Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home is Where the Headache is

Dear Apartment Lessors of D.C.,

Here is what I want:

- A decent sized one bedroom or two bedroom apartment
- In a reasonably safe neighborhood. Doesn't have to be awesome; I just don't want to get shot going to my car
- That is within walking distance to a metro - please note that I interpret walking distance liberally and will view most trips under 1.5 miles as exercise and thus not undesirable
- That allows me to bring my cat. He may be large, but he's not actually destructive unless you count repeatedly biting my legs when I walk by. I'm totally cool with pet deposits

Here is what I don't want:

- An apartment locator service. Fuck you if you think I'm going to pay a one-time fee before I've even seen anything just so that I can preview all of your wonderful listings.
- Advertisements that suggest that your building is near a Metro, when in fact said Metro is at least 2 miles away and requires me to swim across a river and jump a few train tracks to get to it.
- Ads that require me to sign up for some credit reporting service before you will even give me an address. Again, fuck you. I tried that today, because I liked the look of the apartment. I just spent the last 15 minutes on the phone trying to unsubscribe myself from all of the bullshit "FREE OFFERS!!!!!!!!!!!" that it signed me up for despite repeatedly hitting the "No thanks" button. I understand that you might want a credit check, but that's ridiculous. At least link to a reputable credit bureau or reporting agency.
- Ads that look legitimate (I'm not even talking about the obvious "$600 for a condo downtown!" ads) but lead to emails from "landlords" in the far reaches of Africa or the United Kingdom (when did London become a scammer haven? Last I checked most of those irritating emails came from Nigeria). I'm not giving you my information and you're not getting my money, because I'm not that stupid. I wish you luck though.

I don't think I'm asking too much. I really don't. I just want to live somewhere semi-safe and semi-roomy that doesn't cost $3000 a month and doesn't require me to do 20 different things before I can even come see the place. That's not so much, really it's not, and yet 30 minutes at a time on Craig's List is all I can handle at this point before I have the urge to pull my hair out while rocking in the corner. So if you're out there, and you want someone who's quiet and doesn't destroy things and pays her rent on time, call me. I'll be here, rocking, in my corner.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spotted on the Metro

The Metro has seen a wealth of bad fashion over the bad two days. There was more acid-washed denim. There was a clothing item that hasn't seen the light of day since 1992. Choices this bad must be shared.

Yesterday, June 13th, 5:00 p.m., Red Line: high-waisted, acid-washed denim short shorts with a sailor-style front closure.

Today, June 14th, 5:30 p.m., White Flint metro station: see-through stretch lace top, skirt overalls...I'll just let that sink in for a sec...and lace cuff black leggings. Yes, I am serious.

The second one actually provided a much-needed lift to a shit day that started with a woman criticizing my driving in the Metro parking garage before 7 a.m., kept up the losing streak with an overdrawn bank account, and ended with my flip-flop breaking a half hour before leaving work. So, thank you misguided overalls girl, for my own personal Moment of Zen.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Liza Never Writes Real Posts Anymore

Someday, I will wake up and find that I have enough to say to write a real post. Or I will get exceptionally cranky about something and feel the need to vent. Until then...

1. I'm pretty sure I messed up my shoulder playing badminton on Saturday. Who does that? It's pretty much the wimpiest sport ever. Although, to be honest, I'm not sure if I messed it up actually trying to hit the birdie, or whether it was that time that I ran backwards, fell on my butt, and rolled ass over teakettle back into a sitting position (I'm quite sorry E. Lee missed it. She's the one who named me Zero Gravity, after all, and it was a truly great moment of clumsiness).

2. I'm sort of a contributing member of society now. I say sort of because I'm merely a doc review drone, and thus am not actually contributing much of anything except for approximately .0001% of my brain power. Still, I now have to get up every morning at a reasonable time and get myself to the Metro, and stand there looking disgruntled with everyone else.

3. Speaking of disgruntled, riding the Red Line during rush hour sort of makes me understand why people occasionally throw themselves onto the tracks. Maybe they're not attention-seeking commute-ruiners like I thought. Maybe they just got stepped on one too many times, or ended up standing next to someone with really smelly armpits and couldn't take it anymore.

4. Still speaking of the collateral bits of my new job, I'm allowed to dress casually, like really casually, meaning jeans and flip flops, but I've found myself breaking out the heels and skirts most days anyway because it makes me feel more like I have a meaningful daily grind to get to. I'm pretty sure this is a really silly reason to give oneself extra blisters.

