Monday, September 27, 2010

Jetted Off

Well, Jet has strayed again. She vanished without a trace, except for two little scratches on my bracelet arm where she was playing with the dangly pieces.

Once upon a time, I saw the original “Cat People” with Simone Simone. Despite my admiration for the beautiful Nastassja Kinski, I never saw the remake. Maybe if I had, Jet might have stuck around a little longer.

I’m not getting rid of the super-duper kitty kibble, just in case.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jet Fuelled

We were micro-assaulted while we walked home from dinner last night (which was with our friend Paul B., who doesn’t read blogs so I won’t bother to say hi.) The cutest black kitten attached itself to our feet. We ducked, swerved and took sophisticated evasive maneuvers, to no avail. It followed us home, and was still hiding under Robert’s car this morning.

Who are you? Do you know me in real life? You might remember the (now deceased) beautiful half-coyote dog who went just about everywhere with me for fifteen and a half years. Her ashes have been in a box on a shelf for a decade now, and until Jonah, I had no other animals. That is, until this morning.

We named the kitten Jet, after the stray dog in Nero Wolfe. The vet will tell us on Monday if she’s been chipped. It was difficult only buying food for her. I wanted to get All of Everything, but I’m trying not to get too attached, just in case. Jonah is already attached. He grooms her and follows her around. She’s learned to climb the tree, and to come back down when I put out the bowl of kitty kibbles.

There’s something about this little creature. I’ve never been a cat person, but she’s bringing me around. Of course I’ll do my best to see if she already has a home. In any case, she does now, if she wants to stay.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Under Control

Hi, my name is Carole, and I’m a control freak.

Oh stop. I know this isn’t news to most of you, but that’s no reason to be sarcastic. Some of the readers haven’t met me and may not have known, though I’ve never tried to hide it.

Yes, I am a control freak but a lot of that is fallout from my sense of responsibility. Responsibility is about decisions. Control is about choices. There is a difference.

“Are you hungry?” is a decision, Mexican or sushi is a choice. Going out with a new person who might be That Special Someone is a decision, what you do at the end of the date is your choice. Answering the phone is a choice, having the foresight to check caller i.d. is a decision. You get the idea.

Everything you just read has been sitting in my drafts folder for months, waiting for a zippy little finish. I gave up. That’s a decision.

The choice to read it was up to you, and is beyond my control.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Side Of The Table

Caveat: This is only what I ate while in Las Vegas. If you want to know what Robert ate, nag him to update “Some Psychotic Ramblings”. Oh, and if you want non-food Vegas stories, scroll down to the next post. This one is all about the food.

Monday: Perfect eggs, with buttery Lyonnaise potatoes and spinach sautéed with minced shallots and whole garlic cloves and more butter. The croissant was lathered in gorgeous peach jam. Tart tropical fruit “salad”. That was breakfast. Later, a raspberry tart layered with pistachio mousse on a sable Breton, garnished with edible gold flakes. Dinner was shared, big-eye tuna tartare pizza, an amazing composed seaweed salad, pate made from monkfish livers, seared scallops on top of a surprisingly strong and delicious Dijon-potato puree, and meltingly soft -- not chewy at all -- octopus with crunchy tentacles, in a jalapeno vinaigrette with seasoned cucumber slices. Oh, I almost forgot the spicy sushi that had honest-to-God Pop Rocks™ candy mixed in. You heard crackling, then fishy goodness exploded in your mouth. Dessert came hours later, Venezuelan hot chocolate, and banana split waffles with vanilla bourbon ice cream, chocolate truffle bits, caramelized Rice Krispies™, caramelized toffee bananas, chocolate ganache and caramel sauce. For those of you who know me, yes, I ate chocolate which I normally dislike. This was that good. (Robert had the aptly titled Euphoria Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Sundae. I wasn’t going to tell you, but you should know.)

Tuesday: Oeufs au gratin with spinach and tomato confit in a Mornay sauce, along with brioche toast and blackberry jam. Lunch was Maine lobster rolls, which were three little hot fresh-baked sweet-ish bread rolls filled to bursting with butter-poached fresh lobster and served alongside hand-cut potato chips and an onion slaw. Dinner began with Morro Bay oysters on the half shell with piquillo peppers and (seriously good) Tabasco sorbet, placed on top of a bowl of chunky salt and black peppercorns with star anise scattered for both aesthetics and aroma. The mini sourdough baguettes came with sweet butter the consistency of pudding and a bowl of salt chunks. Maine lobster ravioli with lemon- olive oil puree, summer corn, marscapone and asparagus. Crescenza cheese mezzaluna was a vegetarian delight with braised black kale, wild mushrooms and parsley emulsion. Sweet corn pannacotta with marinated apricots, crunchy dry corn kernels, caramel ice cream and a popcorn tuile. Vanilla-infused chocolate soup. One final snack of a dulce de leche brioche before bed.

