Monday, October 15, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
When I was a kid, my mom made special efforts to get us all cultured and stuff. We went to any and every play that was put on in the Golden Triangle, and often when we went to Austin we would see something at Southwestern or at St. Edward's. Among the ones that stand out:
My first concert, Billy Ocean at the Beaumont Civic Center. Lots of fainting black ladies. I was saucer-eyed. I think I was 10.
And now, even though I have to remind myself to do it, I like getting out there to see what Houston has going on.
The Wizard of Oz at the Port Arthur Civic Center, where mom says we watched the special effects guy much more than the play.
Some retelling of Hamlet featuring a flatulent Claudius, at some theater in Austin. There were maybe 20 people in the audience, and we were 6 of them, but we walked out during Act I.
Rossini's Otello, presented by Opera in the Heights
So it turns out that Rossini's opera gutted the character of Iago, which is kind of a disappointment. In this case, it made the opera strain even more than operas normally do to make sense. Why does Othello believe Iago? Why is Iago such a meany? Why don't these people just talk things out like normal humans? But plotholes are a feature of opera, not a bug, I guess.
My biggest beef with the production was the director's choice of setting. She decided to "update" the story by setting it among mafiosi in 1985 Venice. I didn't think this added anything to the production, and it certainly had a deletrious effect on the costumer, who interpreted the setting with clothes from 1995 New Jersey. [Most distracting to me were Desdemona's d'Orsay pumps. How can you stomp around onstage for 3 hours in d'Orsays?] Lackluster sets, always a problem at Lambert Hall, did nothing to redeem the setting or the costumes.
In spite of this, I have to tell you that Opera in the Heights is almost a miracle. The singing is absolutely first rate, especially Elmiro, sung by bass-baritone Joseph Rawley; he was enthralling. I was also amazed at what they were able to pull off in such a tiny space. The 27-piece orchestra was crammed, cheek-by-jowl, at the side of the stage, and in order to get to the bathroom you had to walk between the harp and the piano. But all of the musicians played beautifully.
To be honest, I didn't even think I liked opera--I went along with someone out of a sense of obligation, and when I saw that the piece would run 3 full hours, I nearly bailed. But I enjoyed it immensely, and I will absolutely go back for Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, opening in November.
David Mamet's November, presented by the Alley Theatre (sic)
David Mamet is known for being hilarious and profane. I heartily endorse this, of course. November is about a lame-duck US President on the eve of an election, trying to hustle money for himself and his campaign. There are only five members of the cast, and the Alley produced the play in the round, on the Neuhaus Stage. The dialogue was very funny. Some bits were groaners, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. One peeve: the audience felt like they had to titter every time an actor dropped an f-bomb. Grow up, people. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.
I'm skipping Death of a Salesman at the Alley, mostly because it's such a bummer, and the hoary old Christmas Carol they do every year. I've also seen Santaland Diaries (and it wasn't half as fun as rereading the book), so the next thing I'll see at the Alley will be Clybourne Park.
Agatha Christie's Black Coffee, presented by the Alley Theatre (sic)
I saw this one in August. I thought that production was a little sloppy, and it definitely wasn't peak-form Agatha Christie, but it's always fun to see something in the Summer Chills series. And truthfully, the theater was glacial that night.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I've been reading The Pat Conroy Cookbook, and let me tell you it is a great read. But at a later time; first: my story.
I was home (in BC) for Mother's Day. I was walking to my parents' house from my in-laws' house when I saw a woman wandering around the yard in a conical straw hat and a surgical mask. She was asking if anyone wanted to buy shrimp--her husband had been out on the boat that morning, and she had a pickup bed full of ice chests. I had to weigh my sister Peetie's warnings about botulism against $5.50/lb.
So I drove home with two adults, two kids, a yellow lab, 20 pounds of shrimp on ice and three buckets of iris bulbs from my mom packed into the Ford Escape. Man, I love my car.
The good news is that I haven't died yet--so far it seems that the shrimp are fine. And last weekend I finally got to make pickled shrimp.
Pickled shrimp are evidently a Low Country thing, but they need to be an everywhere-people-sell-shrimp-out-of-their-pickups thing, because they are delicious. I made took them to the swim meet on Saturday, which you might optimistically call a picnic but is actually more like sitting in a damn sauna for six hours. So yeah, serve chilled, with Lay's potato chips, frozen grapes and iced tea.
Adapted from The Pat Conroy Cookbook by Pat Conroy and Suzanne Williamson Pollak
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 bay leaves, crushed
One 2 oz. bottle capers, drained and coarsely chopped [Go ahead and add in the juice, too.]
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice [I put the spent lemon halves in the jar with the rest of the mix.]
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic [I interpreted this as "one clove garlic, peeled and smashed."]
