Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Love In My Tummy

I owe you people a food post. Seriously. My hard drive is overflowing with photographic documentation of culinary fabulosity, and I simply haven't had the time to share it with you.

And I certainly haven't got time to share it all now, so today will be a tribute to my new favourite food blog: Our Best Bites.

I found these lovely ladies the other day after following a link to their fabulously inventive Single Serving Pie in a Jar, which you can bet your arse I'll be trying as soon as I have time, and the funds to buy the jars.

In the mean time, I've been salivating over every recipe in their archive, and in the last two days I've tried two of them.

First up... Chicken Pot Pie
(Follow links for the recipes)

Since I am only feeding one person, I decided to make individual serving pies instead of one large pie.  I halved the recipe, which still made enough filling for one slightly larger pie in my new (and utterly beloved) Williams Sonoma soup bowls, and three smaller pies in disposable mini pie tins, perfect for the freezer!

I shredded up a half rotisserie chicken from my grocery store (a bargain at $2.99!) and thawed some frozen mixed veggies by dumping them into a ziplock bag and floating it in hot water in my bathroom sink.  I made Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup, which was admittedly bland when I followed the recipe. It tasted more like flour than anything else, but that may have been the cheap chicken broth stocked by my grocery store. I added about another half cup of broth and a ton of extra seasonings (probably about doubled the amount in the recipe, as well as added some sage and thyme) and that made it better. Will definitely try a different broth next time.

My only deviation from the recipe as written was to add a few cloves of minced garlic when I sauteed the onions in butter.  In my world, garlic would be its own food group.

I threw everything into a bowl (including the diced and boiled red potatoes that I didn't take photos of previously because, hey, they're potatoes), topped with the soup, and mixed it all up.  Easy peasy.

Now, I was going to give a little tutorial on making pie crusts in here, but a.) I'm not exactly a master crust maker, and b.) my camera battery was dying so I had to snap photos quickly and they all came out blurry.  So.  No pie crust tutorial.  I'll just note that I use the trusty recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, substituting butter for half of the shortening.  Works great.

Right. Onward.

I filled the incredibly-awesome-handled-soup-bowl and the three mini pie tins with the pot pie mixture, then topped them each with pie crust.

That's "P," for "Pie."

What can I say?  I like to have fun with my vents :)  These three were each wrapped in plastic wrap, then in foil, and stuck in the freezer for future consumption.

While the "P" pie was in the oven, baking at 400 degrees for approx 45 minutes, I took the little bit of leftover pie crust and performed a little bit of magic that is a Froggy Family Tradition.

Roll out the leftover crust dough, dot with butter, and douse in cinnamon and sugar.

Squeeze together at center and roll up ends.  Sorry about the blurry photo, it was the only one I got of this step.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until you have a sweet-centered, flaky treat!

Now, back to the pie...

Beautiful!  (Seriously, how awesome is that bowl??!)

Nice and golden.  Bon Apetite!

So, you ask... how was it?

Pretty darned good.  It suffered a little from the blandness of the Cream of Chicken soup, but for the most part it was very tasty and hit the spot.  I can't wait to see how the three in the freezer cook up!

And now, the second recipe, which is mercifully (for both of us) not nearly so photo-heavy, as I didn't take any prep photos.

Thai Peanut Noodles

We can add this to the list of Foods I Love That Would Kill My Mother (who is crazy allergic to peanuts, and almost every other legume on the planet). These are mentioned repeatedly throughout posts on the blog, so I thought they had to be worth checking out. They are also fairly cheap (unless your grocery store gouges you on the cost of Udon noodles like mine does) and quick to make.

They are also freaking divinely delicious. I am going to be making these a lot. I can tell.

(There's that bowl again!)

I cannot wait to see what the leftovers taste like cold later tonight. And I wonder why I'm still single.

And there you have it. My show is over and I've been off work for the past three days. Aside from watching almost two complete seasons of Doctor Who (oh David Tennant, I want to marry you), this is how I've spent my time.

On a scale of 1 to Productive... I'd say that counts as an 8.