5. People who talk on the phone in the bathroom weird me out. There was a girl today who was talking on the phone in the stall with toilets flushing all around her, and it didn't sound like she was talking to someone that she was very familiar with. It sounded like she was rescheduling an appointment, actually. I'd be a little freaked out if someone I didn't know decided to talk to me while sitting on the toilet.

And...that's it. That's all I've got. Till the next time, happy Monday y'all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Acid Washed Apocalypse

I've posted before, many a time, about the evils of such articles of clothing as: the skinny jean, the high-waisted jean, shirts that might be dresses, and leggings. Well, guess what? I now own several of them. To be exact, two pairs of skinny jeans, and several shirts that could double as dresses, or maybe they're dresses that I wear as shirts - I still don't know. Sometimes when you can't beat 'em, you just have to join 'em. I even like the pair of high-waisted jeans that E. Lee bought recently (to be fair, she is a tiny, adorable person and thus one of the few people on the planet that doesn't look like a demented soccer mom wearing them). However, there is one thing that I'm pretty sure is a definite sign of the apocalypse, and it's name is acid-washed denim. The other day on the Metro I saw a girl, an otherwise normal looking girl, wearing a purse made out of acid-washed denim...with acid-washed denim fringe...with several of those regrettable butterfly clips pinned onto the straps. Holy fuck. It was 8:30 in the morning. I had a tinge of almost-hangover. It was distressing in the extreme. As I said to E., if that pox on fashion comes back into style, it will truly and completely break my spirit in the way that no pair of leggings, no romper even, ever could.

In fact, let me leave you with this link to the fug girls, whose reaction to an acid-washed denim romper (I KNOW!) about mirrors my own feelings on the subject. That is: "SHUT. UP."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

By Request

The lovely E. Lee says that I don't post enough, so y'all are getting another list. This one's for you darlin', just remember that I warned you there's nothing exciting going on in my life...

1. Two things I learned from a recent trip to the Salvation Army: (a) The AbDoer Extreme apparently doesn't work at all, judging from the fact that there were four old models for sale at one location. (b) There are approximately 20 million different titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Actually, there are 200, but still. There is everything from Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul to Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover's Soul. I shit you not. Who knew that you could find that many treacly stories about little boys being improbably saved by kind-hearted packs of racoons, or whatever it is those stories are about? Honestly, no one needs that crap. What you need is a bottle of wine, a good friend, something ridiculously fattening, and/or some retail therapy. Or maybe a good lay.

2. Those Baby On Board stickers that people put on their cars make me stabby. Like, strong, visceral reaction stabby.

3. Sometimes, after a few glasses of wine, I get the urge to work out for the second time in one day. It's completely inexplicable. Usually people get the urge to dance badly, or go home with someone inappropriate - I get the urge to do fitness DVD's. Maybe it's a substitute for my previous urge to smoke too much? At least my tipsy exercising usually involves a strip aerobics DVD, but I'm pretty sure I'm still kind of a freak.

4. The other day on a trip to Pittsburgh an 18-wheeler ran me off the road. I sat there on the grass and freaked out for a minute, but mostly I just shook with fury. So M called the trucking company, but I didn't have the truck's ID number, given that I had been worried about dying and all. Solution? For the next 30 minutes I drove kind of maniacally until I caught up with him, at which point I actually crowed in triumph. Suck on that, douchebag. Plus, as a bonus I got to Pittsburgh about a half hour more quickly than usual.

5. My new favorite cocktail is spiced rum with Orangina or Diet Sunkist (which is my favorite soda). It tastes like Orange Julius, and is awesome. You should try it.

6. Sometimes I listen to really bad country music in the car. I'm ashamed, but the songs are so predictable I can usually sing along by the second verse, and it's calming. Besides, at least I know going in that the music is bad, instead of wasting my time flipping through all 30 or so of D.C.'s radio stations, all of which are equally bad, but not in the same satisfying way (except for NPR, but sometimes I can't listen to any more news about the economy or I may drive my car off of a bridge).