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds large (21-25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Mix all ingredients except the shrimp in a large heatproof glass or ceramic bowl.
In a stockpot over high heat, bring 4 quarts abundantly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink, about 2 minutes. (The shrimp will continue to "cook" in the marinade). [For real, 2 minutes is all it takes.] Drain and immediately toss in the marinade.
Bring to room temperature, cover tightly, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I'm going to have to unfollow some people today.
1. A picture of a cup of tea sitting on a bare, painted table--why did you even pin that? It's just a stupid cup of tea. Yes, you're so very pure of heart and unmaterialistic. SIMPLIFY, as your innumerable wall hangings say.
2. Equal and opposite: freeze-ahead Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole sounds hella-gross.
3. Who the fuck buys dryer sheets*? And why would I want to know any "other" uses for them? *If it's you: stop it immediately.
4. Thanks for sharing your "Inspiration" board full of celebrity misquotes, but I evidently know more about men, love and life than you will ever learn.
I'm sure there are more. What are your Pinterest pet peeves?
Follow me, if you like.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
I have this nail polish on my toes right now. It's making me so happy to look at it, I even went totally crazy and did my fingernails, too.
|Not my hand. Via.|
"Rebecca continues to struggle with appropriate school behavior. She has a discipline referral form in her backpack today. She was sent to the office for yelling in the hallways during STAAR testing. While in the office, she attempted to hit another student to “get some payback for [her] brother.” She then ran out of the office without permission when a parent opened the door and she thought she wasn’t being watched."
Friday, March 23, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
This is probably the first thing I've cooked in six months that I could get excited about. This morning I had about five minutes to get something in the crockpot before the entire day went off the rails, so I put a couple of pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in with an envelope of Wick Fowler's Taco Seasoning and a can of beer. Some time later we had chicken chalupas for Taco Night. I am a HERO.
In case you can't make sense of the photo: a chalupa shell, refried beans [Are you the person who keeps demanding that stores sell fat-free refried beans? Because if you are, I'm not sure we can be friends.], chicken, tomatoes, green onions, the cheese that Emmet didn't immediately filch from the plate, plain Greek yogurt (if you're not the dumbass who accidentally bought yogurt with honey, because that really wouldn't work),
and this Valentina hot sauce, which is awesome.
Serve on your finest Dixie plate with a beer, a Dark & Stormy, or you know what? fuck it: rum.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
The PTA had a Valentine Dance fundraiser on Friday night. Emmet's "date" was another fifth grader, Sarah. She was on the t-ball team I coached years ago. She's also a member of the junior geological society. But here's the killer: she was so excited when she told me that she was wearing the lip gloss and the perfume she got for Christmas. OMG HOW CUTE IS SHE?!
Speaking of cute...Becca went solo, but she looked adorable, and I think she had fun. At dinner, after the dance, she showed us her new moves--the Chicken Dance and the Electric Slide.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Because I can't make fun of these people on Facebook...
I'll be glad when this rash is completely gone.
A Communist, a Muslim, and an Illegal Immigrant walk into a bar.
The Bartender says.....
"What are you drinking, Mr. President?"
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I tried this new nail stuff: NutraNail Gel Perfect UV-Free Gel-Color. I honestly think it's superglue. At least, that's what it smelled like. And the results?
Unfortunately, immediately after I washed my hair two days later, all the polish started chipping off. It was obvious that water got underneath the polish. Also, in spite of already being perhaps 50% chipped off, it was still a bit of work to get the rest of it off.
Pros: at $12, it's cheaper than a Shellac manicure
Cons: at $12, it's still a waste of money.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Finally had a second Soup Swap on Sunday. The last one was a couple of years ago. I thought there was some demand for a second one, but the turnout was kind of disappointing. HOWEVAH, here is the email I sent to everyone with recipes--thought you might be interested:
Hi everyone! Thanks to all of you who came to the soup swap. I had a great time, and I can't wait to try your soups.
We talked at the party about having other kinds of swaps--casserole, desserts, etc. Later last night I had an idea: since it's hard for everyone to get together, maybe we could share a monthly email with everyone's favorite new recipe in it. So let's say on February 20th or so, I would send an email to all of you requesting recipes. You would then respond directly to me with your new favorite recipe--send me a link to the recipe, or send the text of the recipe. [Just don't "reply all"--we would quickly be drowning in email.] On the first of the month, I can send the compilation of recipes to everyone subscribed.
The recipes could be for anything--a new drink, snack, casserole, soup, entree, vegetable--whatever you got especially excited about in the previous month. Anything that was so good it made you want to shout from the rooftops and tell everyone how awesome it was. It could also be a family favorite for an upcoming holiday; for example, at the end of February you could send your favorite St. Patrick's Day recipe, or something like that.