Friday, February 19, 2010

On Loss

If I were to venture a guess, I would say that Bruce has been a fixture in my life for about 15 years. Not the chandelier that dominates the entryway and catches your attention each time you pass. More like the simple vase that sits unobtrusively in the corner; present, but never drawing attention to itself.

He was my grandmother's second husband, filling the gap in her life left after she and my grandfather separated. They reconnected at their 50th high school reunion, fell in love, and got married. I see him once a year, when the family gathers for Christmas; the man who gives ridiculous yet oddly practical Christmas gifts (lint brushes and fried-egg-shapers and rechargeable LED tea lights) and tells stories that for all intents and purposes should be interesting, but are somehow rendered inert by the placidity of his demeanor.

This evening, as I was getting ready for my show, my mother called to let me know that he had passed away.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, but in one of the ironic twists life likes to throw at us, it was a heart attack that took him.

I was conflicted when I heard the news because in a sense I was... relieved. I knew from the tone of my mother's voice that someone was gone, and of anyone it could have been, this was the one to cause me, personally, the least amount of grief.

I realized this evening that, for everything he was to my grandmother, my relationship with Bruce never amounted to love. More like a friendly acquaintance. I never thought of him as a grandfather--though considering my relationship to the man he replaced, that moniker would have been more of an insult than an expression of respect--he was simply my grandmother's husband.

My greatest sorrow is for her loss, the man she loved and with whom she shared a home, a life, and a family for the past 15 or more years. He was a good man, he took care of her and loved her, he was good to our family and gave my grandmother the love and stability she absolutely deserved after life had dealt her a bitter hand with her first husband, my grandfather. I am, of course, sad that he is gone--but my grief is not what one feels at the loss of a family member... and I am not entirely certain how to deal with that.

I mean no disrespect to the man himself, and I worry that somehow my lack of personal grief does just that. It is only that, when it comes right down to it, I never really knew him. I know his stories of serving with the Red Cross in occupied Germany after WWII. I know his restless energy that, even as his body began to fail him, drove him to stand instead of sit, to shovel the driveway even when younger men were ready and willing, and to keep a part time job for years after his supposed retirement, because idleness would have driven him crazy. But on the interpersonal level, our relationship amounted to a few scattered conversations among the mayhem of the family holiday gathering, once a year.

Tomorrow I will call my grandmother and attempt to convey my sympathy for her loss, though in truth I haven't the faintest idea of what to say. I know that in situations such as these there is really nothing one can say, but I'd feel a little better if I could at least think of something. I hope that what I have to offer--an "I love you, and my thoughts are with you"--will suffice.

I have no finite ideas of what, if anything, happens after this life, if indeed anything does. But I would like to say this to Bruce: Thank you for making my grandmother happy, for being a solid presence in her life, and giving her the love and the happiness that she deserved. For what it is worth, and in what way I can offer it, you will be missed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I've concluded that I am pretty much over The Model.

I came to this conclusion when he texted to wish me a Happy Valentine's Day... on Saturday.

On Sunday (you know, when it was actually Valentine's Day) I decided to be gracious and write back to say Thank You (since, you know, I'm sure that's what I was supposed to do). A few text messages followed, and he told me to call him after my show. I said that I was probably going out with the cast afterwards, and he said "okay, get drunk and then call me."

I didn't get drunk. I went home, made some popcorn, put on my pajamas, and watched TV.

And had no desire to call him.

So I didn't.

Whatever spark there was when we first met has clearly been extinguished, at least on my end. I'm pretty sure we'll both survive. I know I will. The bottom line is that I think he is intrigued by me because I am unlike the other girls he's dated... yet he still wants/needs/expects me to behave like those other girls, which I am neither capable nor desirous of doing.

Which is precisely what I'll tell him if he calls me out on the fact that I am making no effort to get in contact with him; but I won't be initiating any sort of heart-to-heart on the subject. After all of one date, I don't think I exactly owe him any grand explanations... do you?