7. I had one more, but M is listening to music in the next room and it's completely distracting me. Clearly, whatever I had to say next wasn't all that important.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Running Scared

Being female can sometimes be an irritating handicap when it comes to personal safety. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade my lady bits for dangly bits any day, it's just that occasionally my awareness that my gender makes me more susceptible to the seedier bits of society chafes at my "Whatever, I do what I want" attitude. Take trail running, for example. I currently live in the Maryland suburbs, and there are only so many times that you can run by the same McMansion without getting bored, even when you do have the distraction of giggling at its pink Corinthian columns. Since the MD/D.C. area has a number of really nice parks and trails, it's easy enough to get some variety, the problem being that if I go during the week I can make it 5 miles without seeing anyone, or seeing only one or two other people, which is creepy. The first (and only) time that I ran in Rock Creek Park the only people I saw were two pot smoking teenagers, lighting up the second they got out of range of Mom and Dad's house.* I ended up cutting my run short that day because the utter silence, combined with the grey skies and lack of civilization close by, gave me visions of merry axe murderers, or rapists, or Chandra Levy.** Today, and several times recently, I've had the same problem along the C&O Canal Towpath, which has become my new favorite running spot. There are times when I get the creeping feeling that I'm not being entirely safe by taking off by myself sans cell phone, and I spend most of my run looking behind me and imagining scenes from Deliverance while simultaneously being far too fucking stubborn to stop. It's not enough to stop me from going there, but it is enough to glaze my otherwise perfectly lovely communion with nature with a little fear. I may be stronger than I look, and I may be able to run for rather a while without getting tired, especially if someone were chasing me, but part of me still wishes that my running shorts had a stun gun holster. Axe murderers beware!

* What is it with me and pot-smoking teenagers? It's like they're drawn to me.
** I hope my mention of Chandra Levy doesn't seem disrespectful. There's just no way for me to think of Rock Creek Park and "cautionary tale" without her name coming up in my head.

Monday, May 11, 2009


So there's not a whole lot going on in my life lately, which you probably gathered from my last few posts. Some people might think that you should stop posting if you don't have enough for a whole entry, but not me. That's what lists were created for, so in no particular order, and in concentrated form, some snippets from the life of Liza:

1. I've stopped doing Bikram for a while. Not because I dislike it or because I felt like I wasn't deriving a benefit from it, but because for some reason it makes my knees, specifically the right knee, rather cranky. My dad just had a knee replacement, so I've been paying attention to them more than usual. I think the problem is that I have a tendency to hyperextend, but since I already run - not exactly easy on the joints - I figured I should give them a chance to chill and am experimenting with other forms. So far regular Hatha yoga bores me to death, and Ashtanga looks promising, but will require quite a bit of work on my "flow," not being naturally graceful.

2. I am officially a victim of identity theft. After halfheartedly joking about it for years because I had my wallet - containing license, social security card and, idiotically, my birth certificate - stolen my first freshman year of college (I made it through a semester and left. USC is not my kind of place. Also, I appear to be fond of repeating the first bits of schooling. For another example, see Hurricane Katrina). So, anyway, some douchebag has been applying for a bunch of credit cards in my name, and now there's all these inquiries on my credit report, and also past addresses at which I've never lived, one of which is a shopping center. Lovely. Much mail scrutinizing, credit reporting, and police calling has commenced.

3. There are few things as relaxing as wandering about my backyard in bare feet. Having grown up barefoot, and having been a city apartment dweller for several years now, it's one of the facets of suburbia that I hadn't realized I missed.

4. Also, suburbia at 3 a.m. is an exceptionally dark and quiet place. I know this because, having consumed too much champagne on Saturday night, the lovely E. Lee and I decided that we needed to go find a swingset and set off looking for a playground in the dead of night. After visiting one playground that was inexplicably lacking in swings, we got sick of walking and only managed to find some pot-smoking teenagers. At least we think they were teenagers. We never actually saw them, only smelled their drugs.

5. I have a vegetable garden. M and I spent a few hours shopping for and planting squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and assorted herbs a few weeks ago, and I delight in checking on them and seeing their progress. One of the pepper plants already has little blossoms on it, and I've learned that of all the herbs I planted, chipmunks like basil the best.

So, that's my life right now. Yoga, gardening, big backyards. It's all very suburban and calm, but with some champagne and identity theft thrown in to make sure I don't get bored.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oh, and This Happened Too

Yesterday, I reached a milestone in my life. A rite of passage, if you will. I grilled stuff for the very first time! The grill has heretofore intimidated the hell out of me for some reason, and despite cooking pretty much every night, I've never actually attempted to use one. However, the prospect of having a patio, backyard, and grill, and of having people over eventually to take advantage of said amenities forced me to overcome my fear. And it went well! There was a minute there when the flames were rather too close to the holly bush for my comfort, but in the end I didn't have to call the fire department, the food turned out well, and there was something about the whole experience that made me feel sort of badass, and that's always a good thing.


