Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Super into this week: Pajamagrams, lentil soup, murder ...

Things that happened this past week:
1. I received the best gift of my entire life: A pair of hoodie footie pajamas from Pajamagram. And they are even more fan-flipping-tastic than I had imagined. There are even little thumb holes in the long sleeved arms.
2. Chach said to me: "Does Elsa have nipples?"
3. I found out that neither Chach nor I have strep throat.

"I'm Having a Friendship Affair" by Kim Brooks, New York Magazine
I'm not totally like this, but I'm enough like this that it made me want to drink wine and braid someone's hair. Also: Then I started following Kim Brooks on Twitter.

"LA Lately" by Israel Nash: 1. If I like a song and the song mentions Los Angeles, I will like it even more especially since I haven't been there for years and I've been watching "Transparent" and some of the generic city views make me woozy. 2. This song reminds me of another song that mentions Los Angeles, "Black Lexus" by Joseph Arthur, which was the first official Song that References Los Angeles that started me liking songs that reference Los Angeles.
Aside from that, this one has this big swirling sound and is a little Pink Floyd-y and a little Neil Young-y, but I'm putting heavier weight on the Joseph Arthur for the sake of my pride.

Megan Tan is a recent college graduate who isn't sure of her next move, so she decides to make a podcast about figuring out what's the what. Lesson One: She gets an email from the Los Angeles Times asking if she's interested in applying for an internship making video for the paper. She hems and haws and interviews friends and ultimately decides nah, she doesn't want that to be her job. She's into radio. She wants to do that.
Pause, suffocate a little: Wouldn't a person interested in telling stories get some huge value from learning from other photo journalists at the Los Angeles Times, even if the medium is different? Answer: Yes so hard.
Anyway, I've decided to swallow my shock and remember that I am a tourist in Millennials-ville, so. Here is a decision that A Millennial made, Old Lady Gen X.
Anyway, five episodes in. I feel like I could stop, but I'm not going to and then, soon, I won't be able to.

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon: This is like Lentil Soup for the person who has no faith in Lentil Soup, like, for instance, me. I've tried lots of Lentil Soup in my life and, yum, hot texture. This one requires some accessorizing -- like, add that lemon juice, olive oil and Cayenne pepper --  but it's super good and one of those things I can just happen to have the ingredients to make in my kitchen AT ALL TIMES (well, usually). So welcome to my second favorite homemade soup.
PS: This week I realized my tomato paste had lily pads of mold floating on it, so I just substituted Trader Joe's Roasted Garlic Marinara and then got to feel pretty smug when it didn't suffer. Boom.

I'm halfsies on this season. Bowe is no Adnan. I'll probably listen to the whole season, but I probably won't, like, slip into a robe every week and sit in a dark living room sipping whiskey while we listen and then shoot looks of shock, horror and surprise at each other and wish the next six days away.

I wrote this thing about how I probably ran over someone's Christmas presents.

"The Living Room" episode of Love + Radio
This is a fine, fine piece of storytelling. A woman secretly watches her young neighbors live a very sexy life, until something changes. Then she watches that, too. So great.

"Making a Murderer"
Now THIS is "Serial."

Monday, December 21, 2015

Super into this week: Pea soup, Janet Jackson and animal encounters ...

Things that happened this past week:
1. I had the worst sore throat in the history of my throat and stayed home for two days complaining about how much saliva hurts. It now occurs to me that strep is something to consider, but when.
2. We went to a birthday party for a trio of 3-year-olds at the zoo. There were animal encounters.
3. I thought I had been a victim of identity theft and then I realized that I'd signed up for Apple Care and forgotten and been charged for it. So now I don't have a working debit card because of the way I really jumped in there and took care of business with my bank. Way to go, Adult Me.

