Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chelsea Lately Panders

So I sit here watching an episode of Chelsea Lately. I have started to enjoy her show and her usual skewering of pop culture and pop culture icons. The format of her show involves her and a panel of 3 rotating comedians, followed occasionally by some sort of scripted silly vignet and crowned by an interview with a (usually) b-grade actor/actress/reality star.

Now Chelsea's show might be pretty ridiculous, but she trashes the stupid (paris hilton) laughs at the silly (Carrot Top) and trashes the right-wingers, anti-semites and anti-gays on a regular basis. And she is hilarious, even when not tearing anyone apart.

So I was a little surprised to see that tonight her guest was Joe Francis, the 34 (maybe now 35) year old founder of "Girls Gone Wild" and a many-time over millionaire. And what did Chelsea do? Kiss his ass. This guy is a scum bag. He can do what he wants, which consist primarily of making millions of dollars off of prerying on drunk girls who are barely old enough to vote. And little he does is illegal, although he just spent 11 months in jail. Unfortunately only upscale, white collar jail and not in prison where he would have been the one being video taped while partaking in acts he wished he could forget.

I am a firm believer in free will. And women are able to make the choice to bare whatever they have to show and do with it what they will. But "Girls Gone Wild" is absolutely, f***ing pathetic (forgive me, but I've never professed this to be a family blog)

He may be legal in his actions, and free will may dictate that he can do what he wants, but that doesn't negate his being a bad person. Would you be friends with this guy? Seriously, could you sit down to a meal with him?

He is intersted in finding a nice girl and starting a family. That would make a daughter proud.

And now, I'm watching "The Girls Next Door " doesn't bother me half as much for some reason. I'm seeing women who may not be the brightest, but who are sober.

However, all of it makes me occasionally want to pull an Elvis on the tv.


Just a little plug here for one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Gloria's Cafe.

If you're looking for cheaply priced, hearty and authentic Colombian food, you need to check it out. Being around the corner from us doesn't hurt either!

J and I have been enamoured since we first went. It's BYOB and no-frills. The staff is incredibly friendly and the food is great.

J is a little more adventurous than I am. He's had a few dishes, including, most recently the whole tilapia which is served head and all. Delicious!

I on the other hand, eat the same thing every time, the bandejo paisa "Country Plate". It is giant and delicious. Rice, beans, a piece of steak, a strip of pork belly, an arepa, a fried egg and a slice of avocado. It's like a sampler of all the things I love. It definitely is not a meal for the faint of heart. Nor is it a meal meant to be eaten in one sitting, unless you have a hard day of manual labor ahead of you.

Anthony Bourdain did a great show on the country awhile back. The best part was when he went out for breakfast and was served, surprise, surprise, my "Country Plate". It truly was identical to the one they serve at Gloria's.
So if you're in the neighborhood, give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


As an aside to my last post, honestly, how many times/week do I need to refuse plastic bags.?

Almost every time I enter a store I feel completely on edge at the check out. Trying to juggle my purse, bags, coat, scarf and gloves while simultaneously trying to prevent the check out person from mindlessly tossing my purchases, no matter how small, into large plastic bags.

Certainly in this season of consumption, I may be finding myself in the midst of this more frequently than usual. Even in Macy's I'm yelling across the counter like a lunatic. I was there on Tuesday, picking up a last minute gift, and indulging in a pair of earrings (on super sale) for myself. At both counters the women looked at me like I was crazy as I stuffed the small boxes into the large bag I always carry as a purse. "I don't need a bag. Thank you. No really, I can fit it in here". Must I explain myself? My card cleared, the receipt has printed**, just give me my purchase!

Seriously, has no one heard that it is absolutely, unequivocally, completely uncool, outdated, irresponsible, not to mention almost always unnecessary to use plastic bags?

The movement does require forethought. You need to remember to bring your bags to the grocery store. J and I first made the serious committment to this when we were in France. There, at the grocery stores, you either brought your bags with or purchased reusable bags. There were no plastic options. These big bags with brightly colored produce on all sides were so great we brought them home and use them still today. And i will admit, it took awhile. How many times we would leave the house to go to the grocery store, only to pull in the parking lot and realize we had forgotten the bags. But eventually, with repeated efforts, it became routine.

It is a revolution in the way we think about our lives. There is not just a "slow food" movement, but a "slowed life" movement. A movement of being more conscious and thoughtful about all of your tasks. After the fast pace, greed and uber capitalism of our society in recent years, people are frazzled, tired and realizing that pace of life does not make you a better person. Being "busy" does not truly mean "important". And being oblivious to the world around you and your impact on it is pathetic.

