Thursday, July 24, 2008

Home, Home on the Range

Alright, so despite the fact that we have a Lincoln, NE office, my coworkers have been drilling me on what I'll actually DO in the state of Nebraska. They can't believe I'm "vacationing" there. I shrug and respond that I'll probably go ride my cow, Husker, eating a cob of corn as I sit on her back. Then if things get a little hog-wild, we may go down to the ole' pond and listen to the frog, locust, and wildlife symphonies of the countryside while throwing back moonshine. I promise to bring back some steaks and the ever-popular cosmetic "Udder Balm" for everyone so the Californians can be as supple as our bovine...
Most of them aren't that gullible, but I've definitely gotten a this as a response to my "travel plans", "Heh heh heh...really?"
See you all soon. This post was unofficially sponsored by UdderBalm

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ooh La La!

It's Sunday morning and I'm at Wired Le Bistro, a très chic little cafe in La Jolla whose name belies its fabulousness. It really is one of my favorite spots in all of San Diego. The inside is cozy enough to make you want to stay all day but trendy enough to be in keeping with its cuisine's Parisian edge. The ceiling undulates with old burlap coffee bags that have been tacked up above, seating options include hard wooden high backs, black wrought iron chairs, or cozy eggplant-hued benches that outline the perimeter of the room. I enjoy the old-fashioned patisserie glass case, and that they imported the female servers.
If I were a gentleman, I'd be tempted to haunt this cafe for nothing more than the beautiful women who drift past the tables. The first time I was here, I knew they were French before they opened their mouths to speak with their quick, sharp little consonants and longer sweeter vowels that charactarize their accents; petite graceful bodies, hair slicked back to expose their fine bone structure and wearing black. You can also tell a french woman by her Mona Lisa smile curling slightly and inexplicably on her rosy lips. Somehow, it makes me feel more beautiful to be around them.
Today, at the urging of the server who recognized me, I ordered crepes nutella (as in that sinful hazelnut/chocolate spread Europeans have the good sense to put on everything) and a cup of coffee, and cream. Her recommendation reminded me of an important fact I wish all to know: the key to ordering a breakfast that won't leave you with a bellyache. It's simple; order a plain coffee if you're going to have a sweet dish, order a sweet coffee if you're going to have a savory dish. That's it, don't be seduced by an indulgent mocha to accompany your crepes, or you'll be sorry.
I think now would be a good time to mention that I'm being watched by a handsome young gentleman. He is with a woman who isn't offended by her date's inattention to his and blatant window-knocking at me as I sit on the other side of that window on the patio. His feet dangle two feet from he ground, his plate, bearing a large sweet roll, is poised perfectly at mouth-level. His mother watches fondly as he takes advantage of his position. He reaches forward with both hands cupping the back of the roll, scoops it toward his face and sinks his teeth in. He then flings his arms apart that conveys some sort of achievement and turns to look out the window, directly at me with full mouth and messy face as if to say, "check it out!" I assume a serious face and nod approvingly. He grins with flaky bits and cinnamon frosting all over his small teeth and turns back around.

In unrelated news, a bee has alighted on and made a home of my book which is in my purse. My book that I would very much like to be reading as soon as I've posted this. However, he's been there 45 minutes so far and seems to have decided that my tome makes for a good napping spot. I have a straw I could use to prod him away from my belongings but in a zen moment, I decided that this would be an unkindness as I wouldn't like to be awoken in such a manner. So he stays.
What I love even more than the sun-drenched patio with its wood-framed umbrellas, and strong European coffee is that every time I'm here I am privy to a variety of languages. French on left, South-American Spanish on right, Castillian Spanish behind, some language I can't identify at the table in front of me, old women two tables away slipping in and out of their old Italian in croaky tones complete with hand gestures. By sitting on the patio I miss the great music inside, but I gain the musicality of these different dialects as they float around me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Am the Church, You Are the Church...

Three personal pet peeves of Christian culture:
1) The word "just" as used in public prayer. "Lord I just, I just thank you for just all your goodness and just all the thing's you've made and that you're just always vigilant in caring for our needs and we just..."
AHHHHHHH, I JUST want to scream "You must stop! My ears are bleeding!" Is satan using these syntax faux pas to ruin public prayer for me? Probably. Does that mean we can't all try harder to exercise our right to employ well-thought-out sentences, even in prayer without using "just" to the same effect as one would use the word "duh"? Nay, I say! I hear "Lord I duhhhhh, I duhhhh thank you for duhhhhhh..." I really do know God doesn't care what our prayers sound like on whit, and no, I'm not asking public pray-ers to wax poetic and deliver these "perfect" prayers but I pray of you, just leave out the "justs."

