Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dear Sister,

First things first-- thanks for helping me move, sorry it was the road trip from hell. I owe you?

Now that that's out of the way...

I went out to the most amazingly delicious dinner last night, so I took pictures so I could share it with you! See, I've been saying goodbye to NYC one favorite food place at a time, so I've had everything bagels with olive cream cheese, sushi, subs salads, coffee from my coffee man, etc. Last night was not one of these staples of my college years that I'm enjoying for the last time in awhile. It was quite the opposite-- probably the fanciest dinner I will ever experience, unless, of course, I do become famous. In which case it will just be par for the course. And don't worry, we were super subtle about taking pictures of every course, I highly doubt we looked at of place at all. I bet everyone thought we go there all the time.

Here it is, for you to enjoy vicariously, my dinner at Jean George's (which, for the record is pronounced with a French accent, not an American one):

Appetizer (which we didn't order, they just brought!):

As our waiter (who was dressed nicer than I was) informed us, this was fresh mozzerella with some kind of little flower thing on it (he knew the name, obvi), a cube of watermellon with, I think, a dash of pepper on it and chicken soup with chamomile in it. Fortunately, they gave us the fork you use with it AND someone near by was eating it-- so we just copied their technique. And I did not drink the chicken soup chamomile thing like a shot, although I was tempted because come on, thats in a shot glass!

First Course:

Madai sashimi in a zesty strawberry sauce. SO good. I ate a bite before I remembered to take a picture! And, I managed to eat it without spilling it everywhere.

Second Course:

Atlantic Char with couscous and clams. If you were cultured like me you would know that char is like salmon, but lighter. And that gray square is the skin. And the clams are mixed in with the couscous. And no, of course I did not have to ask our waiter all of these questions. I just knew the answers, because I'm cultured.
Next up: The wine!
All I have to tell you about the wine is summed up by this conversation:
The Waiter: Do you like a fuller bodied cabernet?
Ella: Uh, sure?
The Waiter: (laughs) Okay, then. (Shakes his head knowingly).

Third Course:
Beef Tenderloin and squashey things. I did not eat the squash, and I barely had room for the beef. I ended up sharing it with JT, but I did not eat any of his, because he got lamb. And I always think of the bottle lambs from when we were little. Also, even though I made him promise not to order liver, I heard the waiter say foie gras at some point with J, and well, ew.

I have no idea WHAT most of this was, but it was DELICIOUS. Oh man, so you could choose between strawberry, garden, cherry or chocolate themes for desert. Um, duh, that was a no brainer. That white stuff is frozen white chocolate-- seriously, I thought it was dry ice at first, but then I thought, why would a possum answer the phone? (No idea why that just popped into my head as I was writing...but I'm leaving it because, well, totnn). The chocolate in the bottom right hand corner was fan-freaking-tastic. It ooozed even more chocolate when I cut into it! And the vanilla ice cream went with it.
Oh, and the best part, which I forgot to take a picture of, at the end of the meal the waiter brought the check and handed it to JT and a little bag with a box of chocolates in it for me!
So, all in all, if you ever want to go here with me I'm down, but we'd probably have to choose between rent and a single dinner there. No, really. How did I weasle my way into this fantastic dinner, you ask? Well, as you may have caught on I went with JT. His parents gave him gift certificates there, and he offered to use them with me. Seriously, he offered, I didn't even pressure. In fact, I suggested he use them on a real date but he thinks that would set the standard absurdly high. And I'm not really going to argue, because, well, it was delicious. I could barely move after, and I've barely eaten today. Also, I think the waiter was trying to get me drunk because he kept refilling my wine glass more than J's, which made JT decide he should try to fist bump the waiter on the way out as a thanks. Not sure if that went down, I was too full to do anything but waddle out in 4 inch heels.
Stay tuned, I've got some thoughts on Cambridge and parking, and eventually an update on my move and such.
your eternally-greatful-for-helping-her-move-and-oh-so-classy-and-cultured sister

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy belated country-versary!

Dear sister,

Good luck with all that. I have a pretty long list of to-do myself, mostly all left over from my move last month, but it's sitting idly by. I worked like crazy for all of the 4th weekend; we pretty much doubled production at the bakery, which meant upwards of 750 pastries per overnight shift. I have in fact been dreaming about butter. Anyway, I took off this past weekend instead, heading up to Bard to visit with Slonim and celebrate, belatedly, our nation's birth.

We had a lot of fun - did a lot of talking - a lot of laughing - ate A LOT of food - and even did some walking and other outdoors-y activities. I'll let you see it all on facebook. Here I'll just give you two things that came up for me while thinking about the 4th, independence, freedom, and America in general.

I don't know how to embed video, so I'm linking you to the PFAW (People for the American Way) video of a 1982 re-enactment of the Continental Congress. Let me just say that it involves the Muppets.

And secondly, here's a poem by Wendell Berry. It's from a book of his selected poems, given to me by The Element when I graduated last month. No moralizing intended; I just wanted to share it with you since I liked it myself.It's titled "We Who Prayed and Wept."

