29 January 2010

"Pro-Life" Is A Lie

Today Scott Roeder was convicted of 1st degree murder in the killing of Dr. Tiller in Wichita, Kansas.

Last May Mr. Roeder went to the church of Dr. Tiller, found him inside, pressed the gun to his forehead, and killed him.  He pointed the gun at two other churchgoers as he tried to get away, for which he was convicted of aggravated assault.

His defense focused centered around Mr. Roeder's belief that Dr. Tiller was murdering children; that is, the doctor was was an abortion doctor, including legal late term abortions, and that Mr. Roeder felt he was saving lives by murdering Dr. Tiller.

I find it preposterous and sad that this would even be presented as a legal defense.  This is a man who planned for years on killing another human being.  This is murder, regardless of that other human's actions.  

This jury seemed to agree.  They took 37 minutes to come back with a guilty verdict, which is just a little longer than it took a jury in this same courtroom last March  to acquit Dr. Tiller of 19 misdemeanor violations of Kansas's abortion law.

I don't usually write about things too far outside of my personal life, but I am compelled by this sense I have that we are becoming more and more disengaged with the importance of abortion as a right.  It was not always legal, and it could not be legal again.  I bet you know at least one person who has had at least one abortion, and I bet that they did not treat it as a frivolity.  We have to stay aware of the attacks on it's legality, and attacks on the individuals that risk their safety to provide us the equality that access to safe and legal abortion allows us.

28 January 2010

Attachment Revised

Today Laundry Girl put up a fantastic post...

" 'Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.' - JD Salinger
When you tell someone something personal about yourself, you have essentially given a part of yourself to that person. That's called attachment. In the most basic sense. It's just that simple. So, if you don't want to be attached to someone, keep your goddamn mouth shut. And no touching.
But, if you ask me, that all sounds very boring. I'm going to tell you things. I might even touch you. And if I do, I will most definitely get attached. And, consequently, I will miss you if either one of us decides to leave. Deal with it. I can."

I will probably tell you lots of things, and some of them you won't want to know.  I am an over-sharer.  I also really like touching, and I'll want you to touch me too.  But if you want to touch me today, and then don't tomorrow, be an adult and tell me.  Don't show a lack of respect by running away and therefore taking from me the the opportunity to deal with it and still respect you.  That's basically all I ask.

I've been attached to more people than is probably healthy for my young age, and I couldn't feel better about it.  I would change very very few things about my love (or sex) life as I've lived it, and I don't plan on starting to keep my "goddamn mouth [or legs for that matter]" shut now.  

So with all due respect to Mr. Salinger, may he rest in peace, I am going to keep taking my chances on missing you one day.

21 January 2010

What Does Bottom Look Like?

Does it look like being drunk in more than one bar with less than 3 other people in each of them in one night?  (I'm not counting the dog.)

Does it look like texting your ex (from memory since you'd deleted his number more times than you can count) and then proceeding to text him meaner and meaner things until you find yourself having to text an apology the next day?  (Even though you had erased all evidence, other than a snapshot of some of the really nice things he was texting back to you.)

Does it look like texting your current very complicated crush at 3am his time that you 'need to talk'?

Does it look like seriously considering making out with a man whose girlfriend you had met not but one hour earlier, because he told his friend he thought your were hot?

Does it look like scolding the friend, who also is your friends boyfriend, for trying to hook you up with him, when in fact it was you who told him to do it?

Does it look like accepting a trip back to the bar to drive by to see if the attractive man that was sitting there when I left to chase taken tail was still sitting there?

Does it look like discovering about forty fuzzy photos on your phone of you trying to get a cute picture holding the puppy, and having no recollection of it?

Or maybe, does it look like all these things combined?

Just wondering.

19 January 2010


"My love life is like a minor car wreck...  A little messy a little interesting a sprinkle of exciting but mostly just destructive and costly."

- Me to Jamie via text when asked about the prospect of me getting hitched.

13 January 2010

Pizza, Brooklyn, and Jameson Oh My! (or Goodbye NY: My East Coast excursion comes to a close, NY Winter Adventure pt. 6)

Wednesday was my last day in the hood, and rather than push it just to make sure we fit in a museum while I was there, we relaxed and walked a lot and talked a lot and made it one helluva last day.

