Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Favorite Things

Did you know that scoring chestnuts can be perilous? Until now, have you ever even heard of scoring chestnuts?

Well have no fear--The Chestnutter is here.

This item makes the perfect stocking stuffer for any anal retentive chef.

Order now! Operators are standing by.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Most Important Decision--or When East Side Girl Met Spiceboy: Part One

Yesterday, when we were sitting in holiday traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, spiceboy asked me this question:

What’s the most important decision you ever made in your life?

Crazy, right? I mean, how does one even begin to answer a question like that?

We talked about it for awhile, and all of the obvious things came up—getting married, moving to Boston in 2002, moving to NYC last July, etc. And as I was walking to work today, I realized that I left out something major—a decision I made that seemed totally inconsequential at the time, but one that changed my life completely. But in order for me to tell you what that is, I have to tell you a story.


It was July 19th, 1998. I was walking down the street in Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania when I spotted a sign in the window of a small restaurant, which, for the purposes of this blog, we shall call Spice World. The sign read:

Help Wanted.
Experienced servers and bussers.
Apply within.

I had just quit my last job—a short and humiliating stint as a waitress at a Texas-style steakhouse where I was required to country line dance on cue. By the time I realized that I couldn’t dance and despised both steak and country music, all of the other summer jobs for college students were taken, and I was broke and desperate to pay the rent.

I passed by Spice World every day on my way to classes but I’d never eaten there. I didn’t even know what type of restaurant it was—I just knew I needed a job. A few minutes later, a beautiful waitress sat me at a small table in the back of the restaurant, and told me to wait for the owner.

The owner was spiceboy.

He looked impossibly young for a restaurant owner, which surprised me. And he was Chinese, which surprised me even more. His voice was deep and he spoke without a trace of an accent—also something completely new to me. Growing up in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the only Chinese people I’d ever come into contact with owned the Wok and Roll and spoke with thick accents. As girls, my sister and I would sometimes giggle about the way they spoke.

Until that moment, I had never pondered my whiteness at all—it just was. But all of a sudden, I was the lone white face in a sea of color, which was disoriented and exhiliarating. All around me, beautiful waitresses with skin in varying shades of brown sauntered up and down the aisles, chopsticks stuck in the back pockets of their jeans, their slim hips swaying to the funky music that played on the stereo as they took orders from customers, their accented voices carrying above the music.

I didn’t need a mirror to know that I had none of their exotic appeal, none of their easy grace. I had never really tried to look outside of my own little world before--I didn't need to. But sitting in Spice World, I felt like a standard issue white girl, complete with bad shoes, suburban hair, and a Pittsburgh accent.

spiceboy leaned forward and asked me qusetions. If I were following a template for a love story, the script would call for me to INSERT ROMANTIC TENSION HERE. But that’s not the way it happened. That stuff didn’t come until much, much later. The truth is, I felt uncomfortable and fidgety under his gaze. I felt too. Too young, too loud, too typical.

“Do you know anything about Southeast Asian food?” spiceboy asked me.

“Uh, no,” I replied. In fact, I knew nothing about Southeast Asia at all—food or otherwise. Then he stood up, and I thought the interview was over.

Instead, he showed me a wall filled with various “Best Of” plaques and certificates.

“These are our awards,” he said. “They’re nice, but that’s not really what we’re all about.”

He looked at me for a long moment after he said this, and I understood that he was telling me something important. I tried to think of something witty to say, but nothing came. So I just looked him in the eyes and nodded.

Then he offered me the job.

How was it possible that I had stepped off of the streets of Pittsburgh and into a completely different world? A world where Chinese men spoke perfect English and everyone ate with chopsticks and there wasn’t a single Bloomin’Onion or 20 oz steak in sight?

And if finding this new world was as easy as picking a door and walking through it, then what else was I missing out on?

I still remember the way the sunlight streamed through the front windows and onto the wooden floors. I still remember the quiet sounds of plates being places on tables and the strange yet savory smells coming from the swinging door that connected the dining room to the kitchen.