I think I have the running version of a poltergeist. He lives in my legs. I first started running seriously and I got shin splints. Then I kicked my cabinet in a fit of rage (I dropped my dinner on the floor at the end of a long day) and sprained my foot. Then I got new shoes to get rid of the shin splints, which worked for a while, but stupid Saucony went and discontinued my shoe and the new ones weren't as perfect and I got plantar fasciitis. It went away eventually and, for a while now, things have been quiet. I was starting to think that the poltergeist had finally left me alone, but as often happens, I was wrong. After a ridiculously hard yoga class on Thursday (seriously, this woman would have made the toughest dominatrix hang her head in shame), I took a few days off, then went for a nice long run on Sunday. Sunday night - shin splints. Shin splints from hell that will not go away no matter how many cold packs I wrap around my legs. Problem is, I think my shoes are going, because my knees have been bugging me too. Normally I'd go out and buy new ones, but times are tough and I cannot afford to shell out $100 or so for a pair of sneakers. I blame the poltergeist for this too. Clearly, he is preventing me from getting a job so that I cannot buy sneakers. Fucking demon.

Friday, April 24, 2009

All Months Should Be National BLT Month

A bacon retrospective and salute to my favorite salty, fatty meat product. I really kind of want a set of those bacon postcards. Click on photo for link to bacon salute.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This is Not a Post About Yoga

It's a post about how crabby I am today. Fun stuff, right? I'm having one of those days. You know the kind, where you wake up crabby and every normal thing that happens to you makes you even crabbier? It's that kind of day. I woke up late, which unlike regular people, I don't like to do on a day to day basis. I feel like when I roll out of bed at 10 I've wasted half the day. Basically, sleeping in has made me feel bitchy. So when my stomach started to do its old man heartburn thing that it's been so fond of lately, I was even more peeved than I normally would be. Honestly though, I eat well, which seems to me like it should be a get out of jail free card for angry belly. Add to that the fact that I'm breaking out like a teenager for some inexplicable reason, and my joyous mood is complete. I'm like a little black cloud of love.

I won't pretend that there was any real point to this post, but I just had to get that out there. I'm gonna go glare at something now.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Camels and Rabbits and Locusts, oh my!

You're probably sick of hearing me talk about yoga, right? Well, too bad. I'm a convert. Despite the fact that my back is currently bitching at me for working previously undiscovered muscles, I sent my friend E this message last night:

"Yoga killed my back yesterday. Yet, somehow, I already miss it."

Soon I'll be consulting crystals and talking about realigning my chi.

Or not. All I'm saying is, I'm hooked. The second class really was much better, and I made it the whole way through, walking out of the studio with a big, goofy smile on my face and floating to the Metro station despite the disgusting weather. Since then I've gone two more times, and it just keeps getting better. I think I sweat more every time too, which is sorta gross, but also oddly satisfying.

It's not all roses - there are two poses that I totally despise. One of these is Standing Head to Knee Pose, which looks something like this:

Technically, the head is supposed to on the knee, but either way, I don't bend like that. My standing knee unlocks. My fingers slip off my foot because I'm sweating. I lose balance. Most of the time, I end up sitting down, not out of tiredness or because I'm dizzy, but because I'm frustrated and glaring at myself in the mirror. Least favorite pose #2 is called the Camel. Observe:

Again, I don't bend that way. Also, it makes me crazy dizzy. I thought it was just the heat in the room, and that's part of the dizziness certainly, but I tried to do it at home last night and I still couldn't bend far enough to grab my heels.

But I love love love these two:

I am not a graceful person, but these make me feel like I could be. Plus, they're really pretty to look at, especially the first of the two.

Anyway, if you were sick of my yoga babbling before, you definitely are now, so I'll sign off. Namaste!

(I actually had no idea what that meant until a few seconds ago. It means literally "I bow to you," and is an expression of respect and gratitude. Neato)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bikram Update

So I made it through my first Bikram class! Lemme tell ya, it was HOT. It was like running for an hour and a half, in New Orleans, in the middle of August HOT. I've never sweated so much in my life. In fact, this morning I woke up 4 pounds lighter than yesterday, and that was with my sweatpants and pajama top still on. The only other time that's ever happened to me was a day during my teenage angst years when I ate nothing all day and drank 4 liters of Diet Coke (don't ask). This feels healthier though, obviously.

Moving on...