We who prayed and wept
for liberty from kings
and the yoke of liberty
accept the tryanny of things
we do not need.
In plenitude too free,
we have become adept
beneath the yoke of greed.

Those who will not learn
in plenty to keep their place
must learn it by their need
when they have had their way
and the fields spurn their seed.
We have failed Thy grace.
Lord, I flinch and pray,
send Thy necessity.

your sister

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My State of Mind, FWIW

Dear list-making-sister,

I sadly do not have anything nearly as exciting as your recent picture essay to share, but as I *just* got an air conditioner installed (HOORAY!) and can now type without dripping sweat all over my computer, I thought I'd write to you. And, since you like making lists and so do I, here is a glimpse into my brain these days, in list form (which is how it would look if you could see into my brain. Well, into my mind. My brain would just be all mushy and bloody and such. Want to see a brain? I've got some at work. Rat brains, fyi, are really tiny compared to their bodies, but supposedly they're really smart. But I digress...):

To do before/during/immediately after moving:

  • find an apartment
  • pay off my car
  • cry about my bank account after paying off my car
  • register my car/get a parking permit
  • figure out what state I am currently a resident of, and then promptly get MA residency
  • find some health insurance
  • pack
  • find a job in Cambridge/Somerville so I don’t get evicted (assuming I find an apartment)

To do at work:

  • look busy
  • enjoy the AC
  • vending machine runs for candy
  • replicate some DNA PCR style (see, I do real work too...)

“Need” but shouldn’t buy (interestingly, also usually a list of things I’ve recently broken):

  • a new ipod
  • AC in my car
  • a phone
  • a hair appointment (no, I didn’t break my hair)

Suggestions for not melting in the heat wave:

  • Freeze a bunch of icey pops, put them in a garbage bag, and sleep on it. (The garbage bag, I’ve been informed, is necessary because one time a purple one popped and purple stuff got all over a certain someone’s bed.)
  • Stick an ice cube on my head and let it melt
  • Naked parties

(Editors note: only one of those was PecanMama.)

Acronyms TSNBU (because I couldn’t immediately guess them):

  • FWIW
  • OTPHJ (don’t look this one up)

Acronyms TSBU (because I like them):

  • BYOC (couch...for housewarming parties that get thrown a little too early)
  • TOTNN (duh)


  • Why am I not immune to measles?
  • Did StrongDad “misplace” my spare keys?
  • Why do constipated fish float?
  • Why did Lindsay Lohan write "F*ck you" on her middle finger nail before her court date and then claim she "respects" the court?
  • Why does Lindsay Lohan look like a 60 year old already?

And there you have it, Sister, a (probably frightening) snap shot of my mind at the moment. Notice, if you will, the ratio of crossed off to not crossed off on the “To Do” lists. It’s a ratio that is inversely proportional to my stressed out level. There is, of course, also a running tally that should generally resemble my bank account going in my mind at all times, but its in so much flux that I can’t even express it in any tangible way. Oh, wait, yes I can: ^$%^#$&*%^@. Yup, that about sums it up.


your possibly-gone-off-the-deep-end sister

Friday, July 2, 2010

month in review: June

Hi about-to-move sister,
I know how hard moving is. I just did it, remember? I thought you might need a pick-me-up while you're in the midst of being moving-crazy, so here's a little photo essay on your most favorite subject: me. It's my month-a-versary of living at Grandmother's!

First, the reason for my seeming productivity: an unintentional quasi-daVinci sleep cycle.

As you can see, since I'm working overnights (they're euphemistically called "opening shifts") I get up around 1am, and then sleep again when I come home, or at the beach, or various other points of the day. This leaves me with a lot of daylight time, for:

Sitting on the porch, watching these little ones:

(Chickadee on the top wire, female baby woodpecker in the bottom feeder - hiding from omni-hungry brothers, I think.)

Whilst working on this:

Making lots of food out of a CSA share:

Making lots of other things:

(By the way, that is what I meant when I said I had knit a chicken.)

And keeping the already-made (and some already-bought) things clean:

Those are the things on my list. Grandmother's list has included fixing the outdoor shower, several attempts at fixing the fridge, planting tomato plants, planting bee balm, chamomile, basil, and chive seeds, trying to keep the squirrels from digging up afore-mentioned seeds ... oh, and cleaning up various things in the basement, like the wooden cabinet sharing drying space with the laundry in the picture above.

And throughout it all, piles of reading:

Left = to read, right = read. ("Read" the past participle, not the second singular imperative. As in, "having read" and not "Read!") The middle are in media res. Yes, that is a history of Weeki Wachee and yes, I read it cover to cover. And yes, this is the first time in my life that the "to read" pile is smaller than any other. Though of course, that's not counting the two boxes of books in the basement, but since I can't find them, they can't count anyway.

I know moving is horrible and frustrating and horribly frustrating right now, but look at what awaits you! Fun things - well, I know these are only fun to me. You can pick and choose your own productivity and funtimes. Though, somewhere in the basement I have a box of books for you, too ...

your one-month-home sister