I didn't think it would come to this and I wasn't sure that I was ready - but a certain sequence of events led me here - or there...
Yes, that is correct - you can find me there as well. It has been quite a move - a lot of effort and a lot of thinking. I love my pink and my flamingo and the wonderful experience I have had here. It is just time. And hey I can always come back. But for now back sure y'all come with me (those readers and such) because I would certainly miss you!
This will come up again because I am certain that I have not exhausted the topic. It has been bouncing around in my head for days or weeks or something like that and it has driven me mad. To the point that last night it nearly exploded - over some very poorly made Penne a Diablo with fresh vegetables. Magoo, myself, and my father sat down to dinner at a new Tampa restaurant - CDB's - at 7:30. After some initial discussions and a first round of cocktails we ordered. The waitress was mildly unfamiliar with the menu and I chose the dish above despite some confusion. In a timely manner our soup and iceberg lettuce salads with too much oil in their house dressing arrived with an extra side of bread. After the trays were picked up we ordered another round of cocktails and waited. And waited. And waited. We were told it would only be a minute. Or seemingly 45 of them. At 9 we flagged down the manager and kindly asked her to check on our food as we ordered it an hour ago. And again we waited and waited. Another 10 minutes go by and they arrived with our food and to no one's surprise mine was cold. It was evident it was cold before you even touched the entree - the sauce had hardened onto the pasta and vegetables, a sure (and unappetizing) sign. I asked the manager to please bring me a warmer dish and instead of apologizing for the wait or the food, she insisted that the food was just, "left on the line" and that, "she saw it there herself". Well to me that is not an indication the food was warm - in fact it tells me just the opposite - it was sitting on the line. But more so it looked cold and a quick taste told me I was correct. She left and brought me back a new bowl of pasta in mere minutes. This one clearly warm and fresh. Again without apologizing or even asking if things were okay she hovered over my shoulder and demanded that I eat it in front of her because she will not leave until I agreed with her that my meal was now warm. It was. I would have done anything to get her, her attitude, and her breath off my shoulder while I tried to eat. The food itself was mediocre to poor. Especially for something I waited for so long and for something I could have thrown together at home - in less time, for less money, and with far greater results. Certainly with less of a headache.
I was completely unsatisfied and totally disappointed. For quite the obvious reasons, but also because I don't get it. Why be NASTY? What benefit does it do to you or the business you are trying to run (into the ground)? This goes beyond customer service and the service industry. Why be nasty at all? I am trying really hard to understand what the need for it is in our society and in general in the human personality. I want to do my best to be a nice and charming person. No doubt I have my moments of shear and utter evil. I can be a complete bitch and a total crazy person. At times. Which is why I am working hard to curtail it. This attitude gets me all wound up and tired. It drains me and leaves me without any of the intended benefits and usually having to dole out apologies like candy. How about instead, I start with the candy and act saccharine sweet from the get go. Seems easier and more sane. Seems like I would get farther faster and with more overall success. Seems like a better perspective to enjoy. That would have made a difference in this evening's meal. If the manager had been apologetic, or even nice, I would have been far less disappointed. She achieved only one thing from her attitude - there will be three people who will never dine in their establishment again. Which to me seems to be the opposite goal of managing a restaurant. She should have started with dessert and let us decide based on our entree if we were coming back. A dollop of sweet (say like a free dessert) can last an entire meal - especially one that lasted two hours.
I get the flaws and see the other side - if we all existed in a nice friendly and peaceful bubble would these things happen? I am guessing so - shit happens. But we handle it differently, we look at it from a positive perspective and we move on from it faster because of all that. I would like to think that it would be helped overall. I will do my part to maintain that level - living my life with that existence. The best I can do is hope others do so as well. I can also hope others avoid that restaurant.
The story won’t begin at the beginning because that is just too far away. When it comes down to it the beginning could be pegged at five years old when I entered kindergarten at Temple Zion in Miami Florida. Because that is the technical start of the educational process which culminated in a Juris Doctorate granted twenty years later by the Tulane University College of Law. In those twenty years I essentially prepared for the law degree and was groomed to be a professional. But lets start at the moment that it all began, when the girl became a lawyer. When the fun begins and the laughs never end.