True, I was more TGI Friday’s than Southeast Asian, but suddenly my long, boring summer looked different. Suddenly, I had access to something that seemed foreign and exciting and full of possibility, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

I took the job.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

13 Things I Did While I Was Home for Thanksgiving

1. The night before Thanksgiving, I sat at the kitchen counter, watching my mother make the pie crust for pumpkin pie, just like she does every year. First she mixed together the shortening and flour in a large bowl, then she rolled it out on a large wooden work board that belonged to my grandmother. When she turned her back, I stole little pieces of raw pie dough and popped them into my mouth.

2. Woke up early on Thanksgiving to help my mom make the stuffing, just like I did when I was a little girl. Together, we melted the butter in a large pan, then added the onions, celery, and carrots, talking as they cooked. Then we poured the mixture over the bread and added pine nuts and bacon and raw egg and I smooshed the mixture together with my hands while my mom worked at the stove.

3. Sat by the window with my hands wrapped around an oversized mug of coffee and watched the snow falling in the backyard.

4. Called my sister (in Portland, OR) and gave her a blow-by-blow account of what was going on so she wouldn't feel like she was missing anything.

5. Ate green bean casserole made with frozen beans, canned cream of chicken
soup, canned fried onions, and cheese--and loved every minute of it.

6. Fell asleep in front of the TV.

7. Felt nostalgia and love when I drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnels and saw
Pittsburgh spread out before me, all bridges and barges and gray skies.

8. Ate breakfast at my favorite Pittsburgh breakfast spot.

9. Solved Wedding Worry # 71. I met the Thai Lady. She’s real! And she's
an amazing cook and totally excited about catering our wedding, so I'm no
longer freaking out. (Thank you, spiceboy.)

10. Hugged my friends and realized how much I miss laughing with them.

11. Stayed up late with spiceboy making crabcakes in his mother’s kitchen.

12. Didn’t fight with my parents.

13. Dreamed of Christmas when I can come back and do it all over again.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Two Adjectives I've Always Longed to Hear

A few days ago, I went out to dinner with spiceboy, his mom, and various other members of the Spice Family.

I love going out with the Spice Family, b/c they all speak Chinese to each other. You might think this would be a stressful situation for a white girl like myself, who's only language is gramatically incorrect English, but it's actually quite refreshing. Because everyone is speaking Chinese, there is very little pressure for me to make conversation and very little chance I'll say something that will make me look like a moron in front of my future extended family. So it's actually a great situation for me.

So we're out to dinner, and spiceboy's mom was talking in Chinese to a Spice Cousin and I heard her say my name. spiceboy looked up at me from across the table and said, "Do you know what my mom just said?"

"No. What?"

"She said you're tall and skinny."

Now let me put this into perspective: I'm 5'4, and spiceboy's mom doesn't even clear 5 feet. But still, I'll take the compliments where I can get them.

Have I mentioned how much I love my future mother-in-law?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My Favorite Things

Since the retailers are pushing the holidays on us so early, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and do random posts about some of my favorite holiday things.

Favorite Thing #1: The holiday catalogs. They come in huge stacks this time of year, and I love to read them while I'm pooping.

I mean, who can live without a solid wood salt cellar carved to look like a squirrel or a pumpkin soup turreen?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Spice Brothers

This week, spiceboy’s older brother is in town visiting us. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll call him spicebrother.

The Spice Brothers have an interesting relationship. They don't always see eye to eye on things, and unlike my own family, they aren't overly demonstrative. But if you watch them closely enough, you can see the bond between them.

Displayed in their mother’s living room is a photo of the the Spice Brothers from about 30 years ago—when they were still living in China. spicebrother is holding spiceboy—just a chubby toddler--up for the camera, their heads leaning close together in an impossibly cute pose.

I love looking at this photo. I seriously think it was the last time the Spice Brothers hugged.

Despite their differences, there are two things the Spice Brothers agree on unequivocally: food and silly jokes.

Last night, we met up with spicebrother for a casual dinner. Iwasn't expecting a highly exciting evening, so I threw on a white ribbed tank top, a dumpy cardigan sweater, my ridiculous pink flowered galoshes, and ran out the door. It was pouring, I was tired, and the chances of us ending up anywhere remotely fashionable were slim to none, right?