We had pizza, which Megan was insistent on (after our food tour and not doing pizza OR hot dogs she still felt she hadn't fulfilled her New York hosting duties).  It was good.  I shamefully could not finish my piece.  I knew we were going to a pot luck within a few hours and I didn't want to shame myself again in front of more than Megan by not eating there.

We went to visit an adorable new deli and specialty shop that we sell some oil and vinegar to, to check it out, meet the chefs, and buy some goodies for the aforementioned pot luck.  Torrisi Italian Specialties is warm, inviting, adorable, and has salami in the window.  If you find yourself with access to Mulberry and Prince in Nolita you must go, and eat something.  Anything.  It's delicious.

After a hit of shopping in Soho we hit the subway and landed in Brooklyn.  We had a couple beers with Kryn, who grew up across the park from us in Madison and I hadn't seen in too many years, and then headed to Tommy, Hannah, and Jen's for what would be one unexpectedly boozy pot luck welcoming Fuzzy back for a visit.

(A little background - Tommy's been one of my best friends since we met in the dorms the first week our freshman year in college.  He's a master of friend mashing - as in, so many people have met because/through him we could start a cult.  How many people I have specifically because of him is a blog for another time, but I will say that good people tend to attract good people, this rule applies to Tommy, and Tommy's one of the best.)

It was a fantastic night.  There was a scrumptious spread of a ton of cheese, some Torrisi goodies, taco dip, polenta somethings, wine, and lots oh lots of Jameson which we started enjoying with Hannah's hot toddy concoction, and then went on the rocks after we ran out.  Needless to say the night got progressively more fuzzy, but some of the topics we covered:
Jersey Shore
Blogs before blogging was the thing
Frat boys
Freshman slutties
Jersey Shore
Man stank v. stank
Man stank in contrast to weed smell
Titanic (the movie not the boat)
Jersey Shore
Madison High School Girls Swimming 1992-2007
Reese Witherspoon's high level of bitchiness

Scary baby dancing:

Still life of whiskey and Tommy's face:

Middle School Dancing!

Megan and I got home late and got very little sleep before we got up to get me to the airport in the morning.  I was exhausted for days, but it was beyond worth it.  The trip was fabulous.  I would not have changed a thing, other than to have more time.  I can't wait to go back.

12 January 2010

Champagne Cart, Maria, and Maybe the 3rd bottle IS a Mistake... (or NY Winter Adventure pt. 5)

We knew our Tuesday lunch was going to be a doozy but I don't think we knew knew...

We had wanted to do a splurge meal, and since Colleen said that when she was in town last spring the best meal she had was at Eleven Madison Park, we decided a lunch there would be a good treat.  The lunch menu is actually pretty reasonable priced (especially considering the real estate, as Megan pointed out in a whisper about a half dozen times) so with Christmas money in hand we were ready to be dazzled.

Within three minutes of entering the restaurant four people had already attended to us, and that was a pretty good indicator of what we were in for.  I fell a little bit in love with the place as soon as our waiter asked if he should bring over the champagne cart.  (Champagne cart?!  A cart that exists for the sole purpose of getting a selection of cold champagne closer to me?!  Ummm Yes.)  He should.  He did.  We toasted.  Then we ate, and drank, and repeated.  There was an amuse-bouche followed by three courses each of intricate, beautiful, technically perfect and most importantly delicious food.  The highlights:a veloute (that means velvet I learned!) of butternut squash being poured around a plate already in front of me; Megan's face when the waiter showed her what to do with the bowl of bone marrow covered in some sort of light creamy stuff served with her beef tenderloin; our waiter bringing us a dish of macaroons with our coffee and promised it wouldn't be at all filling but wanted us to have something sweet to finish even though we hadn't ordered dessert (way too full).

So what is so special about it?  It is not just the food, or the wine, or the dessert, or the environment.  I think in this situation the whole was much greater than the sum of its parts.  We easily could have been attended on less than we were, but they went above and beyond with everything they did.  I guess this is standard for four-star dining, but it was new to us.  What I was probably most impressed with (aside from the food and the wine list. which was so beautiful and extensive that I wanted to take it with me and read it like a novel) was how good-humored everyone was as they went about their jobs.  From the sommelier to the man refilling our water to the chef to the woman who took our coats - everyone not only seemed happy to do what they were doing, but to do it for us.  Seamlessly.