Lets start at the arm pit rash of the summer of 2004. Nothing says professional and grooming like an itchy, oozey, arm pit rash. It began in June, a few short weeks after graduation, as a small irritation, an itch here and there. I was knee high in bar exam preparations and I poured over Bar Bri notes, attending lectures by day and outlining diligently every afternoon. I sweated over it all. Literally. It was Florida in the summer and the expression hot as balls means nothing until you have lived here. Sweat and heat surround your body forming a plastic casing that makes it difficult to breathe and impossible to avoid. So I thought little of the constant itching annoyance under there. I was in a generally irritated state at that point knowing I was devoting an entire summer to studying the laws of Florida. Until one day I looked down at my body and saw a thousand tiny red dots littering the underside of my arm, onto my chest and down my side. Both sides. If you wonder how this went unnoticed then you have never taken the bar exam. It is really really simple. When you live alone and shower only on even numbered days it is actually quite easy. I just never looked. I washed, rinsed, repeated without thinking of much else than criminal procedures and torts.
At the dermatologist she examined my red dots and determined that I was allergic to deodorant. After 25 years I developed an allergy to the single most important beauty item I use. At a time when I cannot experiment or manipulate, I needed things to remain even keel. I could not mess with my routine and I certainly could not mess around with an anti-perspirent. So in response she recommended the most brilliant solution ever - stop wearing deodorant. I politely nodded my head and said I understood and listened to her bogus suggestions about why this happens to people. All the while thinking that this was a load of crap and it was impossible that this women made it through medical school. Does she not get stressed? Does she not understand that it is 117 degrees outside? So it was very very clearly evident that this was not going to happen. A girl cannot sit in a crowded room with 100 strangers on a daily nervous basis studying to take an exam 20 years in the making in the middle of June in Florida and NOT WEAR DEODORANT. But I also could not continue to itch and scratch at my pits during these classes.
So I asked around and tried to find solutions to my problem. Only to find out that of the three total people I surveyed all three were also allergic to deodorant. Hello people? Why don’t I know these things? I did not know this was a condition let alone a common one. Why does nobody share this? It is not embarrassing - not like sweating through your t-shirts and smelling like a dead over ripe animal in a Bar Review course kind of embarrasing. So why were people not talking about this? I needed help so I listened to them. Based on their suggestions I began to use hypo-allergenic deodorant and baby powder when I left the house. I limited that to the few hours I had to be in class. As it did not really do the trick and it certainly did nothing to cure the red itchy heat oozing from my arms. I spent the remaining time at home studying with no shirt on, a cool washcloth under each pit, and a fan blowing on me to ease the heat sensation emanating from my chest area. Anyone wanna guess why I was single.
Well my friends that test taking strategy seemed to serve me well. Because I passed. And the rash went away. And I am not allergic to deodorant. I had hives. Simple as that. Stress induced hives. Hello Dr. Smarty Pants. Ever think of that? Which is why I am starting here. It was the induction into being a lawyer, as everyone has to take the Bar, spend months studying and stressing over it. But also as an introduction to how being a lawyer can make your body react in a physically sick and inappropriate way. Causing red dots, sweat, a stench, an itch, and an inability to go out in public or react appropriately around people. Being a lawyer would prove to be all these things and a few more token bonus goodies too. This was only the beginning of the story.
Things started off this weekend quite heated. And not of the sexy kind. From Thursday night on there was some serious tension and I would like to take partial blame for dragging it out as long as I did. We benefited from cool down time as I took a solo trip down to Miami. Driving back on Saturday night, with my father at the wheel, we spotted the blazing sunset over the Everglades. Those unfamiliar with the geography - we head due west across the vast expanse of Alligator Ally - and I clicked away capturing the bolden sun as it dipped into the wetlands.
Someone asked and the new camera is a Panasonic, which will have better zoom so these kinds of shots will be even more vibrant. Though hopefully I will not have to make that trip again under those conditions.
On Sunday morning Magoo ran to the store to get breakfast pickings and proudly pulled out an 11 pound bag of cherries. I kid, but it seemed endless and we both realized quickly we would not be able to eat them all.