Halfway through dinner, we got a call from spiceboy’s fabulous cousin--a well-known Manhattan caterer who is always doing something extremely interesting, stylish, and grown up with people who are interesting, stylish, and grown up. I like hanging out with her, b/c I always feel like a secret, nerdy imposter who has somehow stepped into someone else’s fabulous life for a couple of hours.

Last night, the fabulous cousin was hanging out at Pegu Club—supposedly one of New York’s latest hot spots and a veritable cocktail mecca. It’s based on a British Officer’s club that originated in Burma in the 1800’s.

As the entire Spice Family is originally from Burma, this club interests them greatly.

We agreed to meet there after dinner, and I suddenly wished I had taken more care with my outfit.

Once the plans were made, spicboy looked across the table at his brother and said, “Pegu Club,” under his breath. Then they both burst out laughing.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing,” they answered together, and we headed out into the rainy night.

As we trudged through the puddles along West Houston, an unmarked door swung open, releasing a gaggle of beautiful women onto the sidewalk.

“That must be Pegu Club,” I said to the Spice Brothers, who snickered into their collars.

The bouncer held the door for us, casting a wary glance at my pink flowered galoshes, which squeaked as I walked up the stairs. At home, the boots seemed cute and irreverent. But among the LBD crowd at Pegu Club, the boots seemed pedestrian and childish.

Pegu Club is all of the things you would expect a new hipper-than-thou club in Manhattan to be—dark, sleek, and sexy. But it’s also thoughtful, tasteful, and very well put together. Soon we were settled in around a table, surrounded by fanciful finger food and classic cocktails with names like the Fitty Fitty, Whiskey Smash and Pegu Club Cocktail. I sipped my mineral water and coveted every cocktail on the menu. Ever since my puke-o-rama, I’ve not been able to drink. Sad.

The waitresses looked like they stepped straight out of a 1930’s film. The hostess looked like a statue, all sleek limbs and high cheekbones. The owner—a friend of spiceboy’s cousin-- stopped by to chat and kiss-kiss with our group. Again, I had the feeling of stepping into someone else’s fabulous life. Despite my inadequate footwear, it was a fun time.

In the cab on the way home, I asked the Spice Brothers what Pegu meant.

“Well,” said spiceboy, “Pegu is a region in Northern Burma.”

“But in Chinese,” added spicebrother, “Pegu means ass.”

“So we just had drinks at Ass Club?” I asked.

The brothers dissolved in laughter, and I stole a glance at them across the backseat of the cab. Their heads were leaning close together, and their devilish smiles were boyish and nearly identical—not unlike the photo in their mother’s living room.

They looked happy, and that makes me happy.

Maybe some day,if I keep watching them closely enough, I’ll get to see them hug.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Song That Was In My Head When I Woke Up Today:

Just Like Heaven by The Cure

Friday, November 18, 2005

Manhattan Love

As we drove back from a work function on Long Island, Manattan loomed in the distance--a glittering emerald city. It was the first time since moving to to New York that I got to see it in that way, and it was beautiful.

I experienced a surge of emotions so strong I almost hugged myself.

The car was quiet except for 1010 WINS on the radio, and I glanced at the faces of my coworkers, all seasoned New Yorkers. They were looking straight ahead, and I wondered if they still felt the a thrill upon seeing their city like this, even after so many years.

Without looking away from the skyline, one of my coworkers asked me, "Is this your first time living in Manhattan?"

"Yes." I said.

"Do you love it?" he asked.

I do.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The More Things Change...

Today, I woke up before my alarm went off. I showered and dressed in a smart outfit for work. I stopped at my favorite coffee venue for my ritual cafe au lait. I walked to work down Second Avenue, umbrella in one hand and coffee in the other, looking for all the world like any other adult on their way to work.

At work, I returned calls from people who depend on me for answers. I signed off on cover copy and cover art because people trust me to do so. I attended a meeting in which I presented three potential book projects, and based on the strength of my presentations, I was given tens of thousands of dollars with which to publish those book projects. Next, I attended a lunch meeting, where I shook hands and I smiled and I made things happen.