Ideally after this lunch we would have had a bed or a couch in a quiet dark place to lie down on for a few hours, but we had planned on staying out through West Side Story that was a gift from our parents for that night so we bundled up and off we went.

We tried to do some shopping but other than finally finding the boots I had been searching for, we probably had the most fun when we finally decided we could quit and stood in front of the store windows with a view of Union Square taking pictures of each others reflection for twenty minutes.

We headed uptown to Times Square to take some jump shots and then get cozy with the tourists at Junior's waiting to go to the 7:00 shows.  Still being full from lunch we ordered drinks to tide us over and I enjoyed the best martini I've had in months.  This was also the location of that days reality check from Megan:  When I commented on how many good looking men I'd seen at every establishment we'd been to that week and that I felt like I was in a candy store she reminded me that there was such a disproportionate number of them because most of them were probably trying to be in the entertainment business.  Entertainers that make a damn good martini anyway.

West Side Story was wonderful because we grew up watching nothing but musicals on TV and have probably seen the movie two dozen times.  (I was shocked and disturbed when I found out Natalie Wood wasn't Latina.  Not so much that they would have a white actress play that role but more because it ruined the fantasy for me.)  It was also a good contrast to Fela from a couple nights before, WSS being very much the standard song and dance number you expect from Broadway.  This version does have a lot of Spanish mixed in which I think made the story, which I realize now is pretty over-the-top, that much easier to get carried away by.

After the show we skipped outta there to head north to meet my Binty, who met us at our subway stop to come have lots of wine and a sleepover.  She's been one of my besties since I met her in health class freshman year in high school, and the three of us definitely solved some of the worlds problems by the end of our second bottle of wine that night.

Coming up the next day was treats in Soho and fun in Brooklyn - a pretty darn good way to spend my last day in New York.

08 January 2010

Manicures, Music, and Mangia Mangia! (or NY Winter Adventure pt. 4)

Monday was another late start, although we did manage to get out of bed before noon.  First thing we had to take care of was getting our nails done, as a manicure only lasts about two hours in my normal life I was determined to have one for at least part of my vacation.  (And the toes are important too, I don't care if nobody is going to see them.)

We then visited some Columbia buildings to soak in some of that Ivy.  Kidding; Megan had to get a replacement for her missing student ID, but I did get to see some of the inner part of campus.  It's interesting, being buildings of higher education again.  It reminds me that I really don't miss being a student, more than six years later.

We headed a couple stops south on the 1 to go to buy some pretty undergarments for ourselves.  I think a lot of people... well, a lot of men would be really surprised by all the technicality and pulling and pushing and stretching and tucking that goes into fitting a brassiere properly.  It was the first time I'd had anybody be so thorough, and I can't imagine going back to the children that they've begun hiring other lingerie stores.  (I'm good with teens having jobs, but I don't want somebody that's been alive for less time than I've been having my period to tell me how my bra should fit.  At least give me somebody who might understand something about gaining and losing more than puberty weight.  I digress.)

From there we headed further uptown to meet some lovelies (Leah, Niki, wonderful) and have a little bite and see a classical music recital.  This is a perfect example of how we grew up amongst the most wonderful folks in the world:  We grew up in the same neighborhood as Sarah, and she and Leah are still very close, and Sarah lives in NY with her girlfriend who is a professional pianist.  She was playing in a show that night, which Sarah had written Leah about, so Leah passed the word so we all trotted downtown and culturized ourselves.  It was warm and wonderful and lovely.

Megan and I ended up cutting out a little early because we wanted to get dinner at her favorite local haunt, an Italian place called Pisticci that's just around the corner from her apartment.  We sat right at the bar and started with one of the more delicious cocktails I've had in a while, involving whiskey, reduced apple cider, and just a bit of cinnamon - perfect for the bitter cold that we were still moving through.  We had a decent bottle of wine and some quality comfort food that was perfect that night.  The highlight was the spinach salad with pancetta and the funny friendly employees who laughed at almost all of my funny bits.  (Definitely not the tiramisu that Megan forced down my throat at the end that I was much too full and drunk to appreciate.  Sorry Megan.)

