Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Really? Why?

It's like a Merchant Ivory English countryside setting but without the parasols and more concrete

I spent the Memorial Day weekend lounging like I was on holiday. Friday afternoon was spent dining out with Lrudlrick. Saturday was spent window shopping and candle making (Lrudlrick actually made the candles. I read the instructions.) Sunday was spent picnicking with my brother and his girlfriend.

On the first full picnic menu of the season:

Buttermilk fried chicken
Tuna pasta salad
Salami, Provolone, Basil roll
Mozzarella and Tomato
Marinated heart of artichokes
Seedless green grapes
Seedless purple grapes
Chocolatey Nutty Brownies
Raspberry Goosed Tea

My husband didn’t believe I made so much but in the end the only thing left was 1 chicken breast, 1 peach and the seedless purple grapes. Ok, there were 2 brownies left which I gave to Muthafunga for Mom and Joe.

Lrudlrick gets upset when I what is supposed to be a casual day in a hot kitchen but to be honest everything, aside from the chicken was completed within an hour. I love picking foods and most picking foods are easy to make. I just putz around the kitchen sampling the Goosed tea until just about tipsy.

Lrudlrick knows I generally take the reins of food preparation for a get together. Still, although it’s a self imposed delegation, he gets quite upset. However, the moment the meal is on the table or on the blanket in this case, he’s all smiles and he graciously accepts the feast at hand.

I had planned to spend Memorial Day in Central Park by the Harlem Meer for some sightseeing and nature intake but the installation of a new air conditioner in the bedroom led to a late morning start and an early afternoon nap. Still the day was not wasted. Lrudlrick and I had an impromptu picnic dinner for two and watched the sunset over the Hudson River.

As you can tell, this was a much smaller affair:

Baked chicken tenders
Blanched string beans
Mozzarella and tomato
Seedless green grapes
Peanut and raisin mix
Chocolate pudding

We left the dogs at home to enjoy the comforts of the air conditioner and so that we wouldn’t spend the time chasing after them or hearing the cry to be released to chase a squirrel. When the weather gets warm, I love to dine al fresco. Living in the city, it’s hard to find a decent apartment with a patio or deck so we opt for packing our meals and dining in the park.

If I could, I’d probably dine every night outdoors, if the weather complied. There is something to be said about the breeze, the sun and the company dining outdoors brings. There is something about dining outdoors that makes everything company. It feels as if I’m communing with nature. I love to lay out a blanket, kick off my shoes and plop down with a newspaper or just good conversation. Occasional acoustic music from a nearby hippie is also welcome.

At the ashram, meals were served outdoors. Many sat together but others found a spot in the grass and enjoyed the silence and tranquility.

What I haven’t been able to do I wish I had a more of a chance to do is to grill outdoors. No Lrudlrick, I'm not sticking my head out onto the fire escape and cooking over a hibachi. There is something about putting a few burgers on a grill, fresh corn and skewered veggies.

I think I may have found my answer to my grilling urges. I found this on the web. Am I deluding myself or will this satisfy my cavewoman need to burn meat over an open fire? Lrudlrick is keen on trying this sucker but I’m afraid Smokey the Bear might come down and scold me. I’m such a goody two shoes. The best review I could find wasn't comprehensive.

Anyone have an experience with this bad boy? Man, I can smell grilled burgers and sausages just thinking about this bad boy.

Related tags: ,

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why do I set myself up?

I have Magilla Gorilla arms. I’m 5’3” with extremely long arms. I’ve known this all my life. I take after my Maternal Grandmother. Many a times I was reminded by her, “You have Grandpa’s nose and my arms. Be thankful.” I’m not sure what she meant but she’d always feed me so I never questioned her.

My mom doesn’t seem to recognize this. So for years, I’ve graciously thanked her for the numerous sweaters she knits me that don’t actually fit. I make do with quarter length sleeves and try to avoid lifting my arms up.

This past Sunday, in a bold move, which is nothing to what I did today but I’ll get to that in a minute, I told her the truth about her sweaters. In front of my brother and my husband, I told her honestly that the sweaters were lovely but don’t always fit my frame.

Mom: But I followed the directions in the magazine.
pg: I’m sure you did but my body doesn’t fit the measurements. I’m not normal.

I hated doing that but it wasn’t an insult to her knitting skills. It’s just I can only store so many sweaters in my closet. I’d like to at least be able to wear them and not worry about arm pits hanging by my elbow.

So now, I’m obsessing over my arms. I’m actually quite proud of the long arms. I’m like that Muppet alien that can reach the nectarines except I have elbows.

The point is, I’ve been taking chances and speaking my mind. Usually I speak my mind on the non-logical things and keep quiet about the small stuff like arm pit holes and arm lengths.

Lately, I’ve been bolder and bolder. It started with the sweaters and then today, I found myself telling my mom, “Stop being a child.”

Yes, I said it and when I said it, it felt strangely honest. My response was due to the passive aggressive, Joy Luck Club story telling she gave me at 1pm. In the midst of my work, she calls me to tell me to do her dirty work.