Then I came home from work and had an antagonistic phone conversation with my mother and suddenly, I was thirteen years old again. That's right--thirteen, with a mouthful of braces and those sky-high "mall bangs" that were so popular in the late 80's/early 90's in BEAVER COUNTY, Pennsylvania.

It's not fair! Why can't you just understand me? I used to yell at her before retreating to my room to write in my journal, while she would sit in the living room with my father, discussing the injustices of being stuck with such a spoiled, disobedient, irrational, know it all daughter.

And tonight, after our argument, I hung up the phone and sat on the couch in utter frustration for several minutes, thinking, It's not fair! Why can't she just understand me?

Then I retreated to my bedroom in my 350 sq foot Upper East Side apartment to write in my journal while my mom and dad sat in their living room in BEAVER COUNTY, Pennsylvania, discussing what an irrational and know it all daughter they have.

Monday, November 14, 2005

There Are Good Days, and There Are Bad Days

"Even when we fight, we fight inside the container of good."
--Augusten Burroughs, Magical Thinking

Leek Soup Body Cleanse: The Aftermath

You know how sometimes you’ll have a really hectic day at work and you hardly get to eat, then as soon as you walk through the door you’re so hungry that you shove a billion crappy things into your mouth at once?

Well, that’s what happened when I broke my fast after the Leek Soup Body Cleanse. It all started off quite innocently at 3pm or so, when I bought some cucumber sushi rolls with brown rice. I figured that was a nice, zen-like healthy way to ease back into food. But from there, it escalated into a full-blown binge:

3:15 pm cucumber sushi rolls with brown rice

3:24 pm partially stale hunk of gruyere cheese that I found in the fridge

3:30 pm 2 pieces of ciabatta bread smeared with marscapone cheese and sprinkled with cocoa powder

4:00 pm Burmese fish soup (mohinga) that I found in a takeout container in the fridge

4:30 pm more bread with marscapone and cocoa

Brief hiatus caused from stomach upset. But the hunger is like fire—it just keeps spreading. The more I eat, the hungrier I get.

5:15 pm several squares of swiss chocolate with hazelnuts

7:30 pm my dear friend ABS arrives to hang out and order some takeout. By the time he arrives I am so hungry I could eat my coffee table. He takes so long choosing what to order that I say, “If you don’t hurry up and figure this out soon, I’m going to chew my fucking arm off,” which makes him laugh hysterically.

8:00 pm the food arrives—Chinese take out. I ordered the steamed tofu and broccoli w/ brown rice and a small hot and sour soup. I wolf down the soup but am disinterested in my tofu and broccoli—instead, I have begun to lust after ABS’s spicy peanut noodles.

8:30 pm ABS is only picking at his noodles and I struggle with myself not to ask if I can have some. Instead, I begin eating the complimentary crispy noodles that came with our meals.

9:30 pm ABS leaves and I realize he has left behind his unfinished noodles.

9:35 pm after debating whether or not to call ABS and tell him he forgot his noodles, I decide screw it, and I eat the noodles.

10:00 pm I eat two fortune cookies before brushin my teeth and going to bed.

So, in 7 short hours, I undid all of my hard work. Brilliant.

Today, my stomach is a little upset. But at least I’m not ravenously hungry. I do have to poop, which is good news. The bad news is that because I have office pooping paranoia, I will have to wait until I get home to do my business, and by then I may have lost my window entirely.

Biggest Lesson Learned From Leek Soup Body Cleanse: I am not the type of girl who should do a Leek Soup Body Cleanse.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Leek Body Cleanse: Day One (with slight modifications)

I have completed Day One of the Leek Soup Body Cleanse.

As you probably supsected, I have deviated slightly from the plan, which is quite simple: Eat only leeks and broth.

I've come to the conclusion that if you are a nun or a monk or otherwise confined to your home w/ no access to any kind of sustenance save for leeks and water, you will be able to adhere to the rules of The Cleanse with no problems.

However, if you are trying to go about your business as usual, it is impossible to adhere to this regimen.

