Monthly Archives: January 2011

Eating my vegetables

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have never outgrown feeling slightly put upon when I have to eat my vegetables. When I’m actually eating them, I’m okay. It’s the idea of eating my vegetables that I find upsetting. In this way, I am 8.(We will save discussion of other ways in which I am 8, for another time.)

However, as an antidote to eating too many cheeseburgers this week, I found it necessary to eat some vegetables. See, I don’t diet, but whenever I eat something really bad for me, I eat something really healthy; I believe one cancels out the other. Don’t tell me that doesn’t make sense…I can’t hear you. Lalalalalalalalalalala!

So I used Mark Bittman’s Vegetable Frittata recipe. For those of you unfamiliar with Bittman, he is(or was, he ended his long running column, “The Minimalist” this week) a food writer for the NY Times.

Yes, I do realize that I am conforming to the stereotype that all liberals read the NY Times. This feeling is not alleviated by the fact that Bittman claims this recipe is “transformative”.

OH COME ON! It’s a recipe! Transformative, pfffffft!

But now I must eat my words, disdain, and frittata. It’s ridiculously easy and fast to prepare, and it’s good! You know it has to be, for me to be willing to make it for dinner instead of my standard cheese and crackers.

And now that I’ve eaten my vegetables, I’m allowed to make this recipe for homemade nacho cheese sauce, right?

(For those of you wanting to try the frittata, I used dill for as my herb of choice, and a mix of red peppers, broccolini, and green onions.)

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Florals and vintage

Ah florals!

On the one hand, I love them. Flowers are pretty, I like pretty things, ergo, I like florals.

However, like Audrey 2 from “Little Shop of Horrors”, an overly aggressive floral can devour your entire look, leaving tragedy and a bloody mess.

So whenever I am tempted to purchase a floral skirt or blouse, I really have to stop and think about it.

Am I flirty feminine? Or  “Mama’s Family”? What’s the evolution here?

This can also apply to vintage.

See, when you’re 19 and you wear vintage,  you look adorable. But odds are, you would look adorable in a paper bag, because that’s the beauty of being 19.

Everyone knows that you are WAY too young to have worn that sparkly 80’s “MacGyver” t-shirt the first time around. Heck, you were barely BORN when that show was on! So that shirt is a testament to your cheeky,  ironic personality. It shows that you’re hip, clever, and ergo, quite special and worthy of love and admiration!

You know what indiscriminate use of vintage can look like when you’re 40?

You’re old! And poor! (Look at the ratty t-shirt!) You are special in entirely the wrong way. You’re probably some creepy MacGyver fanatic who is still living with your parents. No one will ever love you, NOR SHOULD THEY!!!

Yeah, vintage and florals. Use with caution.

(Incidentally, if you think the dress on the left is cute, it can be found at Modcloth.com. However, there is no guarantee that once purchased, you won’t end up looking like the woman on the right.)

 

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OMG. I’m a hippie!

A friend of mine turned me onto an iPhone app that plays a selection of looping nature sounds. There are many meditation type apps available, but after careful consideration of all the options  (is it free?), I chose this one.

Now, with a simple click, I can be in an English forest, the Australian outback, or a Brazilian rainforest! They also have less geographically specific sounds like “Musical Waterfall”.

[Warning: do not listen to “Musical Waterfall” unless you have a bathroom handy.]

What’s fun is that it allows you to layer other sounds onto the base soundtrack. So if you would like crickets in your English forest, you can add that. No real English forests will be harmed by your imaginary cricket infestation.

I know what you’re thinking: holy moley, bring out the granola and stop shaving your legs, because you’ve gone full-on hippie. All the way! Double hippie across the sky!

Yes, it does seem like this is the first step to roping your friends into listening to the sound of whales mating.

Ok, so there is actually a “Whales calling”  option too on this app, but that’s not my point…

My point is…it’s AWESOME.

See, I work best with some kind of ambient noise, but anything with words is too distracting (hello coworkers!). I’ve tried classical music, however all songs eventually end, and then I spend time trying to find something else to listen to, which can break the flow.

I’m sure if I tried hard enough, I could find the spot where the track eventually loops, but why?

I’m just going with it, man. Peace out!

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NPR

Like a true pinko, leftist, commie San Franciscan, I have two NPR stations set on my radio.

Now, I know the complaints about NPR;  a bunch of hyper-educated elites, nattering on about politics and obscure errata. All the women’s voices are lower than average, the men’s higher. And I bet they all do yoga, drink tea, and apologize for being part of a 1st world nation.

However, I am a voracious collector of stories, and “This American Life”, “Radio Lab” and “Fresh Air” are truly great in that department. In fact, after a particularly compelling Radio Lab story about how allergies could be stopped by contracting a hookworm, I was harassing all my allergy prone friends that perhaps they should try it. (Note: I myself, do not suffer from allergies).