2) The title of this entry refers to the most putrid song I have ever been forced to sing, memorize, and repeat in my life. This song is first on my list of songs I cannot stomach. Second place? "What the World Needs Now...Is Love Sweet Love," "It's a Small World," and "Puppy Love."

3) When people ask for prayer about something and never get back to you on how the whole shebang worked out for them! Which leads me to my point: I practiced my own dang pet peeve. I enlisted almost everyone who reads this blog to pray that I find a good church in San Diego. Well, I found one...about a month ago. And I forgot to tell you. I am so sorry.

It's called "Flood Church" and it is amazing. It was one of the first of 15 I tried here in San Diego during my church shopping and I liked it when I first attended it. It had mixed races, mostly my age attendees and the sermon was rock solid. I'm really embarrassed to say that the most off-putting issue was the music. Even as late as 10 A.M., the band's precussion reverberating through the room so my cheastbone pulsed along was just too much. I couldn't hear myself sing and I didn't like it. Period. So I kept shopping.
Well, a little over a month ago, two new girls entered my life. Lindsey and Annie are from NE too and, like I was, they were all over the church scene right away. Unlike me, they alighted on Flood Church by chance, attended, and loved it. And for reasons of morning-intolerance, they decided that night church would be best so we started attending at 7:00 P.M., now 8:00 P.M. What a difference! I was much more awake, relaxed from having the entire morning and day all to myself to get things done and this way the music wasn't nearly so jarring, the sermon sunk in a little bit more, and it's pretty much church, off to bed, rise Monday morning spiritually charged for my week. I have no doubt in my mind that it wasn't pure coincidence that these girls just happened to choose Flood as their church, I think God wants me there and there are lots of service opportunities, bible studies, and community things for me to get involved in. Thanks Lindsey and Annie for reinvigorating my appreciation for this great church and for being someone I can pal around with.
(Bonus: check out their videos sometime, they're of the church's work in Malawi and some skits done at church, I like The Exorcism by the hip hop group

All it all, it's exactly the answer to prayer I've been looking for. Thank you all for talking to God about this on my behalf and again, I'm sorry that some of you had to ask before I updated you on this.
Also, I'm a TERRIBLE prayer warrior (I am, I usually start praying and then without warning, my thoughts turn into a grocery list) but practice makes perfect, and I would love to try to pray for any of you if you have any sort of prayer request or even a praise. Big or small, seemingly silly or pretty serious. Leave it as a comment to this post or e-mail me at God'll take your requests and I'd be happy to be the courier.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Viva la Vivahhhhhhhno

Meg: I'd like to try one of your smoothies.
Bucky (the Starbucks lady): Oh these? (pointing to the big chalky ad) These aren't smoothies. (pause and her face stifled suppressed glee, like she had a great secret to divulge)
Meg: Oh, okay. Well can I have a banana choco...
Bucky: They're Vivahhhhnos.
Meg: ...colate oh, right. Well can I have a banana chocolate vivahhhno with a shot of...
Bucky: I'd recommend a shot of espresso.
Meg: Right, one of those and can I also have you...
Bucky: And we can use any kind of milk you want including soy and we can also add a powder shot that contains...
Meg: Nonfat. Espresso. Chocolate Banana Vivahhhno. Grande. Please.
Bucky: Mmmm, excellent choice. Here's our nutritions facts chart, you can see there's lots of fiber and protein and you've made the best choice by selecting non-fat milk...

Taking the chart from her and nodding as she went on I wanted to be annoyed, but I remembered my days at the GAP.
Customer: Um, how much are these jeans.
Meg: (drawing on pre-programed script) Oh they're not jeans.
Customer: Really?
Meg: They're denim trousers, see the flat back pockets and trouser clasp front...
Customer: So these cotton, blue pants aren't jeans?
Meg: No, and it's not really indigo, it's a special dye designed to be resiliant against the harshest detergents so your jeans never lose their color.
Customer: Trousers.
Meg: Righ...what?
Customer: You said jeans.
Meg: Right.

I don't miss that job. Maybe the discount, but not the job.