"The Bedford Stop"
I'm such a sucker for this kind of thing: In this case, it's like 3-minute episodes about twentysomethings living in Brooklyn. It's like "Tinder-brunch-Tinder-Tinder-Got-So-Drunk-brunch-Tinder" and it's fascinating.
Sider: I'm absolutely obsessed with Tinder culture. It's easy. It's fast-paced. It turns the whole game on its ear. The idea that these women could go on a date, technically, every single night with a new person. In one episode, a girl shrugs and is like "Whatever. Free dinner." FREE DINNER.

"Control" by Janet Jackson
We were in the middle of a dance party that started with "No Diggity," segued into "Shoop" and then was headed toward MC Hammer when I decided to veer left and listen to Janet Jackson instead. And then we just kept listening for as long as it took to Swiffer two rooms. Even though there is no place in modern times for this album, it's still fun to listen to. The voice is so sassy and insistent about its strength and independence. Then, randomly, there is "Let's Wait Awhile," which is achingly big-eyed and earnest. It has always been, for me, the theme song to Sweet Valley High, Book 23: "Say Goodbye." I think this album was playing every day of elementary school. It made me want to write a letter to my old friend Betsy.

Split Pea Feel Better Soup
(I'll probably not be taking food photos anymore in my life. There is just no way to do it without looking like my meal jumped off an apartment building and landed on a plate 20 floors below.) But, this is the best soup I've ever eaten. If you make it, mind your herbs and seasonings. Don't approximate, they are crucial to the end, flavorful, warm-belly finale. Best if served with homemade gluten-free bread, made my someone else's dough-slopped hands.

This show is just so, so, uggghhh-noise. Aside from Mora, and sometimes not even her, everyone always does and says the exactly wrong thing and it's so messy and great. And I love Gaby Hoffmann and her character and love to think that everything she does and says has been informed by being the opposite of Kevin Costner, her earliest of costars. My favorite line, mid-Season 2: "I can't have real emotional intimacy with someone who hasn't suffered under the patriarchy." So serious. Anyway, I love this show better than anything else right now.

I've been listening to NPR's Songs We Love, which is a mix of like 31 hours of music as selected by public radio music people from all over. Then I've been yanking out my own faves from that list to make my own mix. It turns out I don't hate country music. And other mysteries.

Here's a column I wrote about taking Chacha to "The Nutcracker."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What it is like to call in sick (at this point in my life) ...

Last night: Throat feels like it has ballooned, leaving something the size of a pinhead to swallow through. Head, cottony. Tolerance level for a toddler who firmly believes that what's mine is her's (my phone, the bread for my tempeh reuben, the space I'm standing in) and, hey! can I play with that knife: Low. Eschew elliptical workout in favor of "Fates & Furies" while tucked into the body pillow I've snaked around my person. Shiver. Feel cranky. Dose self with Nyquil and morph into a snoring lump of dead weight.

I had a dream I was in Austin, Texas, visiting the daughter of my mother's best friend. She wasn't Her-Her, but more of a hybrid: a mix between her and another girl I barely knew in high school, the neighbor of one of my good friends. So complicated!
Our plane was late.
She seemed to resent our arrival.
Though she lived in a very large house, we all slept in her bed.
I heard her complain about us to the neighbors and when she served us spaghetti and beans for dinner, mine slid off the plate and onto her carpet. I ate it anyway, while she looked on with disgust.
"I like your mom," I told her, trying to find a point of entry.
"I don't usually make small talk," she said.

Wake to Chacha's morning mantra, a somewhat weepy: "Mamamamamamamamamamama." Feel Chuck wake, remember that I'm sick, slide out of bed and pad down the hallway. They both return, Chacha with Abu the Elephant and Honey Boney, the perpetually sleeping soft baby who came with her own sleeping bag. One tucked under each arm.
A fit is had. She wants me to go downstairs and watch her eat oatmeal. I want to conk out and dream of a place where I don't have to think about my throat everytime I swallow. Calm voiced negotiations occur and her father whisks her away.

More sleep.