So while he fiddled around the house and did some awesome home improvement things, I searched for recipes and went back to the store for lunch, dinner, and cherry fixings. At this point it was one and apparently already unbearably hot outside. This was my first foray outdoors all day and the short distance from the house to car left me with sweat trickling down my face and forming at the small of my back. The only way I can describe it, again for those unfamiliar, is like taking a hot bath wearing a wool sweater. It is that uncomfortable, itchy, stifling and wrong. Already hot and bothered I stood in line at the deli counter - my least favorite activity in all the world. I swear my least and I will argue that to my death. Which I thought could come while standing there - from having to beat my head against the glass display as the service was just that horrific and the man/woman (unclear as to the gender as his/her hands were the size of the turkey breast) helping me was in fact not at all helpful. Why is it that this makes me so furious? Already overly annoyed I followed this up at checkout with the man who left his wallet in his car and when retrieved it found out that his credit card was declined. A short trip to the Publix for 17 items turned into an hour debacle. At least they had air conditioning.
Again the walk back to the car from the store with three grocery bags was mind numbingly stifling. Hello summer! Since I was already drenched in sweat, I agreed to walk Ginger and Tom and I got in some exercise. Every single time returning to the house, opening the air conditioned door, and screaming, "holy fuck nuts." We decided to do what seemed logical and most humorous. So myself, Magoo, and a bottle of Jack Daniels enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at the movies. We spent two hours Knocked Up and of course loved every minute of it - what is not to like about absolute humor, a spiked Diet Coke and 65 degree air conditioning?
Coming home slightly buzzed I made dinner, as promised, and tried to make a dent in our bowl full o' cherries. First up cherry salsa. This I made early so we could snack while I cooked and continued to drink and Magoo worked. It sounds wrong and odd (the salsa part- not the me drinking and Magoo working part - because that sounds just about right) but it was delicious and fresh. I forgot to buy the pepper at the store because after the deli counter incident I tried my best to get out of there. Tried being so key. So I used yellow and red onions to give it differing flavors. I also dislike cilantro so I added some red pepper flakes for spice. It worked wonderfully with some chips to dip in or, as the recipe suggests, would probably be good as a topping on a protein.
Labels: Everyday Life
For a few Saturdays in May I took a photo class at a local museum. I was served up with some serious photo envy of people's expensive cameras and their ability to take some excellent shots. Not all but some - and that to me was the greatest lesson - seeing other's eyes. You can learn so much from that - in addition to the technical lessons the instructor instilled. Some of which I am not quite sure of and some of which I am still practicing.
The photos I submitted were of downtown scenes you would not expect to see downtown. A home like feel to the space and place I called home - something I felt having worked down there for a few years. It really is a quaint little downtown, we don't even have a Starbucks, but I feel like this especially captures that as you don't really see a high rise structure. Though I have to say my classmates who submitted those were awe inspiring as they made the mundane buildings look beautiful and made Tampa look quite glamorous. To me that is what has been so much fun about photography - the varying ideas, angles, and images and what is conveyed through the lenses. It is educational and inspirational and completely fun - my new camera arrives on Monday so let the games continue.
Labels: P.S./Photography Sunday
I am looking for someone, who can take as much as I give,
Give back as much as I need,
And still have the will to live.
I am intense,
I am in need,
I am in pain,
I am in love.
I feel forsaken, like the things I gave away.
(c) Indigo Girls (1989).
Okay folks I have been cooking. Yeah, I know I told you all this already. But I cannot stop. Monday I can't quite count because there were these factors and a game of tennis with Ash. But I still managed quite a plate of sliced Fuji's, crusted baguette, fresh mozzarella, and thinly sliced prosciutto. Think Anne's late night anti-pasta with a kick. I pieced it together and picked at it while reading over y'alls work and contemplating large life issues like how to best leave work at 6 pm. You know the basics of any summer time discussion.