For the most part, I didn't have as much to fear as I thought. I made it through the standing poses (the first half) without needing to stop for more than a few seconds at a time, although I definitely slipped out of a few poses due to the general slickness of my skin after 5 minutes in the room. The second half went pretty decently as well until about 3/4 of the way through the class (there was no clock, so I may be overestimating my stamina, but that seems about right), when after a sit-up my stomach was suddenly a gaping cavern, wanting only food. Needless to say, I got a little dizzy and had to sit quietly for about 15 minutes while my stomach growled. The problem was, by that point I was so hot it was hard to get comfy, even just sitting calmly. I guess I underestimated how tough it is to sit without any body part touching another (because they're all HOT), and with as little skin as possible touching the mat, because it is also HOT, and kind of drenched. Anyway, I made it back up for the last pose and breathing exercise, and then sort of hunched my way out of the room, much like an 80-year-old woman in need of a hip replacement. It was literally the toughest workout of my life, and I've run 90 minutes in the heat before - didn't even come close. Afterward, I was a puddle of relaxation (well, after I'd eaten anyway). All in all, pretty awesome, and I'll definitely be going back. I thought I would be going back today, but the gaping, empty cavern feeling has continued (I didn't eat enough when I got home last night, because there was no food to be had) and I am now eating like a pregnant woman, or like a cow, whichever you choose. I have eaten 4 times today, and I am still hungry. So today is a refueling day, and tomorrow I'll be back.

They say your second class is much easier...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I have a confession to make - I'm scared of yoga. Or, rather, I'm scared of doing my first Bikram yoga class. I've taken yoga classes before, but they were never of the hot variety, and I'm nervous. I've exercised in hot conditions before; it's unavoidable if you run and live in New Orleans. I love to sweat, even. I feel like a workout isn't a workout if I'm not at least a little drenched. Mostly, I'm worried that I'll get nauseous. See, I fear nausea like most people fear heights, or spiders, or flying. Even just thinking about it is making my heart beat a little faster, and herein lies the problem. I have panic attacks when I feel sick, although I'm not sure which comes first - sort of a chicken and egg problem. These, of course, make me feel more sick, and this leads to a vicious cycle of sitting on floor trying not to hyperventilate and telling myself that I will be fine, and I'm just freaking out, and there is nothing really wrong with me.* This has happened once before during a spin class due a super-elevated heart rate and a broken fan in the spin was embarrassing. I practically fell off the bike in my hurry to leave the room. So, while I'm looking forward to the class (I've been sort of in love with the idea of detoxifing my body lately. I even stopped drinking coffee), I'm also a little terrified. So, if any of you readers out there have done it before, please lend me any wisdom you might have.

*Clearly, this sort of behavior indicates that I may not be altogether sane, and I'm a little embarrassed that I've just admitted it on my blog.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Tonight for dinner I thought I'd go with something simple - burgers and fries. However, lately M and I have decided to go vegetarian-ish. No, you haven't stumbled upon someone else's blog. I'm still the bacon loving girl I always have been (and always will be), thus the "ish" part. Plus, it was all M's doing. He's worried about the environmental impact of our meat consumption, so we're giving this the old college try, except that we can still have meat for two individual meals per week. I think that concession may have had something to do with the high-pitched whining that greeted his suggestion. Yay for me! You can just call me the reluctant vegetarian(ish). I'll just state for the record now that the last time I was a vegetarian, I threw myself from the wagon by eating a grilled sausage and an uncooked hot dog in about 5 minutes flat. Full disclosure and all.

Anyway, so far being a semi-herbivore has worked out pretty well. It's been about two and a half weeks now, and I'm settling into the routine. It just requires a little more planning. Take lunch for instance - usually I have a sandwich comprised of some sort of cold cut and cheese. Now I either have to have leftovers, or a salad, or veggie meatless stuff that you buy in the freezer case. Since I'm a simple creature, and since I prefer to save leftovers for dinner, it's usually the last option. Not such a big deal. My grocery lists have changed quite a bit too. I didn't type today's up, as I have before, but it was a big ole column of produce with a few random other things like bread and snack food thrown in for good measure. When the checkout guy asked how often I shopped, he was pretty amazed that I only said "once a week." Apparently, my cart o' veggies indicated to him that I was "refusing to eat" and that he would eat everything on the conveyor belt in two days. Assuring him that you could make quite a bit out of a whole bunch of produce, I left for home.

This is where it got more complicated.