We were very happy by the time we got home three minutes later, and I fell on the floor and almost peed my pants when Megan tried pulling down the blinds but instead pulled the whole thing off and knocked over a vase with dead flowers and then could just stand there and say, "shit".  About half hour later when I finally got off the floor and stopped taking funny pictures of Megan (which are all actually too fuzzy to tell what they are) we drank as much water as we could while balancing out the high culture we had experienced earlier by watching Jersey Shore on her computer.

We should have known we needed to stretch our eating and drinking stomachs for the next day...  11 Madison Park, more Broadway, and wine with Binty.

04 January 2010

Sake It To Me, or Fela + Pork Buns = Happy Soul (or NY Winter Adventure pt. 3)

After waking up mid-afternoon yesterday, we drank coffee and did dishes and just putzed around for a few hours until realizing we needed to leave the house relatively shortly to make it to the show.  So we ordered in (having food delivered to my door is one of the top three things I miss about living in a city) Vietnamese food, switched from coffee to wine, and started to get pretty for our night out.

Our aunt and uncle Colleen and Ridge got us tickets for Fela last night.  (Read this if you're lost like I was when I first heard of the show.)  One of the reviews I read of it before summed it up pretty well - not much of a plot, but the most entertaining two and a half hours you'll have all year.  The entire theater was transformed, and I can't remember being in a happier crowd.  They had us shouting and singing and dancing... oh the dancing.  I don't know if I've ever seen so many beautiful abdominal muscles in one place either.  (The couple to my left may have been the whitest people in New York, but even they seemed to have fun.  That's what polite applause as you sit with your legs crossed means, right?)

From the Eugene O'Neill Theater we hopped on the R and headed downtown for one of the most anticipated stops of my trip:  Momofuku Ssam.  Colleen, Ridge, and Megan had all regaled me with various stories of the pork buns, the beautiful space, the pork butt.... Megan practically had tears in her eyes for that one.  We hopped in, sat at the gorgeous bar and proceeded to be waited on by what seemed like an endless string of very attractive, very tattooed young men.  I had the Momofuku sake, Megan had some viognier, and we ordered simply:  the pork buns and the "bread and butter".   Their version included not only a dish of whipped cows milk butter, but whipped lardo.  Lardo.  I'll say it again:  Lardo.  Pork fat.  It was pillowey and creamy somehow, and had just enough chili flakes sprinkled on top to balance out the smokey savoriness of the lardo.

The pork buns were...  They were amazing.  Steamed, sticky chewy bread folded over to envelop hoisin sauce, thinly sliced vinegary cucumbers, and a few strips of pork with layers of fat that were so delicious, so moist, and so so perfectly prepared that it felt like they literally melted in my mouth..

Everything about this dish was perfect.  The gentle heat and tanginess of the hoisin sauce; the thin crunch of the cucumber, and the nirvana that was the pork combined for a little piece of heaven in my mouth.  I know I'm veering really close to floweriness here, but oh...  Oh. Also, as if I wasn't already falling in love with this little nugget of a place, Megan noticed that at the bottom of the menu they had an advisory reading "We do not serve vegetarian friendly items."  The kitchen was open in the back part of the restaurant and after all of this I almost walked back to hug the staff in there.  I don't imagine it'd be the first time.

Today we slept in (again) and are lounging before we head to get our nails did, make some Columbia stops, and maybe do a little shopping.  Tonight is a classical music recital (Culture?  Yes please.) with some dear old friends, and more eating and drinking.  Tomorrow we have Guggenheim, 11 Madison Park, and West Side Story.  My tail is a' waggin. 

03 January 2010

Lamb, Karaoke, and A Cold Quest for Cocktails (or NY Winter Adventure pt. 2)

I woke up at the crack of 2:22 p.m. today.  After the shenanigans of last night I didn't even feel guilty.

