Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Home again, home again.

Sloggity slog.

Oh, it was hard to leave Chicago. Mo was right; it's a beautiful city. I say that not only because it's true, but also, because Mo loves the acknowledgement that she is, as usual, right. One can hardly blame her.

The Art Institute was incredible. Shocking, really, how many masterpieces can be housed under a single roof--look at the Met and the PMA. The AIC was surprising and inspiring and gorgeous. They engraved some of the big names into the upper edge of the exterior of the building facade; I tried not to be unsettled by something the tour guide said: One section has all four names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For some reason, I found that troubling.

Word of Advice. If you go to the Billy Goat Tavern for their famous "cheezborgers," do not order a single. Double, at a bare minimum. Each patty is about three molecules thick. Tasty, but thin. And the chips are seriously salty, undoubtedly to provoke excessive quaffing of beverages, adult and otherwise. I'm just saying.

The roommate took some great pictures and yes, they will be inflicted upon you, my imaginary reader. So much more to follow on that.

And sadly, I am back on my diet. Thank God for the walking we did in Chi-town, because I ate like a freaking horse while I was there. I only gained two pounds, though. Yay, me!!!! But now.... [muffled sobbing] it's back to reality.

In my reality, my ass has its own zip code.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Today was supposed to be a day off, and yet, like so many other days, it was stuffed to the gills. I almost want to write that I get more free time at work, but since I was ready to quit my job yesterday, I cannot even think such a thing in clear conscience.

Four and one half days from now, however, I shall be on vacation and such things will cease to exist for a space of time. Plus, there will be drinking. Ohhh, so much drinking.

Is it wrong, imaginary friend, to dream of this type of debauchery? Is it illicit? Is it the brink of addiction? Or is it merely the most reasonable plan for St. Patrick's Day? I think the last is true. While SPD is a saint's day, to be celebrated with all the reverence of any other Catholic holiday, I am not Catholic. I'm just half Irish, and not by personal history, but only by DNA. I can't think it wrong to celebrate as my people do; with drunken idiocy.

So. Funds for SPD drinks at as many Irish pubs as possible...check. A way to get back to the hotel...check. Roommate informed of these intentions...check. A fistful of condoms, because hey, if I'm drunk, so too will others be...check.

After all, a failure to plan is a plan to fail.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sandwich. Neither the earl nor the islands.

Perhaps this is the wrong forum in which to discuss this matter. My love of sandwiches is ocean-deep and lifelong. Okay, that statement can be applied to most food, but sandwiches hold a particular sway over my affections. It's worse, now that I'm on this freaking diet.

[NB: "Diet" is "die" with a t. It's also a four-letter word. I'm just saying.]

I started this hideous diet on Thursday, January 28th, in the year of our Lord 2010. The details of the horror will be documented in later posts, fear not, my imaginary friend; I mention the date merely as a marking place for the loss of my beloved. The idea behind this particular method of torture---ahem, diet is relatively simple. Every four days, a different module [AKA method of torture] is used. I can only assume this is to convince the victim that 1) she can survive anything for four days 2) she's not getting bored and 3) better days are ahead.

I'll give you a moment to stop laughing.

Now, to be fair, sandwiches are a part of this [expletive deleted] diet. I get very happy when a "snack" is allowed in the day's intake. My favorite snack is the half of a turkey sandwich---it has saved my sanity on many veggie-bean-and-rice filled days. What isn't allowed is the huge, juicy sub or hoagie sandwiches that I adore.

There's a place called Tub's Gourmet Subs relatively close to where I live. It's pricey--pricier than a lot of chain sandwich shops--but ohhhhh, so worth it. They describe their "Godfather" sandwich as such:

"Garlic mayo, basil-pesto, roast beef, hard salami, parmesan and provolone cheeses; toasted on a baguette, topped with lettuce and tomato. "

Oh, God. That, in the large size, with a huge bag of full-fat potato chips and something chocolate, is all I need in life.'s all I need in life that I have an outside chance of getting. George Clooney has yet to return my calls.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The return of NHL games on CBC!!!

I was going to go on and on about spending the weekend with a friend who was suffering chest pains---she's fine, thank you for asking. The excitement of being in a waiting room, with a ten-year-old who was, in equal parts, terrified and bored, cannot be made too much of.

Then, I was going to expound on the joys of attending a baby shower. A baby shower that lasted more than three hours. Three freaking hours. And I got there late! It was almost as much fun as trying to make conversation with the other attendees. Darling women, the lot of them. Really. It's just delightful being surrounded by that much perfection and its offspring. Not as uplifting as the disdainful looks and exclusionary conversation, but gosh, super all the same.

