykel Appliances:
Oh my lovely dishdrawers! I loved you from the moment I saw you! Two drawers! No matronly Midwestern Whirlpool monogadishwasher for me! I will wash dishes using a minimum of water and power! I will be green! Clinching the deal was when the nice Bray and Scarff salesman asked if I was aware of the "party mode."
"Yes, when you are having a party, pop out the dish racks and fill the drawers with ice."
Although the last party I threw was somehow connected with the now long gone night club Tracks, this convinced me you were my eHarmony match in polygamist appliance heaven.
I will be green. I will be popular again. I will have dishdrawer three ways. I will always be in party mode.
However, in less than five months this is the second time you have abandoned me. The first time the helpful Bray and Scarff repairman said I had overloaded you. How is that possible? We haven't even had a party yet! Just quiet romantic dinners followed by a little one or two drawer action.
Regardless I started loading you with fewer dishes which means I have to run you more often. I don't think that is very green of you quite frankly.
After the most recent breakdown the repairman suggested I was using the wrong kind of soap. Since the dishwasher was starting to smell I had wiped down the inside of the drawers using liquid dish washing liquid. Through some kind of on-the-spot CSI analysis he assumed I had been using this soap when running the dish drawers.
"No. I only did this AFTER it broke down and started to smell."
Once again a circuit board was ordered and I await for you to be returned to my fading green household on Monday.
Joining the two of you in jilting me is your trollop sister--my Fisher & Paykel refrigerator. How I was seduced by your curves. How you fit perfectly in my non-standard size kitchen. How I loved the fact that you were a bottom mount.
But yesterday I noticed a little water in the mount of your bottom. By the morning it was clear, both the freezer and refrigerator sections weren't cooling. Were you jealous of the attention your tramp dish drawer sisters were getting? Did I overload you with love? Am I using the wrong kind of soap?
I feel sad right now because I still love all three of you. Please come back! Let's try to make this work!
I am fervently hoping that on Monday your love for me will be restored and my Fisher & Paykel harem will be complete again. It's unfair to ask the GE cooktop to do all the work on Thanksgiving. In the meantime I am off to get some paper plates and another bag of dry ice--five pounds at a time. I don't want to overload you.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Thanksgiving is stressful enough as it is but must magazines feature impossibly complicated recipes accompanied by gorgeous pictures? Take Gourmet Magazine's "Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew." Beautiful! Sounds like a great alternative to turkey for the tofu huggers! But all it takes is two recipes, 33 ingredients, seven hours preparation (by the recipe's own estimate), a food stylist and an advance on your Home Equity Line of Credit at Whole Foods. Fennel bulb with fronds? One pound seitan? SEITAN? Eight black peppercorns? What if you only have seven? Will your vegetarian friends be forever angry at you for short-corning them and ruining Thanksgiving?
My version uses 13 ingredients, 90 minutes, a six pack and a re-purposed Halloween pumpkin. The only food styling done here involved placing the finished product on a white plate. Gourmet Magazine you are going DOWN!
Herb of DC’s “Drunken Roasted Fall Vegetables Pumpkin O’ Plenty Stew.”
One bag of stewing vegetables from Giant (parsnips, leeks, carrots, turnip, celery, various limp herbs) (LIMP HERBS!!!)
2 cartons of reduced sodium chicken stock (like a little chicken juice is going to kill a vegetarian)
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper
Half and Half
Pam cooking spray
Medium sized pumpkin (somewhere between a basketball and soccer ball)
6 pack of beer
Open first beer. Carve off top (of pumpkin not of beer) and place aside. Scoop out the pumpkin entrails and toss into trash. You could clean off the seeds and toast them but isn’t it easier to buy them at the Whitelaw market (undergoing a long needed renovation by the way)? Spread some olive oil around the inside of the pumpkin along with some salt and pepper. Use Pam for those hard to get at pumpkin g-spots. Giggle. Place top on pumpkin and spray with Pam for a nice orangey shiny glow like Jessica Simpson. Giggle again. Place in roaster pan in oven at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Open beer #2. Call ex and ask when you can drop the dog’s ashes off.
While pumpkin is cooking open beer #3. Cut parsnips, carrots, turnips into finger sized pieces. Toss with olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Oh wait, Pam that cookie sheet first. Pull out the pumpkin when done, raise temp to 400 degrees and roast veggies for 20 minutes. Put Amy Winestock on the CD player. Hold on. You don’t have a working CD player. You know who took it along with your youthful innocence and hairline. Put on iPod headphones. Should have recharged the battery. "Hardball" it instead while cooking. Yes Chris I can HEAR you.
Meanwhile put the “vegetarian stock” in large pot and heat to boiling. Reduce to simmer. Chop limp herbs (LIMP HERBS!!!) and stir into stock.
Time for beer #4. Wow. Five freakin' years at that humanitarian non-profit and no promotion. Chop onions, clove of garlic, leeks and celery into little pieces. Really little pieces. Yeah I'm sure you are concerned about my Personal Development. What about my Personal Financial Development? Don’t forget to Pam that cutting board first. It keeps it from retaining the oniony/garlicy flavors. Five years? Really just Pam everything including the dogs and your updated resume. Pam a skillet and brown the veggies. Dump into soup pot and add roasted vegetables.
Allow soup to cook another 20 minutes. Add Half and Half (don’t ask me for exact measurements—I’m in the bag by now). Allow soup to cool and place in blender that your ex’s evil mother gave you the year you gave her a bottle of Shalimar. How could you possibly know she would develop a violent allergic reaction to it? What was her name again? Oh yeah, Pam. Well they do wonders with laser skin treatments these days. It could be worse. Think of the think of gifts her child gave you. Like Identity Theft.
Pop open beer #5. God I hate Caller ID. It really takes the fun out of drunk dialing. Is it *68 or *69 to hide my number? Remove soup from heat and let cool. In small batches run through that cheap ass blender before it breaks down. Return to soup pot and heat. Carefully pour into pumpkin and return pumpkin to oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
Pull out pumpkin and take pictures. Ladle soup into Pammed bowls and garnish with any remaining limp herbs (LIMP HERBS!!! God I never get tired of that!!!!). Take pictures. Yikes! Get the beer cans out of the picture. Retake pictures. Call sister and discuss the shortcomings of various family members
Drink beer #6. Sniff the remaining Pam. Make a list of everything you are thankful for like easy access to another six pack. And my complete and total victory over Gourmet Magazine.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Mayor McSpeedy to our rescue! Wherever you look Mayor Adrian Fenty is there and in a hurry whether it is fixing DC schools, running the Marine Corp Marathon or mentoring young leather entrepreneurs at the annual Dupont High Heel Halloween race.
It is an old saying that people get the government that they deserve. In this case I think DC finally got it right.
You go Mayor McSpeedy!
Update: Nov. 8, 2007
Uh-oh! DC Tax Office employees have stolen over $16 million dollars...
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Nov 1, 2007 6:15 PM
13th St NW Washington, DC
I'm sitting down to eat and the doorbell rings. Opening the door I see two young girls dressed neatly in jeans and sweatshirts.
"Do you have any Halloween candy left?"
"No" I said rather stunned.
"Okay" they said and they started down the sidewalk. No apology for disturbing my dinner. No explanation why they were a day late and a costume short.
Finally realizing that DC uncostumed candyscams had reached new heights in chutzpah I yelled "And I won't have any tomorrow night either!"