Here is my timeline from yesterday:

8:45 am One nonfat cafe au lait and one small bottle Fiji water

11:02 am Leeks and leek broth, and a glass of water. The freshly cooked leeks were quite tasty, but the broth was rather bland.

12:15 pm More leek broth and another glass of water

2:35 pm Met a friend for brunch and a movie. Before leaving the apartment, I promised myself I wouldn't eat. But I caved at the last minute and had unsweetened yogurt with fruit and chamomile tea and three glasses of water.
There's a lesson here: When you're on a leek soup body cleanse, don't agree to go out to brunch with a friend.

3:00-5:15 pm Went to see Jarhead, so I was out of reach of food.

5:20 pm My friend really wanted to go see Derailed--kind of like a double feature Saturday. I was kind of ready to go home, but agreed to see the movie in order to avoid thinking about food. Then we decided to grab a bite to eat between flicks. Can you say counterproductive? Story of my life.

5:45 pm Arugula with artichokes drizzled with olive oil. More chamomile tea, and water (perhaps next time I should take the leeks out with me so I'm prepared at mealtime)

7:00-10:00 pm
Watched Derailed. Unless you are avoiding food, I suggest that you don't see this movie. It's not very good.

10:30 pm More leeks, which became very mushy and scary and not as tasty as when I first cooked them. They were stringy and even though I washed them thoroughly before cooking,I swear I was chewing on sand. I drank two more glasses of water to flush the sand out of my teeth. My stomach growled and I tried to ignore it.

10:45 pm Desperately hungry, I grabbed the phone, ready to dial out for a big, gooey, cheesy, pizza. Instead, I look a deep breath and tried to calm down. In the end, I ended up eating 2 Medjool dates and 2 Carr's water crackers while watching the Food Network. It's not perfect, but it's better than pizza.

11:30 pm I crawled into bed, hungry and crabby and wishing for a burrito. I hadn't adhered to the cleanse 100%, but I really didn't eat like a normal person, either. Was it possible that leek cleanse would still be effective under these circumstances? I thought I felt different--lighter somehow. That's probably not uncommon when you don't eat, but took it as a sign. I drank a glass of water and fell asleep.

1:30 am
When I got up to pee, I found myself drawn to the Swiss chocolate bar I bought earlier in the week. I stared at it for a long time. Then, telling myself you can't be held accountable for what you do when you're half asleep, I ate exactly one square.

Maybe it's just food deprivation addling my brain, but I've decided to stick with The Cleanse, for better or worse, until dinnertime today. After all, I've come this far, haven't I? I even forced down more of the evil leeks (and sand) for breakfast this morning. It's not that bad, really.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm now going to go look through my takeout menus and cry.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Return of the Gray V-Neck Sweater/Weekend Leek Soup Body Cleanse

Because I am a nerd, I am awake at 7:45 am on a Saturday morning, separating clothes to take over to the laundry.

Just minutes ago, as I was sorting the darks, I saw a hint of charcoal gray peeking out from under my crumpled Seven Jeans. It was my gray V-neck sweater! It's not lost after all!

I'm so happy right now--all is right with the world. I wish I had someplace important to go today just so I could wear my charcoal gray V-neck sweater with the matching wool skirt and my lovely knee-high camper boots. Oh, well, I guess it will just have to wait until Monday.

Today is not the day for cute outfits, anyway. Today, I begin a body cleanse that will last until tomorrow evening and that consists of drinking broth made from boiled leeks, eating the boiled leeks, and drinking water and herbal tea.

Don't you wish you were me right now?

It's kind of gross, I know. But the truth is, I love eating so much that sometimes it's almost fun to test myself with things like this. Also, ever since last week's puke-o-rama, my body has been completely out of whack, so I figure this can't hurt, right?

Right. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Wedding Worry # 71: It's 203 Days Until the Wedding and We Have No Caterer

When spiceboy and I started down the blissful path to matrimony, I was thrilled at his level of involvement with the wedding. He had ideas about the venue, about the theme, about the decorations, and of course, about the food. What girl wouldn't be thrilled that her husband to be is taking such an active role in the wedding planning process, right? Right.