My sister, a die-hard veggie for many years now, has been sending me recipes. So tonight, it was to be "burgers" and garlic fries, the burger obviously being a homemade veggie burger. Lemme tell ya, she wasn't kidding when she said they took forever to make. Rather than mush together some ground beef with some other stuff, I had to saute a bunch of different veggies, then add liquid to allow my texturized veggie protein (sounds appetizing, right? It's defatted dried soy flour, but hey, don't knock it till you try it) to rehydrate, then let cool, then add flour and spices, then let cool for another half hour. In the interim, I nearly managed to set my kitchen on fire when I unwisely used a flat baking sheet for the fries and the oil leaked all over the bottom of the 475-degree oven. Awesome. It's not yet warm out, but there are many windows open in my house tonight. My bedroom, even with the doors having been closed, smells like a damn barbecue, and not in a good way. I even had to wear a bandanna over my face like I was in some old Western. All told, what would have taken a mere half hour if I were serving up beef burgers took an hour and a half. I was starving by the time I was done, and writing this post is giving my poor feet and back a much needed rest. Plus, my formerly clean kitchen now looks like this:

Note to readers - the dishwasher is also full. It's a big freakin' dishwasher. But hey, they tasted good, and were pretty substantial (12 grams of protein per burger, and M is currently laying on the couch telling me that he's "el stuffed-o"), especially when you consider that the main ingredient was the aforementioned texturized vegetable protein, which one writer has said that "even rabbits won't eat."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shameless Plug Tuesday!

What: Carmen & David's Creamery

Where: Prince St., across from the Fulton Opera House in Downtown Lancaster, PA

Why: really amazing ice cream. All of the ice cream sold in the store is made on the premises, which is actually strangely rare in a town surrounded in part by dairy farms. What this means is that the ice cream is always fresh and doesn't have a bunch of fillers, preservatives, or air pumped into it like the stuff that you buy in the grocery store. It also means that the shop's resident Mad Kitchen Scientist (David) gets to roll out new flavors once a week or so, and can experiment with more exotic combinations like Holy Mole (modeled after the spicy, chocolatey sauce used in Mexican cooking) and Baracky Road, which they rolled out for, duh, the Inauguration. And, for those of you into local/seasonal/sustainable foods, you'll be pleased to know that not only is the dairy local, but many of the add-ins come from Lancaster's Central Market, only a block away. Basically, it's the best ice cream I've had in my 27 years, and I've tried quite a few.

My favorite flavors: Lemon Drop (based on the candy of the same name), Dulce de Leche, Butter Almond, Pear Cabernet Sorbet, and Meadow Mint Chocolate Chunk.

Hours, flavors, photos, special events, and the like may be found at

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Third time's the charm! I have finally perfected the bagel recipe that I posted about on here a while ago. The cinnamon sugar is no longer perpetually melt-y, and they're not only gigantic but a bit softer too. The second batch was a bit hockey puckish, and we can't have that first thing in the morning. Behold their bagely goodness (you can click on the pictures for a yummy close-up view):

And a close-up of the sea salt variety, right out of the oven. Tasty.

If you feel like making your own, the original recipe from the LA Times is here (I modified it slightly by adding a touch more yeast, and made 6 bagels from each batch of dough rather than 8). Now, if you're from, say, New York, you're probably currently scoffing at the fact that I've used a recipe from a Los Angeles newspaper. Well, scoff all you want, but you can't argue with the finished product, which in this case is warm and chewy and toasty and wonderful. So there.

*I know that bagel is not spelled "beghel," but if you've ever heard me say the word out loud, that's how it sounds. And no, I can't tell that I'm pronouncing it incorrectly. I can't even hear the difference.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chain Reaction

When I was in elementary school, I used to occasionally get chain letters. At the time, because I was 6 years old or so, I was just happy to get something in the mail and they didn't bother me. As I got older and obtained no less than 3 email addresses, I started getting obnoxious forwards telling me that if I didn't send the email to 7 people I would be struck by lightning, immediately. I'm less thrilled to get these, and I've mostly stopped opening them because I don't like it when hotmail tells me I'm about to die. Recently, however, I started getting chain letters again. Like, actual chain letters, on paper, sent to my home.