The only redeeming factor in this whole weekend was the willingness of The Good Lisa's children to watch the end of the Toronto-Ottawa game and the beginning of the Montreal-Los Angeles game. That's right. I'm talking hockey.

Now, don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with Olympic hockey. There really isn't. It just doesn't set me on fire the way watching certain teams can. And the whole "discussion" about it being Canada's game, the U.S. being underdogs, blah blah blah.... Enough, already. I'll tell you what I said to anyone who'd listen during the Games: It doesn't matter who wins or loses the gold medal. At the end of the day, the largest hockey league in the world is 75% Canadian. Sure, you've got some Finns, some Swedes, a few Russians and Czechs. There are about three to six U.S. players on each NHL team. There's one wacky Brazilian, and that still blows my mind. The vast majority of the league, however, is, was and will be Canadian.

National fervor satisfied? No? Okay, how about this. For someone not from Canada to make it in the NHL, he's got to be pretty amazing, just based on sheer competition. Be proud of your hockey players.

Now shut up and watch the game.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Eleven days to go!

I'm eleven days away from my next vacation. WHOO HOO!!!!!! Chicago, here I come. You may be thinking, my fictional friend, that Chicago in late winter/early spring may not be the place to go, but really, you couldn't be further off-base. Three words for you:

Saint. Patrick's. Day.

They dye their river green. Green!! In my opinion, the only place better to visit on St. Patrick's Day would be Boston. But I've been to Boston and while I loved it, this is going to be a fun, new place. I'm going to the Art Institute and the Field Museum, I'm going to eat Chicago deep-dish pizza and huge hot dogs. The diet is going to Bermuda for its vacation. We'll meet up again when we both get home.

Unless, of course, the diet meets some extremely hot islander and moves there permanently. Hey, it could happen. Even diets can get frisky.

In the meantime, I have seven more days of work. Eleven days total. One more doggie obedience class. A boatload of yard work. Yoga classes to sign up for and actually--ugh--attend. I need to start packing, so I have a rough idea what I can and can't take. And I need to buy a city map. And figure out the "el" trains.

No problem. Right?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Other People's Children

Remind me, please, when I feel less than delighted over my childless state, of shopping for friend Becky's baby shower gift.


How ridiculously expensive are all things baby?? How do people afford this stuff? And how do they keep up with the rate of change exhibited by these little darlings in terms of growth, care and feeding?

I think I should have done my shopping for said gift before driving north to chauffeur my dear friend and her husband to their vasectomy appointment today. That way, instead of being warm and caring and supportive, I could have gotten a small brass band to play "Hail The Conquering Hero." Or at least pompoms and a big sign.

I have a feeling I shall revisit this topic.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And so it begins.

Well. Isn't this great? I have a new place to yap about all that occupies my whirling dervish of a brain and--AND!--I get to pretend that people will read it and care. Whoo hoo!! My friend and blog-mentor Karina asked me [in a very reasonable tone, although I'm guessing, since it was on IM] what kind of blog I wished to start, and naturally, I was flummoxed. There are kinds of blogs? Who knew??

Okay, most of the planet. But still! Hey, I'm not even on Facebook or MySpace, so this really shouldn't be a surprise.

You might be asking yourself, my imaginary reader, you might be saying, "Self, what does Lisa Marie intend to discuss on this lovely little blog?" Handily, I have the answer to this. Ready? Wait for it....


I know! Isn't that all-encompassing and vague and lame beyond reason? I don't even feel bad about it, either.

So. For today, what will it be? The joys of being an embittered spinster? My poorly behaved wire haired fox terrier? My upcoming vacation? No...I think I shall delight my legions of fictional followers with tales of baking.

My friends know I love to bake. [Yes, I do so have friends. Don't be mean.] But this love does cross over into the unhealthy-obsession-thank-God-I'm-too-lazy-to-be-a-stalker territory. In the past week or two, I've made a coconut bundt cake, two kinds of banana bread, lemon poppyseed cake with sour cream topping, carrot cake with triple cream frosting, chocolate cake with the chocolate version of triple cream frosting, a double batch of Scotch shortbread and last night, a simple white cake with strawberry frosting. What can I say? There have been a lot of birthdays lately.

I'll focus on last night's foray.

Both of the recipes were shamelessly nabbed from other people's blogs and recipes collections, so I'm not going to act like I came up with this stuff on my own. I will say the cake was interesting in that it acted like a wacky cake with its white vinegar & baking soda combo, but also used pancake mix and eggs. Wild, huh? I can't wait to hear what people think of it. Don't worry, I'll be sure to pass these comments along.

Note to self: I need to be sure the strawberry puree I use in my next strawberry frosting isn't cold, as this made the frosting curdle a bit. Butter. So fussy.