To continue on the theme - picking, summer, and light fare - I composed for myself and Magoo, her recipe - a melon-prosciutto salad. Some are smitten with her and I cannot deny them she is excellent and her photos are magic. But I have been taken recently with Ms. Molly's stories and gastronomic tales. So on Tuesday in an ode to her blog I also made her rhubarb dessert. Magoo spent time in Italy as a child and has quite fond memories of ricotta. So much so that last night he sprinkled sugar on it and ate it straight from the container with a spoon. Apparently all the cooking was for naught - I can just hand him a spoon. But the baked dessert was excellent - something so undessert like as it had a magnificent combination of flavors and a bittersweet taste perfect for those who can't handle chocolate-y desserts. I had it again on Wednesday, this time left over and cold, and you know it tasted almost better as the orange zest marinated into the root and the ricotta didn't quite melt, which I found preferable since Magoo is right that is one good cheese. Before the cold rhubarb dessert part two I sliced and diced green and red peppers picked up on a quick side stop to the local farmer's market. I added them into a black bean salad - something I have made a handful of times before always with excellent results. It is perfect over burgers, garden or otherwise, as a chip dip, or a salad topper. It is so fresh and tangy we just eat it up. Unfortunately last night I overestimated the amount of tang and was generous with the red pepper flakes. It was spicy - too spicy for that kind of dish. I threw it on a bed of lettuce, added sugar, and red wine vinegar to even out the hot, cut up another fresh baguette and drowned it all with a beer. Not a bad post work out meal considering my senses were worked out also. By the end I was tearing. To be honest I am a bit disappointed having failed ever so slightly. I am also disappointed that I do not have more evidence to show you of my culinary madhouse. But a new camera is en route to casa Anne so this should not be a problem ever again.
In my excited state over cooking I don't how I could initially forget to mention last night's Cook Off on Top Chef. Season One v. Season Two. We made our bets but Magoo fell asleep before I could cash in on my winnings. How could Season One not win? I was jumping out of my skin excited for all 60 minutes of the goodness. Bravo to Bravo for following through with a brilliant idea and thank you for letting us see Harold, Sam, and Dave again.
**The black bean salad is one I originally took from the Fresh Market website that they have since removed. Smitten Kitchen has a similar one- but I have just been playing it by ear - which failed me ever so slightly last night.
Labels: Everyday Life
A few weeks back Magoo treated himself to a Saturday full of errands which included a trip to the Generic Pet Store. For my life I cannot remember which location has Pet Smart and which has the Pet Savers. To me there is no difference because I cannot also remember which carries Ginger's food and which does not. And I inevitably chose wrong when it comes to that time. To me it is like the color of my toothbrush. I just don't know. There are details of my life that I can never for the life of me remember. Ever. I have a penchant for detail and can tell you that Donna Martin wore a black tube top with a white flower on the first day of school but never in my whole life will I know the color of my toothbrush or which pet store is in which location. So at Generic Strip Mall Pet Store, Magoo purchased a retractable leash for Ginger. He was all hyped up and gung-ho about this development of his progression as a pet owner. He had broached the subject with me a number of times and I dismissed it. We were a family of standard leashes. Quiet, easy, complacent leashes in lovely shades that match the collars. This retractable business was too much for me to consider so I pushed it aside much like his suggestions that I remove my shoes from the front door area. I hear it and I decide it does not jibe with the essence of me so I do nothing about it. Well when you put Magoo alone in Generic Pet Store and hand him a Visa he does what he can. Because lord knows that this tactic WILL WORK TO REMOVE MY SHOES. But I am just saying - I can be bribed. So he bought us the retractable leash and attached it to Ginger's collar and it has been a miserable struggle for me ever since that moment. He poked fun at me and my inability to multi-task while walking the dog. The bag, the bag filled with poop, the retraction mechanism, and quite often the cell phone and of course just plain walking - which often times is one of the biggest challenges. Well I cannot master all these things. And the leash gives me serious anxiety. I cannot control it properly, she is either choking on it or roaming freely through my neighbors bedroom it is just that long. I can never get the mechanism to catch and in seconds she is 199 feet ahead of me eating yesterday's garbage. It is just a mess.