The chain letter phenomenon started a couple of months ago, at my Pittsburgh address. I would randomly get these hand-addressed letters in the mail and, all excited that I was receiving something that wasn't a student loan or credit card bill, I would rip into them. And...a fucking chain letter? Apparently endorsed by 20/20 and Oprah (because you know Oprah made her fortune on chain letters)? That wants me to spend $174 mailing these irritating pieces of shit to people? No thanks. They all claim to be written by "retired attorneys," assuring the participant that it's totally legal to send out what is basically a postal-pyramid scheme letter (because lawyers never do anything illegal, right?). But it can't be a scam, can it? It's just "people helping people" (just as an aside, if you get one of these and you believe that bullshit, you totally deserve to get ripped off). The letter tells you that you're supposed to take the list of six names included on the last page, send them each a dollar, and ask to be added to their mailing list. A little convoluted logic later and this is apparently what makes the whole thing "legal." You're paying a dollar to be added to a mailing list so that other assholes can send you a dollar to be added to your mailing list. Makes total sense, right? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Anyone else get these things? Just me? Anyone else get more than one (I've gotten four now) and want to drive to the sender's house, letter in hand, and torture him with paper cuts?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Come Again?

The following is a quote that I stumbled upon on from a headband-wearing hack socialite (Arden Wohl, in case you cared) who thought it would be a good idea to make a movie:

"I felt like I was mentally masturbating upon an idea. I felt like it was necrophilia. I felt like I was excavating myself and crawling to the top to get something which was dead, and which I could never consume, and which would never bring a life force of anything. In the end, I thought it was necrophilia. Like beating a dead horse. It was finished. It was like something you've wanted your whole life. And you could never fully excavate that. You couldn't encompass that. It was like trying to have sex with a dead person!"

Um, yeah. Shit like that (which makes me somewhat irrationally irritable) is why I decided not to go to grad school for art history despite loving the subject, because a large percentage of culturally snotty my classmates spent a good deal of time spouting off insufferable bullshit like the above.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Knowing What it Means

Most of the time, I try not to think too much of New Orleans. It was the first place that really, really felt like home for me. When I first visited the city to see my future school, my first glimpse was of the skyline shimmering across the bridge from the opposite side of Lake Pontchartrain, and even though I'd been in the car for about 22 hours, and awake for about 36, I was suddenly, totally awake. Although my second wind only lasted until I fell asleep mid-sentence (really) only 7 hours later, the next few days convinced me that I didn't want to leave. In fact, had I been able to I would've rented an apartment right then and happily paid UPS to ship all of my belongings to me that very day. Unfortunately, in real life people cannot just move at the drop of a hat, but I spent a very happy, sweaty, gluttonous three years there not long after that day. My golden years be damned, because that's what it's really about. This is why I try not not to think of it too much, because missing a home like that is almost painful. So why am I writing this? Several reasons:

(1) my two bestest friends are going there next weekend for the first weekend of Mardi Gras, and I would love nothing more than to hop the next plane out of here and spend the weekend hollering for beads and eating crawfish (OMG, crawfish...I think I just drooled on my keyboard a little bit...if anyone knows of a place to get them in DC or its neighboring environs I will kiss you).

(2) the weather here is amazing right now, actually New Orleans-like aside from the fact that it gets down to the 30's at night. In the past, the first warm days of spring always made me long for the beach so much that I could practically smell the saltwater. Now added to that is the desire to spend most of my day lounging on the levee, drinking daiquiris and pretending that I have nothing else to do.

(3) my friend Abbott's facebook profile picture - sounds like an odd trigger, but it's from our graduation brunch at the Court of Two Sisters, just a month before I had to pack up and move. I may complain a lot about having gone to law school - there are loans, and I'm still looking for a job, and all in all it may not have been my smartest move, but our class managed to drink an established New Orleans restaurant out of champagne by noon, just sitting under our umbrellas enjoying each other's company for one of the last times, and I won't ever regret getting to know those people for three years.

And now, to get over my bit of homesickness, I think I may need my third glass of wine, and yes I know it's ony 5:00, but in NOLA it's been cocktail hour for quite a while now, so drink up.

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Good to be King

Sometimes you have to bring a little bit of home to wherever you happen to be. In February, that little bit of home is called a King Cake, a traditional Mardi Gras confection available in New Orleans throughout the season. Because I'm now in DC, my baking partner in crime (for the weekend, anyway), invited me to make king cakes with him here.

Traditionally, there is a little baby figurine encased within the King Cake, to represent the tiny baby Jeebus. It's supposed to be good luck if you end up with the baby's piece. However, not having ready access to small, plastic babies, we used the following, courtesy of the nice lady behind the counter at the neighborhood liquor store (they come from Spanish wine bottles):

The first recipe that we used, which I'm told was an Emeril recipe, was a little hard to roll and ended up as a King Log, rather than the usual round shape. It tasted good anyway, and I suspect the the problem was my fault, rather than Emeril's.