Wake at 11 a.m. to a fresh smoothie, which feels amazing, and coffee, which also feels amazing. A sore throat, it seems, needs temperature fluctuations.
Consider options:

1. Go to work.
2. Stay home and sleep.
3. Stay home and work-work and home-work.

Lean toward 2 while thoughts of 3 creep in.
I could sleep, but also do some laundry.
I could sleep, but then go to the grocery store later.
I could sleep and also read Fates & Furies.
I could listen to podcasts, paint my nails, Christmas shop and get in a good, long workout.

Remember that I am home because I am sick.
Babysitter arrives, takes away child for a few hours.
Crawls into bed.
Can't. Stop. Typing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Super into this week: Bathwater barfing and Girl podcasts ...

Chach, pre-Nutcracker. 
I like to get a jump start on my New Year's Ressies, and one of them is going to be writing more even if that writing is just making a weekly list of what I'm: SUPER INTO THAT WEEK. This feels necessary as I can no longer remember what year I was super into, for instance, the Shout Out Louds (and other great Swedish bands) and apparently I wasn't keeping track of STUFF I WAS INTO when I made this great Bean Sandwich Mousse and now I can't find the recipe.

Things that happened this past week:

1. Chuck's and Chuck's Fanny's annual Birthday Rally in Spirit Valley, in which, yesterday, I realized I'd gotten a phone number from a woman at the bar who just moved to town and has a 2-year-old and we were going to have a playdate. Eeps. It's all kind of a blur of bumbling with the karaoke microphone and hitting the Taco John's drive thru. This is all very strange, as I was drinking beer. It reminds me of a time I did The Worm at the bar and this girl I knew said "You did the worm on beer?"

2. Sum it up this way: Have you ever been so mad you barfed pizza in your bathwater?

3. Chach, Ma Pista and I went to "The Nutcracker." Right before the end of the first Act, Chach stands up and yells "Cock-a-Doodle-Dooooo!" and the turns around and smiles. We made it midway through Act 2.

3. An orthopedic surgeon told me about all the innards of my shoulder that are torn and I decided to rehab instead of having surgery because I have a flailing toddler and can't be handicapped by a sling at this point in my existence. 

4. Chuck and I drank absinthe (and nothing happened.)

So, here's what I'm super into this week:

Slate's "Double X Gabfest" Podcast
Simply enough: I like how these women talk. Hanna Rosen, Noreen Malone and June Thomas, an in-the-news podcast. I like the word choices, timbre, and sentence structures, the ideas and the questions they ask. It's Women Yes, topic-wise, but not exclusively. Recently: "Carol," suicide clusters in Palo Alto, a somewhat personal essay by Katy Waldman about anorexia, the curious case of Tashfeen Malik. Listening feels like having supersmart, inquisitive friends who arrange words well responding to the ongoing conversation in your own head.
Also: Each episode ends with endorsements ranging from books to Tiny Desk Concerts.  
(Full disclosure: I hate the word "gabfest.")

Annnnnd ... on the other side of the Three Women Talking About Stuff Coin there is this. If Double X Gabfest is like listening to NPR, this one is like shotgunning episodes of "Sex and the City." I hadn't heard of any of the women before I randomly downloaded the podcast in a Mad Podcast Download Binge that occurred when I upgraded my iPhone and got more storage. I guess they must be famous because they do things like go to work in their pajams and have someone else apply the pretty or have slumber parties with Lea Michele or take spin class one bike away from Ruby Rose. But, frankly, I'd listen to them even if they were only as famous as a trio of gals working the desk at my orthopedic surgeon's office. I don't even care that they interviewed "The Bachelorette." She seemed nice. They're funny and they make period jokes The only downer is that their between-segment audio sounds like car commercials and it hurts my ears.
The only other downer is the word "fempire," which could go on a list with "gabfest."

Here I come out of baby-induced review retirement to barf gobs of chortles and groans all over Minnesota Reads for the first time since that time in September when I got all hopped up on ultra-marathon running. We've got some novels, some memoir, some collections ... and one official No Can Do.

Play it As it Lays by Joan Didion
I thought I had read this, but I had not. And now, finally, I can in good conscience claim to be the fan of Joan Didion that I've always said I was.