So we agreed on taking charge of certain things. I'm in charge of invitations, desserts, picking my dress, choosing the flowers, etc.

spiceboy is in charge of the "concept" of the wedding, the venue, and the food. Spiceboy wants us to have a Southeast Asian food theme. I think that’s fantastic. For months, I asked spiceboy about the caterer details. He told me he knows a woman who does an amazing job and that she said she would be happy to do the wedding. I don’t even know her name—he has always referred to as simply “The Thai Lady.” Great.

For the next several months, I asked spiceboy if we could set up an appointment to meet with The Thai Lady when we are home for Thanksgiving. For months, he's said, "Sure," like it was absolutely no problem.

This week, spiceboy is away on spicebusiness in our hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which just happens to be where the blessed nuptials will take place, and where The Thai Lady who is supposedly our caterer has her business.

So two days ago, I asked spiceboy if he would please call The Thai Lady and see if we can set a date and time to meet while we're home for Thanksgiving to start planning the menu. He said, “Sure, but first I have to make sure she’s actually free on the day of our wedding.”

I said, “You told me months ago that she was!”
He said, “Well, um…”


That is just not what I wanted to hear.

Yesterday morning, before heading off for a long and grueling day of presentations (which went well, despite my wardrobe malfunction of the night before) I called spiceboy and said, “If you do nothing else today, please make sure to call the caterer. Please.”

spiceboy said, “Sure.”

Do we have an appointment with the caterer yet? Do we even have a caterer? Will we ever have a caterer? I haven’t heard a peep from spiceboy.

spiceboy, you are a lovely and charming man. That is why I want to marry you. And on the day I marry you, I want to be able to eat yummy Southeast Asian food.

Please, for the love of God, set my mind at ease and call The Thai Lady. Please.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Where Are You, Gray V-Neck Sweater?

Right now, I'm supposed to be sitting in bed, surrounded by paper and notes, practicing presentations for a big meeting tomorrow.

But instead, I'm sitting in the middle of my apartment, staring at huge pile of all of my clothing. which I have removed piece by piece from my dressers, closets, and laundry bags.


Because I was planning to wear my charcoal gray wool skirt and charcoal gray V-neck sweater to the presentations, and I can't find the sweater.

It's not in any of my drawers. It's not in any of spiceboy's drawers. It's not in my closet. It's not in the dirty laundry or the dry cleaning piles. It's not even shoved in some remote corner or covered in dust bunnies under my bed.

My gray V-neck sweater has vanished.

I love that sweater. It looks great with the gray skirt and with my black Camper boots. It looks great when I top it off with my extra long black silk scarf. I feel confident and secure in that gray sweater. In fact, I wore that gray sweater on my first official publishing business trip to New York, so it holds special memories for me.

All week long, as I imagined myself doing these presentations, I imagined that I would be wearing the sweater.

And now the sweater is missing, it's after 10 pm, I'm not done with my presentations, and I have no outfit.

Also, have I mentioned that I am terrified of public speaking?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Drunkest Girl at the Party

I’m sure you recognize this scene:

You’re out on a Friday night, walking around the city with your friends, presumably on your way to somewhere fun, and you happen to amble past a person who’s obviously had waaaaaay too much to drink, and who is getting sick right in the middle of the street, completely oblivious to the world around them. Their friends are huddled around them murmuring encouragement, trying to help out, but this person is too far gone. As you pass by them, you happen to get a look at the drunkie’s face—the half-closed eyes, the slack mouth, the blank expression, and you think, “Oh, God, that person’s going to be hurting tomorrow.” Or maybe you think “What an asshole.”

On Friday night, I was that girl.

Just let me make something clear: I am twenty nine years old and by all rights, a responsible adult. I have a good job. I pay my rent and bills (most of them) on time. I always show up at least 10 minutes early for appointments. My bookshelves are not only alphabetized, but separated by genre. Deep inside, I’m a nerd, and there’s nothing I love more than being organized and in control. For this reason, I have never, ever, ever been the drunkest girl at the party. I may, under the influence of alcohol, be the loudest girl at the party (I’m usually the loudest girl anywhere), or the silliest girl at the party, and probably even the hungriest girl at the party (I like bean dip), but not the drunkest. And I’m never the puking girl.