At its best, the NPR shows appeal to the curious; seeking out the obscure and making it compelling and entertaining. It is not the place for a simple news bite, but for (often long-winded) discussion.

However, today, I found myself caught between Irish folk music and a debate on national health care.

Zzzzzzzzzz….

On some days, all the cliches are true.

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Don’t call it bacon

While in L.A., my friend and I went for brunch at a vegan restaurant called Real Food Daily in Santa Monica.

The strange irony of the name will become apparent in a moment.

For the un-initiated, vegan means no dairy products at all. So no cheese, no eggs, no butter. Some might say, no joy…but that’s probably just a personal opinion (mine).

However, there are many cooks who have managed to navigate these boundaries quite well, and make very tasty food. It generally goes better when it doesn’t try to imitate an existing meat product though.

For example, bacon.

I mean really. Bacon? Bacon = pork. I’m sorry, it just does. What is bacon without pork fat?!

It’s like someone who shows up and says “I’m blonde” but you see that she has black hair. Nothing wrong with black hair, but it’s not blonde, and I’m not about the redefine the dictionary just so you can call a brunette a blonde, and not-bacon, bacon.

The bacon looked like this:

small

 

There are seeds on my “bacon”!

What it really was, was a chewy, salty cracker, that tasted a bit smokey. It was actually good.

What it wasn’t, was bacon.

 

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I love L.A.

Yeah, yeah. As a Bay Area intellectual elitest, I’m supposed to say all the things I don’t like about L.A. thus gratifying some deep-seated need to feel superior in some obscure way. But hey, all that snobbery sounds like a lot of work, and I’m busy enough as it is.

The fact is, I like L.A. Granted, I’ve never lived there, and I know that living there is different from visiting, etc. etc..   However, I’ve always had a great time whenever I’ve been.

Let me tell you why.

First off, the weather. Yes there’s smog and traffic, but daaamn. This weekend it was 70 degrees, at night, IN JANUARY!  Do you hear what I’m telling you?! It was only an hour flight, and suddenly, I didn’t need any of my winter clothes! In contrast,  last week in San Francisco I was wearing socks to bed every night.

Second, the style of the place. This city is properly criticized for being overly-image conscious. But the flip side of image-conscious is that everything is really good looking. There are some truly great examples of modern design and architecture that does not exist up here in the north. This is both in brick and in flesh. Hey look, it’s a Gehry! Holy cow! Look at her nose!

A-ma-zing!

Since I’m only ever there for a weekend or so, I can’t gauge substance (or lack thereof) in that amount of time; but style? L.A. has it. I know San Franciscans say that we have style, but we really don’t. Our style is anti-style; it shows our indie cred, our “we’re too busy thinking of important things like politics, technology, and the environment, to worry about matters such as matching shoes and combed hair.”

It’s simple mathematics really.  There’s a finite amount of time in any day, and if you spend x amount of time worrying about what you look like, it means you have less time to think about, say, “is this package compostable?”  Combine that with social pressure; if everyone around you works hard at image, you’re more likely to make a little more effort in that regard. Likewise, if you feel your neighbor will give you the stink eye because you did not properly sort your trash, you will probably sort your trash.

(For those of you out there, reading this and thinking that you would be resolute and stick to your guns re: style and/or garbage. Trust me…you learn to choose your battles; these daily ones will wear you down. Eventually you will cave. Or become very strange because of the daily stress of holding your ground.)

L.A. is a wonderful place to do things like shop, go to a spa, and have wine and cheese on a patio facing the sunset ocean, and not feel guilty about it because you’re pretty sure someone just down the street has engaged in something even more frivolous and self-indulgent. Probably paid for by someone else, while getting their feet rubbed by an impoverished undocumented worker, all while chatting on a cell phone.

Yup. I love L.A.

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Tea, with an agenda

I was in Whole Foods today and thought that I would like to buy some tea.

Now, despite being a San Franciscan, I’m not actually a regular Whole Foods shopper, so I had to wander the aisles looking for the one marked “tea.”

It was insanity! Every single box of tea in that section had a specific, self-improvement purpose. There was no reference to tasty or perhaps refreshing. It was all about how such and such tea would help me sleep better, or fight a cold, or lose weight. There was one brand that was very demanding, with the naming scheme of “Be Gorgeous”, “Be Calm”, etc.

I have no idea what gorgeous tastes like (citrus? peppermint?), but the last thing I feel like being pressured or made to feel inadequate by, is my beverage.

I finally found non-judgemental tea in a completely different area. Near the cookies (organic, no doubt).

I bought a cinnamon and vanilla tea, that as far as I can tell, will do absolutely nothing for my character.

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