Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too Darn Hot

The hot weather has sent me into a peevish rage. This weekend, some of my dearest friends visited from out of town. And although she is pregnant and it was in the 90s, she was as patient and game and good-tempered as can be. I, on the other hand, was furious. First, it should be said that due to some roofing activity there has been a pervasive stench of tar in the apartment. But that's really no excuse. Everything's been infuriating me: blowhards at the restaurant soliloquizing inaccurately about "the Great schism," Tom Lehrer and Henry VIII; morons at the Met screaming about the hilarity of old-fashioned bathing-suits; know-it-alls in the gift shop misidentifying Babe Paley; our hippie neighbors; the woman on-line ahead of me at Whole Foods; the guy who starts talking on the street at 6 am; and 1/3 of the people on the Internet. I only lost my temper and yelled at two: teenagers taunting a dwarf near Union Square, and a guy playing a handheld video game on the J Train. Also, I smashed some crockery last night, which wasn't that cathartic.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Thought

So, for a brief while now, I've been half-heartedly keeping a food blog - not because I feel half-hearted about food, but because I feel like my attention ought to go other places and in general I get overwhelmed. I made the decision a long time ago not to make this one too "foodish" because otherwise I'd write about nothing else, and besides, I don't want to bore anyone. But I think the time's come to fold that one into this one and that, in general, that might be more true to myself anyway. I hope my few friends here won't find it too dull!

That said, I shouldn't think there will be too much food for a little while; it's hard to get very excited about cooking in 90 degree weather. I tend to eat like a baby - lots of purees. I had stewed gooseberries on yogurt for breakfast and then for lunch made my hot-weather usual, which is just a can of tomatoes, a garlic clove, a glug of olive oil and a little red wine vinegar - pureed in the blender. That's it. Well, I crumbled in a little goat cheese. Dinner? Some peas stewed with butter and onion and a scrap of prosciutto. As you see, this sort of thing does not a food blog make, so the changeover will be more ceremonial than not.

That said, some friends gave me three terrific cookbooks for my birthday: Claudia Roden, which I'm ashamed to say I didn't own, and then Joanne Harris's two French cookbooks, which are beautiful and basic and make you want to get to the market. And yes, since she is indeed the author of Chocolat (and half-French), that category is not underrepresented...I've been reading them before bed, and so have been going to bed ravenous and furious and overwhelmed by all the summer produce that I'll surely not take full advantage of...

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Grandpa Asked Me To Test His New Electronic Chair

...and we said we'd send him a video! Here it is.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ok, I think I know what to do! Thank you so much, you're wonderful! I told Slim, "They know my writing best, I trust their judgment." And I do!

I can't wait to have something to show you...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Input Please


My psychiatrist is firmly of the opinion that I need to settle down with *one* project rather than flitting around amongst a whole bunch of different ones. He feels this will bring me focus and creative satisfaction. So here is an idea! Will you tell me which of these I should actually write/finish? Or which would interest you? (If any, gosh.)

- Book in which I visit the world's dollhouses, discourse about miniatures etc. generally

- Book in which I gain all old-lady skills

- Children's novel re: Pied Piper of Hamelin

-Book in which I live for a year on Tangier Island, learn life lessons

- Book about my 4 great-grandmothers (that's my mom's idea)

- Something about food.

These are all wholly theoretical, except when I've written bits of them. Even so, help me narrow down! I am actually not kidding, because you know how I write, etc.

The Petite Sophisticate Goes to the Cinema

It's been a while since I walked out of a movie. But over the weekend, I did walk out on Sex and the City 2. It's not just that it was stupid (although it was), or boring (although it was.) I expected that. But the blithe amorality of the thing was actually offensive. I wish I could say that I walked out with icy dignity, but in fact I was enormously bratty: prostrating myself, rolling in the aisle, groaning, sighing audibly (don't worry, the place was so full of delighted guffawing that no one noticed), demanding a cigarette (no, I don't smoke) and staring accusingly at Slim who, having been forced to come, now didn't want to leave without seeing how they "represented the Abu Dhabi skyline." The rolling may seem excessive (not to mention unhygienic) but I assure you, it was totally involuntary, a manifestation of a physical discomfort the like of which I have not experienced since Garden State in 2004. (It was for this reason that I saw 500 Days of Summer alone and recused myself from Away We Go entirely.)

Just for the record, I liked Please Give. And Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

R.I.P. John Benedict

Over the weekend, my great-uncle John Benedict, my grandmother's Yumma*'s younger brother, died at 85. I wanted to post this picture of him, (taken at D.C.'s Union Station during the war) and also this, which his sister Margaret wrote me:

When Beany** called to say, "We lost Johnny this morning," on Saturday, the 29th, I was relieved to know that excruciating pain did not linger longer than a week. Beany had one word to describe him: "courageous." It applied to his whole life.

Johnny and Yumma were the two children who never needed to be punished for anything. It was as though they had come to earth having already graduated from something or other and their ability to appreciate people and life and bring comfort to them was far above that of most of us. In contrast, I spent many hours exiled to a linen closet and almost looked forward to curling up on a pile of sheets in the dark.

Johnny always met everyone with a great big smile and eyes sparkling as he listened intently to what anyone had to say to him. He had a childlike enjoyment of whatever he did and enhanced the participation of others with him.

She ended her note by saying, "I am glad that when you were looking around for a family to be born into, you chose the one you did. Good choice." She said it.

Deciding whether to head to D.C. for memorial with my mom...

*Ruth Mary
**Beany is my great-uncle Henry. Look, they're WASPs.