In conclusion, thanks Peter for the recommendation on the Vivanno. It was absolutely delicious!
P.S. An editor's delight: these photos came from Reuters blog and I love that this latter features a misspelled "Vivanno," looks like even baristas have trouble with Starbuckanese.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Editor's 911

Okay, so today I had a grammar question that even stumped my mentor, goddess of grammar, and I was in panic! So I looked up some grammar hotlines online. It's hilarious and awesome that there are actual hotlines for this; about one on every campus worth its salt. Anyway, I called up Purdue U and got a hold of "Tony." He had a nice voice and spoke to me of such things as clauses, structure, and participles. It was very hot. I started blushing and thanked him about five times consecutively out of nervousness. He laughed and told me to have a good day.

We'll probably get married.
And have four grammatically correct children.
And they'll never start their sentences with a conjunction, like their mother.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm Obsessed with:

Gregory Peck, They just don't make 'em like this anymore. Like George Clooney, this guy only got hotter as he aged. I just discovered, upon researching him a bit, that he was born in La Jolla! I think it's only fitting that I proceed to rent every movie he ever starred in and swoon at his fabulously good looks and equally fabulous acting. His original name was Eldred Gregory Peck—nice choice on the name change, Handsome. I love him best in his roles in Spellbound, Roman Holiday, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even in Old Gringo (I only liked it b/c I was in Mexico when I watched it, stateside it's probably not that good).

—In unrelated news, I LOVE Nabisco Newtons Fruit Crisps!!! No, no one's paying me to promote these (I wish they were), but I've taken to eating these daily. I haven't tried the mixed berry one, I'm still working through a box of the apple cinnamon...tastes like an apple turnover. YUMMO! Now go buy.
Audio books, the cure to Meg's road rage. My dearest friend Sarah had to witness my road rage while she stayed with me in San Diego for a while and it wasn't until I heard the moans of mortal terror coming from her in response to my behind-the-wheel outbursts that I realized I had a problem. A big one. I hate sitting in traffic, foot beginning to ache from being poised over the accelerator in hopes of using it. I hate A-hole days on the road during which it seems like everyone got the memo that cutting off, tailing, honking, and ignoring blind spots is okay. But true to new-age California, I have been enlightened, I have risen from road rage to road zen. I pop in an audio CD from the library (God bless 'em) and mentally go away, the road may do as it will b/c I'm not in a hurry when I'm absorbing Nabakov's Lolita, Kerouac's On the Road, or Ellison's The Invisible Man. Indeed, I've been known to remain in my car post-journey in order to prolong my literary car sessions. So I say viva la audio book! Oh, and by the way, so long as the audio book is unabridged, you can TOTALLY say you've "read" that book. No question.

Unusual vegetables, or at least unusual to me:
—I'm a fan of spaghetti squash, you bake it like a potato at 375 for 15-25 minutes depending (don't forget to poke holes in it!). Once baked, carefully split the squash, deseed it, and use a fork to separate the strands of meat. They're not hairy strands like other squashes and they take on the taste of whatever you put on them (I did chicken medallions, peanut sauce, chives, and broccoli with mine). So why not just eat normal noodles? Because spaghetti squash is super good for you!

—I've also fallen for eggplant, I made a low-fat eggplant parm the other night that was to die for. Crispy on the outside and chewy, earthy eggplant on the inside. Let me know if you would like the recipe. *update* recipe is found in comments on this post.

—Butternut squash, it's a pain b/c it's really hard to cut and you have to peel them, but I cut mine into french fry shapes, baked them with some olive oil at 425 for about 15 minutes, put salt on them, and enjoyed alternative french fries.

—Beets, also hard to cut, peel them and either sautee them with some evoo, salt, and pepper or steam them, puree them and make into beet soup, here's a great recipe I found (I replaced the whipping cream with F.F. sour cream, and ditched the butter, and it still tasted indulgent).

—Asparagus, not exactly exotic, but I finally found a way to prepare it that I'll eat! I broil just the ends in evoo, a splash of soy, and some minced garlic until the outside is crispy and the inside is tender and limp. *Tip*: how do you know where asparagus woodiness ends and tender, good-to-eat tenderness begins? Simply take the aspargus stalks one at a time and snap them into two pieces, they break at the perfect point.

More veggies I'm going to try/learn to cook and love: brusselsprouts (they have a bad rep., but I hear these adorable little cabbage dudes are delicious if prepared well), artichokes (I can never make these right...), endive, and garbanzo beans. However, I refuse to touch water chestnuts. Sick.