For attempt #2 (and 3), the brioche recipe was courtesy of the Bon Appetit cookbook (which, just as an aside, I highly recommend that you purchase), with the Emeril filling making a repeat appearance. And because we're feeling a little patriotic at the moment (or obsessed with Obama, either one), the decorations took a break from the traditional purple, green, and gold, in favor of the Obama logo. For some boozy icing (it was part bourbon), sprinkles, and raspberry jam, I think it came out pretty well. Behold:

Happy Mardi Gras, Mr. President.

Victory! And a few steps back...

I love it when my beloved Steelers win things. It makes me so damn happy, although there were several points during last night's game when I had to hide the remotes from myself so that I didn't throw them. Ahem. I never said that I was above such things.

However, one beef that I have with the game last night is that some of the commercials were so blatantly, disgustingly sexist that I sort of just sat there with my mouth hanging open. Like the Danika Patrick commercial about enhancement. Really? I don't know who they're trying to appeal to, but it's clearly not me because, should I ever need a website, I will specifically avoid that particular host at all costs solely because of that commercial. And it wasn't limited to that spot so I could write it off as a fluke, which I would have preferred. It was just kind of shocking to me that people still feel the need to show completely exploitative, sexualized versions of women in order to sell their products. I thought we were past that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bacon Squared

I think my love of bacon has been pretty well-documented on here. In fact, I love it so much I think it's pretty well-documented everywhere. And, as if to prove my point, and also to show that my friends are freakin' awesome, I got two emails today about two strikingly similar bacon rolls, one of which may be viewed here (the other contains sausage as well as cheese and is covered in BBQ sauce...yum). On a cold day like this one, it warms my heart to know that two people saw woven bacon and thought "hmm, I think Liza would like this. I'll send it to her." It's even better than getting flowers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cooking up a...Huh?

Per usual (at least lately), I have not a damn thing interesting to report. However, I did find this amusing - there's a cookbook that I want, called "Cooking Up A Storm." It's a collection of recipes submitted to the Times Pic in New Orleans after the storm. Anyway, I went to the website today and as I was reading the description, the web page's sidebar caught my eye. Apparently, the three books also purchased by customers who bought "Cooking Up A Storm" are:

What's Your Poo Telling You? Only $9.95 for the hardcover! A bargain, if you ask me.

Poo Log. Another bargain at $9.95. Apparently you can learn a lot about shit for under $10. Plus, the description is amazing. See, it's actually a journal of sorts - "for recording and studying the wondrous uniqueness of each bowel movement." It also comes as a calendar, if you're so inclined.

The Castaway Pirates, A Pop-Up Tale of Bad Luck, Sharp Teeth, and Stinky Toes.

Anyone else confused? I could understand if the list had included books about New Orleans, cooking, the Gulf Coast, Katrina...but bathroom factoids and stinky toes? It's a mystery.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jingle Hell

Welcome back my darlings. The holidays are over (thank Jeebus) and I've officially relocated myself from Pittsburgh to D.C., at least temporarily. Or, not actually D.C., but my own little slice of suburbia a short metro ride from the city. Normally I'd be badmouthing the suburbs, but quite honestly I'm sort of enjoying myself. See, right here are all of the things that I kept having to drive myself out to suburbia for while living in Pittsburgh, so I'm feeling like right now it's saving me time. Of course, I'm still going to end up a panicky mess every time that I try to drive into the city and inevitably end up hopelessly lost, but we all have to make these trade offs every once in a while.

So, you may wonder why I have thanked the tiny baby Jeebus that the holidays are over, because usually I like them and sit around staring fondly at my Christmas tree and wishing it could be Christmas at least once a month. Or maybe you're not wondering, but I'm going to tell you anyway. For one thing, I have a big family. It was big when it was one cohesive unit, but now that it's split into step-units, it's even bigger. And while I love my family and enjoy spending time with them, after about six days of going to at least two homes per day, I felt like a cranky human pinball, because there are only so many ways to sound optimistic about not having a job and by about day 3 I was ready to scream "I don't wanna talk about it!" as soon as I walked in just to get the discussion out of the way. Then my New Year's eve ended with my car getting into a fight with a large concrete lamppost. I'm sure you can guess who won, although I can at least report that there was no alcohol involved and neither boyfriend nor I were injured, so that's a plus. There's other miscellaneous crap too, which is made all the more obnoxious by the fact that my resolution was to try to stop being so stressed out all of the time and acting like a spaz. Anyway, the short version is that I'm glad to see the back of Stressmas and it's ilk, and a year should be just the right amount of time for me to warm back up to the holiday season and find a job to tell all of my relatives about. Hopefully.

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