Anyway, think about that idea and whether or not you'd want to be on the email list. In the meantime, as promised, the recipes we collected yesterday are listed below.
See you soon,
Simply Recipes' Chipotle Pumpkin Soup (from Annie
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (from Annie)
The Homesick Texan's Red Posole (from Letitia)
Pam Anderson's Creamy Chili-Corn Soup with Chicken and Black Beans (from Terri)
Cook's Illustrated Artichoke Soup a la Barigoule (aka Artichoke Fancy Soup) (from Jamie)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 (9-ounce) boxes frozen artichokes, thawed and patted dry
• 12 ounces white mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and sliced thin
• 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4 inch thick, and rinsed thoroughly
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
• 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 3 cups vegetable broth
• 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/3 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or basil leaves
• Salt and ground black pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Lightly brown the artichokes, 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, cover, and cook until they have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until the mushrooms are dry and browned, about 5 minutes longer.
- Stir in the leek and butter and cook until the leek is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, anchovies, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.
- Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and vegetable broth, smoothing out any lumps. Stir in the parsnips, bay leaves, and half of the browned artichokes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook until the parsnips are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Off the heat, remove the bay leaves. Stir in the remaining browned artichokes, cream, and tarragon, and let stand off the heat until the artichokes are heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Serves 6.
- 1 pound Russet baking potatoes (if your potatoes weigh more than a pound, use itI)
- 1/2 C chopped white onion
- 1/4 C finely diced celery
- 3 TBSP butter (sometimes I use less butter and supplement with olive oil)
- 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp dried dill (fresh dill is better if you have it. Note: you'll use more fresh than dried. yummy alternative: fresh chives. I just always use dill)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 1/4 C milk
- 3/4 C chicken stock
- 1 1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
- Bacon (crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled) for garnish
- Sliced green onion for garnish
chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
andouille sausage, sliced
3 big handsful of flour (enough to cover bottom of pan 1” thick)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1. Brown the regular onions and remove them to another plate. In the same pan, brown sausage, then remove to a second plate. Brown chicken in same pan and remove it to plate with sausage.
2. Using pan drippings and additional vegetable oil as necessary, use flour to make roux. Brown roux, stirring constantly, until it's the color of a Hershey bar.
3. In the meantime, make the stock using chicken broth or water, plus bay leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne and Louisiana Hot Sauce (or Tabasco) and the browned chicken. Bring all of that to a boil, then add green peppers, onions, celery, and garlic.
4. Just before the roux is ready, remove all chicken from broth. Add the roux into boiling chicken broth and let that go until it's sufficiently thick and dark. Pick the chicken from the bones and return it to the broth; then add the sausage. Remove the gumbo from heat and add chopped green onions.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
I'm shamelessly copying this from my friend Terri at A Girl in the South. SOPA is bad, m'kay? However, I'm not going on strike, because ... who suffers from that besides me? It seems to me that we would only be striking against ourselves, which is kinda nuts. Also, I don't know if I can get through a day without the Internet.
Because Censorship Is Never Okay
No recipes for Wednesday.
In solidarity and protest against SOPA and PIPA, A Girl in the South is joining the big wigs of the internets like Reddit, Wikipedia, Boing Boing and hundreds (if not thousands) of other sites and blogs by going on strike tomorrow, January 18th from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) could have a devastating effect on numerous websites, even little ones like ourselves. We are taking a stand against Censorship and urging everyone to educate themselves on this bill and contact your representatives if you agree that SOPA is a really bad fucking idea.
Why is it so bad? (Excerpt taken from here)
The broad definitions in the bill create tremendous uncertainty for nearly every site online. This sounds like hyperbole, but it is not. Defenders of the bill like to claim that it is “narrowly focused” on foreign rogue infringing sites. Nothing could be further from the truth. While PIPA targets only foreign sites, the mechanism by which it does so is to put tremendous compliance and liability on third party service providers in the US. SOPA goes even further in expanding the private right of action to domestic sites as well. We’ve already seen how such laws can be abused by looking at how frequently false takedown claims are made under the existing DMCA. Of course, under the DMCA, just the content is blocked. Under SOPA all money to a site can be cut off. Under PIPA sites will just end up in court. Or, with both laws, an Attorney General can take action leading US companies to have to effectively act as network nannies trying to keep infringement from being accessible. None of this is good for anyone building a startup company these days. The massive uncertainty around this, combined with the need for a huge legal department sitting in “the garage” as a startup begins, will certainly slow down the pace of innovation in the US, while likely driving it elsewhere.While it’s true that our President has said he will not allow the SOPA bill to pass (but PIPA is still alive and kicking), it’s important that our government realize that we will not tolerate their efforts to take away our freedom of speech. Copyright infringement is a shitty thing, without a doubt, but these two bills are the absolutely dead wrong way to handle this.