This evening I took her out for her nightly constitutional and at the same time was on the phone with Magoo. This I blame on him. Being in Philadelphia means that I HAVE TO talk on the phone to him while walking the dog. She inevitably made her way around and around a tree while he and I are discussing whether Philadelphia really is dirty and how he could get lost and wind up in New Jersey. I managed to notice that she had some how made two circles around the tree as the leash has that much slack. With my semi-free hand I "unwrapped" her leash trying to undo her circles but only created another one and somehow also a knot. And at this point she still had enough leash to wander aimlessly through the neighbors yard. I say shit very loudly - as now there was a beagle tied to my neighbors tree. I urgently hung up with Magoo, or really just cursed a lot and dropped my phone on the concrete, and again try to reign her in. No luck - there are now two knots. She was gently pulling and trying her best to get into the flower beds. So I do what only seems rational - I sit down on the sidewalk and try to undo the circles and knots to make sure she does no more damage. This must have looked totally normal - who wouldn't feel safe seeing a girl in running shorts sitting on the sidewalk outside their home at 10:30 on a Thursday night? I recognize this and make another well planned move - I take off Ginger's leash. She sees this as any poorly trained dog would - as freedom and she starts to run. I run too, which is not something I do ever or well and especially not in flip-flops. Luckily she sees home as a good destination and I whole heartily agree. I opened the door, grabbed the spare leash, strapped her in, and headed back to the tree. I am getting girlfriend points here, right? I seriously contemplated letting the leash stay there and walking her in the complete opposite direction pretending this NEVER HAPPENED. But, 1) how do I explain to Magoo that his prized leash is tied in knots to a neighbors tree; and 2) what would the neighbors think? So we proceeded back to the tree to untie the knots. This was a smidge easier as there was not a stubborn dog attached to one end pulling on it. But it was still abhorrently difficult as it was night and there are about 73 knots. There was also a friendly neighbor type watching. "How'd ya get so many knots in there?" Now that is the kind of support I am looking for - right to the point and annoying. I ignore him and slowly and mechanically undo every single knot thinking that Magoo better appreciate me rescuing his leash. Because I know that I am NEVER using the damned thing again. We walked the rest of the block with the spare leash all blissful and normal like old times. No thinking involved and the Beagle kept at a normal distance. And when I got home I left my shoes at the front door. That's just how I am.
I think it could have literally been the weather - the storm made me do it. I woke up on Saturday morning with a domestic urge. I wanted to bake. While the music was pumping and the eggs were frying, I arranged a chocolate chip walnut banana bread. It smelled wonderful and came out of the oven just as the rain ended. While the four inches of water was perfect for our parched lawns, the bread was not. There were no eggs in the bread, though the ones served at breakfast were divine, the banana bread was a low fat recipe and tasted just like that. A touch of jam gave it back it's sweetness but that's about it.
Come Sunday and a brand new Van Morrison CD I heated up the kitchen again. Three hours later Magoo and I turned out a pretty rocking meal and invited the girls over to sample and witness Sarah Silverman in all her raunchy glory. The food was good and her jokes were over the top. I peeled all the recipes off the Food Network website - adapting some to our needs including using none of the fat that Paula suggests. Wow that woman loves butter. We dabbled in mixing our own ideas into the pre-cut recipes and tried our hardest to remember what kind of modifications we made and what a 1/2 of a 1/4 is.
Plus now Magoo feels he sufficiently broke in the grill - so we decided next up are pizzas. Yeah I saw it on the Food Network this weekend, okay you figured me out. The next time a storm approaches or I just feel like standing in the kitchen for hours and having good friends, great food, and perfect music - we will fire it up. All in all I would say it was well played and enjoyed - you can see some of the results here.
**Does anyone know how to get Blogger to cooperate when using bullet points? They are driving me to stick a bullet point into my eye...
We have an orchid that Magoo won in an office lottery type give away. She was beautiful with purple and white flowers. She died. I think she could be alive - all the flowers fell of the stem, so there is a chance she could grow back. I just am not sure how to make that happen. I am pretty certain though that I have to do something about it - whereas before all I did was add water. I am thinking that this was not the right step given my result. Or perhaps she needed a special type of water. For a time there Ginger only drank distilled water. There could be something about my house that brings about fancy water requirements. Some have fancy pants - I have fancy plants. I could do a good old fashioned Google search on how to care and not kill orchids.
Labels: P.S./Photography Sunday