June 15, 2007

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!

June 14, 2007

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.

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The Rash That Ate Manhattan Or Me
June 13, 2007

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.

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It's Getting Hot In Here
June 11, 2007

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.

I then froze an ice mixture of vodka and cherries hoping to make a granita - as inspired by her. While it looks pretty - unfortunately it tasted only like water with mushed cherries - which is actually pretty disgusting. My portions were off. We sipped on the water as a cool refresher to the end of a hot hot weekend and dumped the rest down the drain. We still have cherries left - they appear here to stay along with the sweltering temps from this weekend. Though I hope it continues to remain calm and cool in my house - with plenty of "adult" beverages and good food. And the beautiful beautiful air conditioner.


Downtown Tampa
June 10, 2007

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.


Blood and Fire
June 08, 2007

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).

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Summer Fare
June 07, 2007

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.


This is one girls tangy sweet take on live and her loves - food, family, friends, photography anything goes, afterall it is her world.

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