In fact, I'm usually the girl who is busy taking care of the drunkest girl at the party. And in my very small social circle, the drunkest girl at the party is usually spiceboy.

You see, normally I have quite a high tolerance for alcohol. I can have many drinks, and even many drinks of different alcoholic varieties without getting sick or waking up with a hangover. After a night of drinking until very late, I’ve been known to pop out of bed at 8 am, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, and ready to face the day while others groan and curse my cheerfulness and lack of headache or nausea. I have been told that I inherited this drinking ability from my father. Some people have even referred to it as a gift. And in some ways, I supposed it is.

But lately I’ve been getting little hints that the tides might be turning—that my tolerance isn’t what it used to be. And what happened to me on Friday night definitely reinforces that theory.

Friday night, my plans included dinner with spiceboy and a friend and then going to see Super Diamond play at Irving Plaza. For those of you have been deprived of the pleasure, Super Diamond is a Neil Diamond cover band. Don't judge me--until you've had a Super Diamond experience yourself, you have no right to judge. They are awesome.

At dinner, I had one glass of red wine—very conservative. At the Super Diamond show, I had two vodka sodas—not a number of drinks that would normally turn me into a puking machine. The trouble started when I ordered my third drink, which I never finished. On a normal night, I would have finished that drink with no problems, stayed until the end of the show, and probably would have gone out for more drinks afterwards.

But not last Friday.

On Friday, once I had the third drink in my hand, I started feeling really woozy. And not in a good I’m buzzed and loving the music kind of way or even in an I’m the most energetic and adorable and fun girl in the room way. It was more of an Oh my god I’m feeling really sick what the hell is wrong with me??? kind of feeling. So I grabbed spiceboy and told him we had to leave. Immediately.

I haven't lived in New York for that long, but on Friday, I learned something very important: NEVER get on a subway if you've had too much to drink (or a moderate amount that normally would never affect you but for some reason makes you really ill). There was too much light and movement and noise and I thought I was going to die, or vomit, or both. I managed to avoid death, but wasn’t so lucky with the vomiting.

Once I got off the train, I basically vomited my way from Irving Place to the Upper East Side. I vomited on my brand new and very cute suede boots. I vomited on my favorite red velvet jacket. I vomited in front of a Duane Reed. I vomited on the street, in a cab, in another cab, and once spiceboy was able to coax me up the four flights of steps into our apartment, I vomited in my bathroom.

I woke up very early the next morning facedown on my bed, feeling like I’d been whacked in the back of the head with a baseball bat. I stumbled out of the bedroom and found spiceboy sleeping on the couch. This made me very sad. spiceboy is a very calm, rational person, and he never resorts to dramatic gestures of anger such as sleeping on the couch or hanging up on me. He leaves that kind of stuff to me.

I gently woke him up (read: I plopped down on the couch, poked him in the shoulder, and say “Hey”) and asked him why he wasn’t sleeping in the bed. He didn’t say anything at first—just gave me a look that said: Oh. It’s you.

You know how when you were a kid and you did something really bad and you expected your parents to yell at you but instead they stayed really calm and somehow that made it soooo much worse? I know it sounds kind of weird, but that’s exactly how I felt. I prepared myself for the worst—something like, “I saw a side of you last night that I never knew existed and I’m really disappointed in you.”

Instead, he said, “I was afraid that if I stayed in bed, you were going to puke on me.”

I guess I can’t really blame him for that.

Then he said, “What the hell was that last night?”
I said, “I was the drunkest girl at the party.”
He said, “You certainly were.”
I said, “I’m so gross.”
He said, “Yes, you are.”
I said, “I think I lost my drinking gift.” Then I gave him my best sheepish look.
He said, “What’s that look for?”
I said, “It’s my sheepish look.”
He laughed at that.
I said, “If I brush my teeth and wash my face and promise to be really nice to you and not puke anymore, will you please come back to bed?”
He nodded and said, “Okay, pukey.”

We slept like lambs until noon.

Monday, November 07, 2005

First Official Celebrity Sighting

I had my first official celebrity sighting yesterday--I saw Howard Stern walking his dog in the West Fifties in the late morning.