I love my mother but she’s a passive aggressive enabler and it does no one good. Passive aggressiveness peeves me. It’s a childish means of dealing with something you don’t like. If you don’t like me, tell me. If you have a problem with me, tell it to my face. Don’t act like a petulant child. I have no time for the games, emotional or mental.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m just as much of an emotional basket case as most females. I can understand the occasional illogical actions of a woman possessed by the devil named Flo. I just feel craziness once a month is ok, craziness 28 days a month not so much. Besides passive aggressiveness is not a symptom of Flo. It’s a symptom of not wanting to be the bad guy. People need to realize, everyone is a bad guy.

The defeatist attitude does not get you anywhere in life and it sure as hell does not strengthen a relationship. So now I’m sitting here waiting for a call I know I’ll never get from my mother. The waiting now begins. The passive aggressive stewing has been set in motion. In 3 months time, I will remark about the sky being blue and she’ll begin her tirade about how I do not respect or treat her like an authority figure.

My friend told me recently, the moment I become a mom is the moment I receive certain gifts. Along with the bouncing bundle of joy, I will receive the gift of motherly guilt trip, motherly stares and motherly glares. Will passive aggressiveness and defeatism come as a bundled package too?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

You can pick your friend's nose but not while making egg rolls

Mother’s Day was a quiet affair. The general consensus is the lines for eateries are too long and the prices too high to spend Mother’s Day at a restaurant. Plus, I really should do my part and shield society from the craziness that is our family.

Since we are on a tight budget, Muthafunga and I spent the day at Mom’s relaxing, playing Wii and making egg rolls. More on the egg rolls in a minute.

Muthafunga and I debated on the which Wii game to give mom. Since it was Mom’s day, Cookin’ Mama seemed like a good choice.

Muthafunga: Are you sure about Cookin’ Mama. It doesn’t look good.
pg: It looked like something mom would like. It doesn't have to be good. Ok, what about Elebits.
Muthafunga: She only has two levels left. What about Wario?
pg: Now that looked stupid.
Muthafunga: Check IGN.

So after checking reviews, we opted for Wario, which I must admit is a stupid game but a fun game to watch. Even Lrudlrick had fun playing it.

There really isn’t a premise just silly games but I guess that’s what made us think Mom would enjoy it.

pg/Muthafunga/Lrudlrick: Come on Mom, play it.
Mom: I like to play by myself in private and take my time with it. Wish there was a game where they showed you how to make steamed buns.
pg: Did you hear that, Mutha?
Muthafunga: Yes.

Honestly, can we win once? Eh. I think when she starts playing Wario, she’ll have a blast. Guess Muthafunga and I know what to get Mom next.

So why did we roll egg rolls? Well, it started out with my mom telling me that Muthafunga commented it had been a while since he had some of her homemade egg rolls. Mom’s egg rolls are simple, a whole lot of marinated pork, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and celery. That’s mom’s recipe and to this day, the smell and taste take me back to being 9 years old. I was an integral part of the old egg roll factory. Mom would roll the egg rolls and I’d line them up on the baking sheet. It was one place my mom liked my obsessive compulsive tendencies. My brother would steal the pork filling while Grandma would fry the suckers up and we’d feast like pigs.

What better way to spend Mom’s day than to relive this childhood memory. Turns out though Muthafunga didn’t say that at all. In fact his words were, “It’s been a while since I’ve had your fried chicken, Mom.”

Back to the egg rolls. The only wrappers our stepdad could find were spring roll wrappers. Now, spring roll wrappers are not suited for the meat stuffed goodies my mom makes but we worked with what we had.

With two pounds of pork, we made 30 egg rolls. Thankfully we only made 30 because spring roll wrappers don’t keep. Back in the 80’s, there used to be these super thick egg roll wrappers that allowed us to roll and freeze egg rolls for future frying. Those bad boys retained all the juiciness of the marinade without puncturing through. Plus because of the heavy skin, the oil didn’t seep in to make a soggy mess no matter how low you left the burner.

Lrudlrick is not a fan of the bamboo shoot so he opted out of the feast but politely took one bite. My mom tries so hard to feed him the next thing you know he was assaulted with beef jerky and oranges. Mr. Finicky was happy to receive a ham and cheese hero sandwich later that evening.

All in all, I had a good time with Mom and Muthafunga. Muthafunga should expect more egg rolls as Mom is on a mission to school.

If anyone finds thick egg roll wrappers, please let me know where. I miss being able to pull a few pre-rolled egg rolls out and making them as an evening snack.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Do Pearls go with a Motorcycle Jacket?

My husband has started his ‘Sakes Alive, I’m getting older!’ early. His fixation this year is not on a car. His fixation this year is getting a motorcycle. I mentioned our tiff before but now he’s expecting me to ask my colleague what she thinks of a brand and model.

I’m not going to be a part of his silly nannies. I may not stop him but I’m not advocating it either. Obviously he doesn’t care, even when I told his cousin, “He’s not buying one this year. We can’t afford it.”