List of sites joining the strike - here
Joining in the blackout? Register here We encourage anyone who wishes to participate to join in the blackout.
Find more information about SOPA here, here and here. Oh, and even though this is Cracked.com and not meant to be taken seriously, here is a very funny and alarmingly true possibility with PIPA/SOPA.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
And now, a personal list:
Favorite New Book: Bossypants
Favorite New-to-Me Book: the Canal House Cooking series
Biggest Disappointment: Cooking 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold
Favorite Current Show: Community
Favorite New-to-me Show: Party Down
Biggest Disappointment: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It was never highbrow, but it's gotten so disgusting I can't even watch it anymore. Runner-up: The Norm McDonald Show.
Favorite New Movie: I Am Love, though admittedly it's mostly for the sets and the clothes.
Biggest Disappointment: TIE! Bridesmaids--I probably shouldn't have built it up so much in my mind beforehand. The scene in the wedding dress shop was unwatchable, and the rest was pretty uneven. Midnight in Paris--Straight out of the disappointing Woody Allen cannon of misogyny and white people problems. You have to keep reminding yourself of the good times...
Favorite New Documentary: Bill Cunningham New York. [Was this the only new documentary I saw? I mean, it was fine, but not really thrilling.]
Favorite New-to-Me Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Biggest Disappointment: Art 21. Big snoozer.
Favorite New-to-Me Record: Jeff Weiss' Passion of the Weiss: Candy Cane Children mix of White Stripes B-sides, live performances and other "rarities."
Favorite New-to-Me Drink: Torrontes wine (from Argentina)
Favorite New-to-Me Food: The Fine Cheese Co.'s Charcoal Crackers
Favorite New-to-Me Beauty Thing: Maybelline Define-a-Brow pencil in Dark Blonde.
Biggest Disappointment: Avene Retrinal .05 joined a long line of products that have failed to change my life.
Favorite New-to-Me Shoes: I tried Birkenstocks this year and haven't looked back.
Favorite Like-New Magazine: Martha Stewart Living with Pilar Guzman as editor.
Favorite New Website: Pinterest
Favorite New-to-Me Website: The Last Psychiatrist. I don't always agree with him, but his posts on mental hygiene, in particular, are absolutely fascinating.
Biggest Disappointment: Google+. A huge waste of time that broke up my sharefam on Google Reader. G+ will be dead within a year, but things will never go back to the way they were; an object lesson in leaving well enough alone.
Favorite New-to-Me Parenting Thing, Part I: Listening to Disney Radio. I am alarmed and ashamed at how much I enjoy this. The music is garbage, but I love watching the kids get excited about it, and watching them dance.
Favorite New-to-Me Parenting Thing, Part II: Ms. Twixt: Positive Experiences for Tween Girls has me actually looking forward to the next few years instead of dreading them
Biggest Disappointment: Family Therapy. Not moving the ball forward.
Favorite New Kid Movie: The Muppets, obvs. If I asked my kids they might vote for Chipwrecked (which I, mercifully, did not see); then I would have to disown them.
Favorite New-to-Us Kid Thing: The Muppet Christmas Carol-- I guess I watched it 100 years ago, but I was surprised at how good it was when we watched it last month (six or eight times).
Biggest Disappointment: I'm putting The Secret of the Kells here because while I loved it, it scared the shit out of Emmet; he barely watched any of it and he still had nightmares about it.
Friday, January 6, 2012
I think the entire month of January should be given over to end-of-year lists from December. I never have time to enjoy all of those during Christmas. [Also, in case I haven't mentioned it lately, it's a PET PEEVE that people take down Christmas on New Year's Day, or worse, December 26. The last day of Christmas is Epiphany, which is today. So what I'm saying is, slow down people. You're missing some of the good stuff.]
Some I've been enjoying:
Washington Post's In/Out List for 2012--Couldn't care less about Ryan Gosling, but white whiskey came up three times in one week of conversations; also I love Elizabeth Warren, but I'll need a place to hide through the wide-leg pants resurgence. And holy hell am I glad to know about Gary Clark, Jr.
The AV Club's Best Non-2011 Pop Culture We Discovered This Year--But have I ever mentioned that another PET PEEVE is the phrase pop culture? I absolutely loathe those words together.
Read It Later's 'Most-Read' Authors List
Roger Ebert's Best Films of 2011-- I usually agree with Roger Ebert, but the only film on the list that I saw (Midnight in Paris) was a piece of shit.
Roger Ebert's Best Documentaries of 2012-- I've only seen one of these, but I think he's on a much better track here.
Time magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2011--Click bait of the lowest sort, but I was glad I looked through it because there were a few I hadn't heard of, and Lord knows I hate being scooped by f'ing Time.