Wednesday: Robert and I shared a pastry basket with cheese Danish, strawberry croissant and a banana nut muffin. More perfect eggs (poached, this time, with beurre sauce) with spinach, and cherry jam with the croissant. Later, a smoked salmon pizza with salmon caviar and a Caesar salad with the largest fresh anchovy I’ve ever seen on a parmesan crisp. After a long walk, there was Italian thick hot chocolate, the consistency of a sauce but much more delicious and a shared butterscotch chocolate cream milkshake with dulce de leche ice cream, chocolate chunks, toffee sauce and pure chocolate. Dinner was just a damned good cheese bagel.

Thursday: We came home after another glorious breakfast (see above). This time the jam was blackberry again, the toast was cranberry and the pastries were a pecan sticky bun, and a banana nut muffin. It took two different stops to get the hummos, tabbouleh and tiropita.

It’s Friday afternoon as I write this. Except for coffee and a lot of protein powder, I haven’t eaten since.

Vacation Montage

While Robert and I sat in a luxurious lounge in the Venetian, the soundtrack played something from “Phantom of the Opera”. After a few desultory jokes about that and “Cats”, we ended up talking about T.S. Eliot for a while. Right after that was when my dear friend in Canada, @radiantfracture, tweeted a reference to Eliot. (For my tweeties: Robert isn’t either Alphonse or Bunter. He’s Robert Wilson.)

Random sight: A drunken bride in full regalia having trouble hiking up her skirt on her way into a Ladies’ room in the elegant Bellagio hotel.

Shoe-shopping at 10:00 p.m. is fun. The salesman spent six weeks in a coma back in 2004. I have no idea how the conversation got that far, but he was interesting. Apparently his grandson weighs 22 lbs. That’s not so interesting.

At one point we walked past a guy who looked just like Simon Le Bon circa 1983, complete with paunch and pout. When we went into the next building, the soundtrack changed to Duran Duran.

Hotel billboard: Close-up of a woman’s breasts as she gets out of a pool. The caption read, “You’ll see lots of breaststroke, just not in the pool.”

At a gas station in Barstow, two truckers were talking. One said, “He told me he couldn’t loan out that DVD because it was so special to him, but if’n I wanted, I could watch it in the back of his cab with him. No way I’m sitting with him in his cab watching ‘Brokeback Mountain’!” Even though it didn’t work, I’ve got to give that unknown trucker credit; it was a better pick-up line than the ones we overheard in the casino.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Be Right Back

Yesterday, after I was done making endless lists and finishing up what needed finishing, an email came in notifying me that our hotel overbooked and when we go on vacation tomorrow, we’re staying somewhere else. Granted, it’s a more prestigious and fashionable place, but it’s not the same. Pout.

You know me, I find things out. So I phoned around. Turns out, a former President of the United States suddenly needs hundreds of rooms in my favorite hotel. I couldn’t find out why. I hope, trust and assume it’s for a very good reason pertaining -- at the very least -- to world peace. It’s not often one can contribute to world peace. They can have the room.

This is good for you though, because it means in a few days I will have new stories about new places and new food.

Behave yourselves in the meanwhile, my darlings. Auntie will be home soon to look after you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dichotomy Du Jour

Aren’t dichotomies fun? Get comfy and let’s do this. Today’s dichotomy is, in no particular order: Obligation vs. Responsibility.

Yes they’re two different things, but I disagree with you in the back. You say that they’re two entirely different things. They’re not. That’s why we need our oversized magnifying glasses, to figure out where the sameness ends. I’m not sure.

If you’ve got an obligation to do something, you ought to do it, but you don’t have to do it. It’s the same with responsibility. Ultimately you probably get it done, whether it’s before the consequences set in, or after, whether you whine or try to weasel out of it, or not. It needs doing. You do it. It gets done.

There’s ethics vs. morality, but that doesn’t explain it. We’re each responsible for our own state of mind, but we’re obligated not to damage the people around us if we freak out. Raise your hand if you’ve ever managed that one. Me neither.

I’m stumped. This is going in the enigma pile; next to the question of if the little light in the fridge goes out when the door closes. I suspect, when all’s said and done, it matters about as much, which is to say not at all. We all have obligations and responsibilities, probably more than we’d like, and I still want to know what the difference is.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ha Ha? Nah.

Thanks to two gentlemen of my acquaintance, one of whom I may or may not have married, I have dredged up my old nemesis topic: what the hell is “funny” anyway?

Richard, another young man of my acquaintance, has a favorite joke of all time: “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “I eat mop.” “I eat mop who?” “Yuck, that’s disgusting.” (Do I need to tell you that it’s phonetic?)

See, I don’t think that joke is funny. I do think it’s funny to watch people get it, but not the joke itself. Richard (a.k.a. @rmangaha) still laughs every time.

Did you laugh? Be honest, I won’t tell anyone. This joke may fall into the category of burp and fart humor, or is it may be a clever manipulation of phonemes for an unexpected result. Surprise is funny. Clever twists are funny. To many people, poo is funny.

The two gentlemen in the opening paragraph have embarked on a joke-writing marathon similar to the ones all of you so patiently endured when I did it. I wish them luck. I’m not allowed to participate. That’s what restarted me thinking about what “funny” is. I still have no idea. I will, however, repeat my favorite joke that I wrote during my time in the trenches:

Saint Peter goes to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist asks, “What seems to be the problem?” Saint Peter says, “I see dead people.”