If he wants to buy it, he’s not using my money for it. I’ve got enough problems on my hands with party season in full swing. I don’t need my husband’s “I’m old!” crap to start earlier and earlier as he gets older and older.

For awhile I used to think that Lrudlrick was a reserved man who kept everything to himself except for me. Now, I feel like he’s always kept things to himself and will continue to. Things only come out after he’s brewed over it and by that time, no one can stop the man.

I’m not asking him to be like me, the indecisive, pro-con list nut. I just want to be part of the discussion before the beans have been ground and placed in the percolator.

The more we stay together, the more I realize our compatibility is built on complements but our hardships will also stem from our opposing views/attitudes. I’d be so easy for me to just say, you do your thing and I’ll do mine. It would be harder for me to act but I think I could do it but is that what it’s all about?

I don’t want to be skipping down a lane together but I don’t think separate paths that seldom meet is good either. It’s a balancing thing again. Intermittent is ok. Junctures like the NJ Turnpike exits not ok.

Am I repressing my thoughts on the motorcycle? Am I really too chicken shit to put my foot down and say no? Why should I deprive a person of something he will grow out of? If he gets hurt, would I feel guilty? Is someone steals it, will I smirk inside? Is the guilt of not allowing another move closer to his job a factor?

Personally, we can’t afford it especially if kids are in play (which it probably isn’t).

Maybe he’s pie in the sky and I’m Mrs. Monotony. Arthur Fonzarelli married June Cleaver.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Is it too much to ask to have a decent shower?

Last Friday, I came home to what looked like a waterfall cascading down into my building’s first floor. Obviously, everyone was ordering take out tonight.

With the water shut off, Lrudlrick took to going to the gym to shower prior to my family get together. That was the last time he had a decent shower. This fairs better than me as the last decent shower I had was that morning.

Since then, we have been without hot water. It’s the perfect definition of tepid. To make matters worse, we have not water pressure. I discovered this Saturday when I tried to take a shower in tepid spit. Just as I was about to do my final hair rinse, the water stopped.

Now, showering has become and adventure. How many things can you do before the water shuts off? Can you scrub, wash your hair and shave at the same time? Apparently, I can.

By Sunday, I was plotting out times when I thought we’d have a decent amount of tepid water. Ok, if I schedule the dish washer to start at 3am, we should have enough hot water for a shower at midnight.

By Monday, Lrudlrick and I gave up on timing our showers and resigned ourselves to taking cold showers. Last night was the last straw. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was 12:30am and the thought of another cold shower broke me. I went into a rant about inmates getting hot water and showering in spit. Then I immediately passed out on the couch. Lrudlrick took this opportunity to grab the tepid spit shower before it turned into icicles and came back to find me passed out on the couch with a scowl on my face.

As of today, the super swears the water will be fixed. I sure hope so. I friggin’ sponge bathed this morning. Yes, I gave myself a sponge bath. I boiled water and took several washcloths and had at it.

My dishes are piled high in my sink and I’m rationing out water to my dogs.

If this is what torture is like, I’d never make it as a field op. 4 days without decent water and I’m on the verge of a meltdown.

I’m such a sissy. I couldn’t survive on Survivor. Without my lotion, lip balm, water & feminine products, I’d be a basket case.

Sadly, I know that there are so many people out in the world without these amenities but I still can’t suck it up and not complain about it. All I want is a decent hot shower. I’m not a long shower taker either. I do my thing and am out within 5-10 minutes. I try not to waste water. I shut off my water. I report leaks. I don’t run the washer or dishwasher half empty.

Please Mr. Plumber, please let me have enough hot water for a shower tonight. I’d certainly appreciate it.

Friday, May 04, 2007

"Blue. No! Yellow! Ughhhhhhh!"

Lrudlrick got a motorcycle riding permit. It wasn’t a mutually discussed item. In fact, in our ten years together, it’s essentially the first thing he’s done without speaking to me about. Ok, aside from the asking me to marry him in front of a giant whale and thousands of strangers.

You’d think I’d be miffed. Well, I was but not as much as I thought I’d be. I’ve been indifferent about it. Now, if he came home with a bike, that’s another story.

What irks me the most is that my husband’s excuse was that he knew I’m not keen on the motorcycle riding in the city and felt if he didn’t talk about it, it wouldn’t be a problem. I don’t see the logic in this.

I’m too busy with the nuttiness of my world to really be hurt by this. I suppose for him this is a good thing. I mean, I’m pretty sure my names listed as a beneficiary. Mental note: check insurance policy.

Where I ask his opinion about everything from what shoe to wear to what annuity I should sock into, he only consults with me for ‘big ticket’ items. Heck, at our last shopping excursion, I made him walk across the mall to help me decide if 1 skirt suit, 2 button down shirts and a skirt were too much to pick up in one store.

It’s not that I’m indecisive. Yes, I take a very long time and weigh everything but I can make my own decisions. Why then do I consult him for these silly incidentals?