Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't Do It Half-Way

When we got to the booth the lights were on bright. Everyone sat down, but after a moment I got back up again and headed for the knob on the opposite wall.

That's better. Karaoke was not meant to in the harsh light of reality. After all, who are we kidding? We're not there because we're talented singers on the way to the top. We're not practicing. We're not going to be the next White Stripes or Patsy Cline.

But we like to pretend.

To karaoke properly you have to put your whole body into it. That's why I don't do karaoke bars. I'm not interested in exposing myself to strangers that way.

In the comfortable companionship of friends and family, the lights dim, the sound turned up loud -- we rock. I lay down across one seat and start taking pictures at odd angles, timed to be blurry and indistinct.

I'm operating on far too little sleep. The plot of my story still vexes me. Everyone else is dealing with the stress of daily life. But belting out Major Tom, 1234, Kids, Wheel of Fortune, I love College, Starlight, and whatever Japanese songs have tickled J-Po's fancy, who really cares about such petty crap?

After all, I can do a mean version of Jealous Guy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I think embarrassed is spelled wrong

If I were in charge I would spell it emberass. Actually, I spell it that way on a regular basis, but an awful red underline forces me to change it into the 'correct' spelling. Pah!

Moving on. Though I can put on a good show, I've discovered that having a single night of bad sleep can throw me off for the next several days. I slept poorly on Tues, okay on Weds, and well Thursday night, but by the end of work on Friday I was falling asleep on a student who'd come in for a private lesson. Luckily I still managed to help her fix her lace, which she proclaimed 'saved her life'.

On the bus ride home I contemplated dinner. We were supposed to do burgers. I was so tired. Yawning tired. I ran through a list of local restaurants in my head, and argued with myself internally.

Pro: I am tired and won't have to do anything if I let those nice peoples make my dinner.

Con: I will feel like a weak failure and probably won't enjoy the ill-gotten food that much.

The fact that we were eating out all weekend pushed me back into the "no, I will be STRONG!" arena of thinking (though I suffered a setback when I realized I had also planned on making fries). Then a blast of inspiration, what if I topped the burgers with caramelized balsamic onions and brie? Memories of the burger at the Bistro in Independence tantalized me.

I think this is why I get lazy about cooking sometimes, I seem determined to always make more work for myself.

But surprisingly, the fries and the onions were very easy to make and didn't require much more than slicing and putting over heat.

Tech Support came home and I put him in charge of the burgers.

In about a half an hour, we had brie burgers. Not quite as good as the ones in Independence, I think we needed a milder brie, but delicious anyway. Very satisfying after a long day of saving lives.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In The Family

On Sunday a Kitchen Gnome showed up.

And I got him to do the dishes somehow. He also helped me make Pasta alla Norma which I discovered in the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated. I like eggplant, but have had issues with cooking it before (so have other people, I've received eggplant dishes that were entirely too firm from restaurants). This dish had some creative way of cooking the eggplant to guarantee it wouldn't be chewy and unpleasant.

And it wasn't.

The next morning the Kitchen Gnome got to work with my Cooks Illustrated baking book, and by the afternoon, this had appeared.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Poseidon Worship

June gloom has been aggressively persistent this year. I didn't even realize it was summer until the sun came out about a week ago. We were all set to go to the beach on Sunday with Meggish and her husband, but Meggish's schoolwork got in the way. The morning was cold and overcast, but I still demanded we go down to the beach and say hello to the summer ocean.

Intimidated by the cloudy sky, we didn't get into our bathing suits -- a mistake. Once I touched the water I wanted to get my whole body into the waves. But, there are still several months of summer. We settled for getting significantly splashed.

I haven't been food blogging lately because I've been making a lot of dishes that I've already blogged about. I'm quite proud of my repertoire, but at a certain point it comes off more like taunting and less like a journal. Ala: I made Chicken Tikka Masala again last night, and it was even better this time. You shoulda been here.

Sunday night though, I pulled out Let's Cook Japanese Food! and tried a new one. Spicy ground beef curry with vegetables. Tech Support was in charge of vegetable prep and I think he did a delightful job.

I love colorful food. I think that presentation is definitely a part of an enjoyable meal, though sometimes I'm too lazy to bother. Of course, after cooking these vegetables for a bit and adding the bright yellow curry, they had lost some of their shine.

Perhaps not the most beautiful presentation, and my shots are still coming out blurry, but it was pretty tasty.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays...

I've made a lot of mistakes writing my book. The kind of mistakes I had to make in order to learn how to be a writer. But still. Big Mistakes. Frustrating Mistakes. Tiring Mistakes.

I spend hours in my kitchen/office. From the window and brief ventures outside I see the sky is clear and blue. The morning glories or the jasmine or some flower is blooming. Birds are chirping in one of the trees. Southern California has gorgeous weather and wonderful days 95% of the year. They're hard to escape.

I let the blinds down low. I stare at the computer screen. I angst. I need to go get some whipping cream for desert tonight but I can't get myself to go outside again.

Monday something clicked. The writing flowed. Went places I didn't expect. New places I was excited to go. Tuesday I'm still going. Nervous flutterings have started in my stomach. This can't last. This won't last. There's something horribly wrong that I'm not seeing. Tomorrow I'll look over what I wrote today and discover that it's pure trash.

Wednesday morning I go over yesterday's writing. I like it. I love it. I have to go to the work that actually earns money.

Wednesday night sees me at massive coffeehouse chain. There were no seats inside so I'm stuck outside, waiting for over 45 minutes (at least I was forewarned) for Tech Support to join me for dinner at the intersection of two busy streets. The day is gray, it rained earlier. The two men sitting next to me are having a loud conversation in a foreign language. My drink is too hot and every time I put it down a little bit spills.

What a wonderful day. I can hardly wait for the next.