While we're on the subject, I did briefly meet another gentleman who sparked my interest, despite his sporting an ever-so-slightly-rodent-like mustache. He's got a bit of an Alessandro Nivola vibe going on, which can't possibly be a bad thing. Granted, I don't know if I'll ever see the guy again, but I certainly hope so. He's doing something (not sure what) at the theatre where my show is performing, so the possibility is definitely there.

For the time being, however, I've got more than enough on my plate to keep me occupied. It would take a lot to grab and maintain my attention in the midst of everything else that's going on--and on that count The Model, it seems, has failed to deliver.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I know...

... that it's perfectly ridiculous to be jealous that a man who lives 4,000 miles away has a crush on some other girl.

Which doesn't change the fact that I absolutely am.

Lord I have issues...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Sure, it plays hell with transportation, after a day or so it turns disgusting and grey, and the black ice is positively brutal, but still... in those first few hours, I have to admit...

That I absolutely love New York City in the snow.

(The camera on my new phone, it must be said, is also deserving of a little love.)

No cars on Broadway? In the middle of the day?! "Snowmageddon" indeed!

This could, theoretically, be a euphemism for the city as a whole.

The temptation to run in and make a snow angel almost got the better of me... until I remembered that neither my coat, nor my jeans, were waterproof.

It's like the entrance to an underground ice fortress...

Those are going to be positively DEADLY when they are frozen solid. Must remember to tread carefully today.

I'm not sure how much snow fell in total, but it was enough to keep the opening night audience for my show to a minimum, which--considering that it was the first time that we'd actually done the show without stopping, with all light and sound cues, and a (still not quite) finished set--wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It went better than expected, but felt more like an invited dress rehearsal than an opening night. Here's hoping tonight kicks it up a notch.

As to The Model, I haven't heard anything from him since our date, and I realize that, aside from disinterestedly wondering if he'll ever call me again, I don't really think about him all that much. Sure he's attractive, and there is some chemistry, but something just seems a little... off. He puts me on the defensive in a way that I can't quite name, and seems to want or expect me to behave in a way that, well, just isn't me.

Case in point, according to him, my response of "Well I'm free as a bird on Saturday" to his saying he'd missed me was "demanding," and the "proper response" would have been "thank you, I missed you too." Ummmm... hi, I'd met you once. I find it difficult to "miss" someone that I don't actually know. Also, I'm not a parrot. If someone says something nice to me, I don't automatically repeat it back to him, and expecting me to do so seems decidedly self-serving.

So... I don't know. I suppose I haven't entirely written him off. A rocky start is not grounds for immediate dismissal. But by the same token, I am not sitting by the phone anxiously wondering when/if I'll hear from him again, nor do I feel particularly compelled to pursue him myself.

My enthusiasm, like the city under this blanket of snow, has gradually been muffled.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just to Let You Know...

The Model eventually responded to my text with a reply that I did not find at all satisfying, so I chose to ignore him and take a nap instead.

Then he called, so I answered, and he asked me to go on a "proper date," so I agreed--with the stipulation that I have a big day tomorrow and couldn't be out late. We went out and had a glass of wine and a (ridiculously good) cheese plate. I enjoyed his company. When communicating face to face, versus via electronic media, he does not appear to be playing games, so.... we'll see.

I don't know what, if anything, will come of this. But I'm willing to stick it out a little longer and see.

The Plot Thickens... No, Thins... No-- Oh F*** It.

My phone was on vibrate this morning, so I did not hear it ring. I received the following paraphrased voicemail from The Model.

Hey, I just figured out that this was your number. If I'd known it was you, I would have called you back. I was just looking at these texts from last week and thinking "Who is this random girl demanding dinner?"


A. I demanded nothing. That was probably meant to sound cute, but missed the mark by a foot or more.

B. He has called me, and actually responded to the first text I sent last week by saying he'd been "missing me"... Does he respond that way to every text he gets from an apparently unknown number?

I sent him a text from rehearsal this morning to ask how he'd managed to lose my number after the above incidents, but--shockingly!--did not get a response. I called him later when I got back to my neighborhood after rehearsal and got his voicemail.

Methinks I smell one hell of a game being played here.