Granted, I am no puritan within the green movement. I still indulge in Diet Pepsi in plastic bottles and am struggling with how to get recycling done in a Chicago neighborhood that doesn't offer Blue Cart programs and in a condo not large enough to hold onto large amounts of recycling to make the trip to one of the public park district recycling bins worthwhile. I'm taking my actions in baby steps. But I have goals. And hope.

**Walgreens is one of the biggest offenders of this. I can't buy a pack of gum without having to refuse (sometimes loudly) a big plastic bag. Their second offense, the foot long receipt that is printed out with every purchase, no matter how small. Cut back dammit! That means you too Borders! I don't need 3 receipts to buy a book!

Christmas Wrapping

So I have read multiple stats recently which point toward the fact that, by some measures, close to 25% of all of the nation's paper waste is generated between Thanksgiving and New Years. Christmas wrapping anyone?

In years past J and I have stocked up during the post-Xmas sales on cheap as hell wrapping paper. But, over the last year I have also started saving everything I can, tissue paper and gift bags especially. At this point we have almost zero plastic bags enter the house, although a random one here or there finds its way in.

So as my husband is asleep and I am savoring a last few sips of wine and finishing wrapping his presents and the presents for my family which we'll open tomorrow, I've been digging though the "wrapping bin" for saved ribbons, papers, bags etc.

Some of it doesn't look the prettiest, but it's what inside that counts, right? And honestly, it could be alot worse.

However, I was at a friend's house within the last couple of weeks who had spent good money on beautiful new wrapping paper. And I will admit, I was jealous at the piles of perfectly matched, beautifully wrapped presents. Some people's lives have more of a tendency to look like a magazine than my own. But maybe I'm just looking at the wrong magazines. I don't anticipate buying wrapping paper for a long time to come.

Baby steps.


Yes, Beyonce is a very weird title for a blog post of mine. I don't know anything about her, I don't listen to her music, I've never seen her in a movie.

But, tonight, I saw her on an Oprah rerun (long story, family gone, cleaned up as much as possible, having a couple of glasses of wine and relaxing in front of the tv). She had a quote I liked as Oprah was relentlessly pushing her, trying to get details on her wedding which she obviously did not want to share, and questioning her on whether she enjoyed being someone's "wife". Her only words of advice were:

"Make sure you have a life before you make yourself a wife"

Good advice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Open House

I really enjoy throwing parties. Sometimes, I think I enjoy having parties more than going to other people's parties. I love the prep work that goes into it, whether it be a small BBQ or the 45 person Holiday Open house we had this weekend, complete with homemade appetizers and a big, glorious ham! We used this recipe for a country ham and apple slaw sandwich with bourbon mustard for inspiration and laid out the spiral ham with mini rolls, the slaw and mustard so everyone could make their own mini sandwiches.

My "fake family" has been having a Tree Trimming Party since before I can remember. We would all get together, go to my aunt and uncle's, eat appetizers, trim the tree and then go to China Town for dinner. As the kids all got older and the size of the group started growing we stopped going to China Town and just had a party. I used this party as the inspiration for my own. I love the idea of getting to see all of your friends right before the holidays and wishing them a "Merry Christmas" in person before we all go off to our respective families.

I think everyone had a great time. Kids running around, wine flowing, crostini, dips, the ever addictive rosemary roasted cashews and the aforementioned ham made for quite a night! Only 1 broken glass and 1 pair of children's shoes left behind.

In the spirit of giving we also collected coats, hats, gloves and scarves to donate to the Night Ministry, an organization that provides services to homeless adults and teens in the city. Given the fact that it was below zero this weekend, the cause seemed appropo. And people brought piles of clothing! I'm really overwhelmed. Now we just need to get all of it dropped off so hopefully it can be distributed before Christmas.

I will post some photos as soon as I get some!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blago on my Blogo

Overheard in my office Wednesday, in reference to our governer (although maybe not for long) Rod Blagojevich:

"Talk about losing your job right before Christmas!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Punica Granatum

I hate winter. I hate it with a passion. Being cold is one of the worst sensations to me in the world. I also don't really like fruit. I just don't eat it. I will go through a week here or there where I will have the random granny smith apple or two, but in general, I am more of a vegetable girl.

However, with winter does come a bounty of beautiful, juicy, tart and crazy citrus fruits, my favorite of which is the pomegranate.

Now, I did not just jump on the pomegranate bandwagon with the advent of the inclusion of the pomegranate in the "superfood" category or the proliferation of pomegranate flavored beverages in the natural foods juice section of the grocery store.

I have eaten pomegranates since I was a child. Every winter I have cleaned up the fine mist of red juice which decorates my kitchen after delving into the glorious fruit to free its lvoely arils, no matter how carefully and how well I have honed my practice of opening the forbidden fruit over the years.

A forbidden and mythical fruit, just ask Persephone.