Okay, so it's not like I ran into Jude Law or anything--but yay! I'm excited anyway.

Song That Was In My Head When I Woke Up Today:

Thank the Lord for the Night Time by Superdiamond

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Song That Was In My Head When I Woke Up From My Booze-Induced Coma Today:

Please Do Not Go by The Violent Femmes

Friday, November 04, 2005

Song That Was In My Head When I Woke Up Today

Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin

This is actually a repeat from a month or so ago, but I have no control over the song selection process.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Cheese: A Love Story

Our apartment smells really bad, and it’s all my fault.

It’s not because I don’t clean up after myself, or because I’m especially gassy. Well, actually, I am gassy, but that has nothing to do with it, I swear.

Still, for the last few weeks, our apartment has smelled especially funky—like a combination of garbage, or dirty gym socks. It’s a lingering smell, and no amount of scented candles, bleach, or antibacterial spray will make the smell go away.

The good news: once you’re in the apartment for awhile you get used to it.
The bad news: no matter what, the smell is always there.

A few days ago, we realized what’s causing the smell.

It’s cheese.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bona-fide cheese snob. Give me anything that’s crumbly, stinky, cave-aged, covered in ash, herbs, grape leaves, flower petals—whatever—and I’ll scarf it down. But my true love is stinky cheese. The stinkier and runnier the cheese, the better.

Though spiceboy’s taste in cheese runs a little on the mild side, he’s learned to tolerate my stinky cheese fetish. Like the time we went to the Berkshires for spiceboy’s birthday and I bought a fabulously stinky cheese from a local shop and brought it back to our bed and breakfast, where it proceeded to stink up our entire room and all of our clothing. Not so romantic, right? Right.

Even though he was a really good sport about it, I now I try to limit my stinky cheese consumption to when spiceboy is out of town.

The last time spiceboy went on a spicebusiness trip, I bought a package of my very very very favorite cheese, which is called Epoisses, (pronounced eh-pwos) a raw cow’s milk cheese from France. I ate some of the Epoisses with hunks of crusty French bread and a glass (or three) of red wine while reading a book. As I munched on the cheese and bread and sipped (glugged) my wine, I felt very grown up and refined. And when I was finished, I shoved the Epoisses into our fridge and promptly forgot about it. Not so grown up or refined.

The bad thing about Epoisses is, no matter how great it tastes, when it is exposed to air or improperly stored, it smells like a combination of feet and spoiled milk.

Now, when you live in a normal-sized apartment with a standard-sized fridge with proper food storage drawers, the Epoisses doesn’t present much of a problem. But when you live in an extremely warm 350 sq foot apartment w/ a mini fridge that resembles something a college student would have in their dorm room, which has no drawers in which to store extra stinky raw cow’s milk cheese from France, the Epoisses is a problem.

When spiceboy returned from his trip, he noticed the smell in the apartment right away, and he was just as baffled about it as I was. We cleaned the bathroom, took out the trash, did the dishes, and vacuumed. And still the stench persisted. When we were out of options, spiceboy turned a suspicious eye on me, and every time he caught a whiff of something, we had this conversation:

spiceboy (sniffing the air in a suspicious fashion): Did you just fart?
me: No.
spiceboy: Are you sure? Something stinks.
me: I’m sure! If I farted I would at least warn you.
spiceboy (inhaling deeply and wrinkling his nose): Well, something really stinks in here.

A few days ago, I opened the refrigerator to get a glass of water, and we both noticed that the smell intensified when I opened the door. And after digging past all of the take out containers and various condiments, spiceboy unearthed from the back of our fridge the festering and forgotten chunk of Epoisses.


I thought for sure spiceboy would insist we dispose of the Epoisses immediately. But spiceboy is nothing if not industrious. Instead of throwing away my cheese, he placed it in a hermetically sealed container and put it back in the fridge, which diminished the smell, but did not get rid of it completely.

Next, spiceboy went out to the store and bought a loaf of crusty bread, and together, we are eating our way through the stinky cheese and to a better smelling apartment.

Now that's what I call teamwork.