The jury is still out at the moment, because, yes, he is good-looking enough for me to consider giving him a shot at redemption if he ever actually fucking calls me... but I have a feeling that, thanks to those good looks, he's used to not having to work too hard (or at all) to maintain a girl's attention, and that sort of shit absolutely will not fly in my house.

One thing is for certain... if he's looking to lower my defenses, he's certainly going about it the wrong way.


I overthink things.

We all know this. It is easily one of my defining (and I hope, to some, endearing) personality traits.

It is also a fucking curse.

After the night we met, the Hot Guy from Yale (who I will now dub "The Model," because, well, he's a model) sort of dropped off my radar... but not completely. He friended me on Facebook the very night we met (something that DM and I never did in the 2+ months we knew each other), and magically called me (which I missed, resulting in a voicemail) within a few days.

However, when I mentioned I was free for a particular stretch of time in my busy schedule--and subsequently informed him that that was, in fact, a none-too-subtle hint--I heard nothing.

And more nothing.

Then, this morning, I was poking around on the internet before heading off to work and he popped up on Facebook Chat. A paraphrase of his message follows:

I think you should know that I've thought about you every day since we met.

Not like an hour a day.

Maybe cumulatively 75 seconds.

But what I mean to say is that I miss you.

He then proceeded to tell me to call him later and he would take me out this weekend.

I called on my break from work and got his voicemail, leaving him one of my signature rambling messages.

I heard nothing.

When I left work I sent him a text (it was late) to let him know that, should he still desire my company, I am free on Saturday but in rehearsal all day on Sunday.

I've still heard nothing.

It feels like such a fucking tease.

And what really gets me is, that day we met and spent a 2 hour train ride together, he completely called me out on my defenses. I can't say he saw right through them, but he saw that they were there. Now, those defenses have taken a lifetime to build and are absolutely not going to come tumbling down at a moment's notice simply because a charming and attractive man has asked nicely... but I can't say I wasn't affected by his frankness in calling me out in the first place.

But then there's this game of cat-and-mouse that we seem to be playing that I absolutely do not want to play, and which, incidentally, is the reason I have fucking defenses in the first place!

Perhaps it's not a game. Perhaps we're just two busy individuals. But I am not going to go chasing his ass across Manhattan in the hopes that maybe he'll finally, actually, ask me out on a proper date. You may be thinking that, hey, this is the 21st Century, and really, if I want to see him I should just ask him out myself. But this I patently refuse to do, for the simple reason that one of the few requirements on a my fairly short list is that any man I date actually be interested enough in spending time with me that he be willing to make some fucking plans. I have been the pursuer far too often and it generally ends in my being rejected and/or embarrassed, neither of which is an experience that I am anxiously seeking to repeat.

Any man who can't man up and ask me out is clearly not a man I want to be dating in the first place. And no matter how much you try to convince me that you're not every other man I've ever dated, you'll never be the first one to say the things you're saying... and here I am. Still single.

Of course I do realize that the one common factor in my frustrating history is, of course, me...

This evening I was watching the most recent episode of Grey's Anatomy--which, I admit, has been floundering a bit for the past few seasons--when a particular moment hit me square in the chest with how solidly it reflected my own life. Sandra Oh's character, Christina, was talking about a previous relationship in which she had let a man slowly and quietly take away small pieces of her until she was no longer herself; and now, with a new man, now that she was finally herself again, she wanted to be damned sure she never let pieces be taken away from her again.

I had that too. It was a long time ago, and I was young, but the effects have stayed with me for more than 10 years. I let myself be changed and warped from the independent, self-confident young woman that I was into a needy, dependent, self-loathing... nothing. It's taken years and lots of bad decisions, but I feel like I finally have myself back. Perhaps not the same self, but a self that I like, love even, and I am reluctant to let anybody into my life who might try to chip away at the life and the self I've built.

It speaks to my own damaged psyche that I automatically expect every man I meet to want a piece (or more) of me like that first one did... and I'm working on it. But any man who doesn't have the patience, or doesn't see enough in me, to gradually overcome my defenses, isn't a man who should be in my life in the first place.

Which begs the question... how long will it take me to determine if The Model can be trusted... and will he give me an opportunity to find out?