Yesterday Megan and I took what was quite likely the coldest walk to the grocery store in the history of cold walks to the grocery store to stock up for the week and prepare for our dinner party.  It really is impressive how New York (well, and most of the rest of the urbanized world outside of this country, but I digress) has figured out how to fit So Much stuff into So Little space.  Other than my favorite brand of polenta we found everything we wanted and more, and the huge cold room with a whole lamb aisle pretty much made up for the polenta failure.

We cut time too close to make mani-pedi's but then were able to actually get dinner done in time.  The menu consisted of soft parmesan polenta, roasted brussel sprouts, red and golden beets tossed with green beans and lots of black pepper and vinegar, a salad of spring mix greens and arugula with pears and roasted almonds, and lamb shoulder chops with a rub of salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary done under the broiler.

We had a smaller group for dinner than we expected but quite the mix of folks.  A few best friends from elementary/high school, best friend from college, roommate from Puerto Rico, roommate, Megan's school friend... and almost more importantly we had quite a diverse selection for, oh yes...  Karaoke.

We got to Koreatown almost an hour late for our private room reservation, so wasted no time in getting that machine cranking.  Who would have known that Bon Jovi (Bed of Roses) could be such pure poetry?  Or that we all knew all the lyrics to Jagged Little Pill?  Or that Self Esteem (by The Offspring, by way of Leah and Caitlin) could really just plain rock the hardest?  Now we know.  Be advised.

After a couple hours and many drinks we exited to what should have been a much easier quest for an open cheesy bar in times square.  We finally found one that was underpacked and overpriced, drank some more, knocked a chair over a few times, found no strangers to hit on, and came home.

Today was mostly recovery, as evidence by my wake-up time, but we managed to fit in a lot of spectacular in the few hours we were awake.
I will write more on this later, but leave you with this tidbit that I learned by experience this evening:
Lardo can be whipped to the consistency of soft butter, and has the flavor of smokey bacon.  Oh sweet lord yes.

02 January 2010

New York Winter Adventure pt. 1

I'm in New York City!

It took a short and beautiful plane ride from Chicago (of course, after having to come to and from the west coast everything feels short)...

We arrived last night and opted for the bus rather than taxi to Megan's apartment in Morningside.  That was the first great decision of the trip, for a few reasons:
-We spent about $2 each (or for me, nothing, because it was the first swipe of my one-week-unlimited Metro Pass that was my Christmas gift from sister) rather than the $30 we would have spent on a cab.
-Our luggage was easily manageable and I'm pushy enough that we snagged the one tiny luggage area on the city bus.
-We were packed tightly into a space full of people from completely different places doing completely different things, and we all managed to get along just fine to get where we wanted to be.  That is being in a city, and it was perfect.
-I got a seat offered to me (by a young loud friendly Puerto Rican man), and then, I got to offer a seat to somebody (an elder, friendly gentleman from Chicago).

We got to the apartment about 8pm, freshened up, lounged around, I started to rearrange Megan's room (the beginning of a bigger project that I will finish by the time I leave in five days), I called a few of my New York based friends to "trumpet my arrival" (yes, I'm quoting me), and we wrapped up to hit the streets.  We had to come back a few times because I needed a hat, then a pen, and then we were on our way.
Where were we walking to at 10:30pm?  ANYWHERE!  Why?  BECAUSE WE COULD!  The noises of the city gave me energy and I could have skipped down Broadway, although it may have warrented some looks from the security guards sprinkled about the Columbia/Barnard campus.  (There were plenty of NYPD about too, but I doubt they would have looked sideways.)

We made quick detour onto Columbia campus - so pretty!  So important!  So twinkly!  - and exited just in time before Megan made her standard "Ivy League is Bullsh*t!" comment to continue down Broadway.  (She can say that, she's an Ivy Leaguer.)

We walked and walked as it snowed and people happily made their way in and out of bars and restaurants around us.  Even a few people asking for change wished us a happy new year.  Our destination turned out to be a Chinese restaurant that not only has tasty and cheap food, but unlimited free wine with dinner.  It's white and sweet and says Franzia, but did I mention free?  We left full and drunk for around $30.

We crossed the street, bought bagels for this morning, and headed north already looking forward to today.
Today we lounge (as I write this, lounging), mani-pedi, grocery shop, cook dinner for a group of friends, then... KARAOKE.