Thursday, November 30, 2006

ho there spirit, weather wander you?

Tuesday, November 21st: Earliest snowfall in decades recorded in South Carolina (during our visit there).

Thursday, November 30th: Between one and two feet of snow predicted for St. Louis and other parts of Missouri and the Midwest.

Monday, November 27th throughFriday, December 1st: Highs in the upper 50s to 60 in Portland, Maine. No snow yet this season.

That alternate universe on DS9 is starting to sound more and more credible

Saturday, November 25, 2006

an utter and complete nonsequitur

Because there is nothing for post-Thanksgiving recovery like Tim Gunn, Stephen Colbert, and Thomas Jefferson.

Friday, November 17, 2006

our reservations are only for two, thanks

I would put money on the idea that the timing of this article will inspire even more grandbaby-lust in my dad. "Look! The Times says Charleston's a great place to go with children!" (He's adorable when it comes to wanting grandkids.)

Which is indubitable, as I can attest -- I loved going to Charleston with my parents and paternal grandparents when I was younger. You can look out over the water and see Fort Sumter, then wander past the beautiful pastel-colored houses surrounding The Battery, where actual Civil War-era cannon still stand on display. The weekend open-air market has a number of Gullah arts stands, while the longest continuously operating Reform congregation in the United States is just off King Street. Plus the weather is usually gorgeous and the city is fantastically walkable. It's very much a southern Boston in terms of history, but friendlier.

Of course, Dad will likely follow up his original comment about children with, "So when are you having one?"

I have run out of pithy responses to that question, but I can say for sure that somewhere between the law-and-policy schooling, the moving, the full-time working, and the new ponderings about the Culinary Institute?

Yeah, we'll get right on that.

Monday, November 13, 2006

justify my love

It's never too early for a New Year's Resolution, right?

Well, perhaps it is, especially given that I neither believe in the institution nor actually ever feel like resolving anything come January 1st. (Really, does anyone? Is anyone even awake on January 1st?)

However, an e-mail I received today from Wine Spectator's Sips and Tips prompted me to change my mind just this once. So, here goes:

I resolve to try every wine on this list before the next year's results come out.

Which is really just a seasonal way of justifying my desire to host a blind tasting party. Who's free in January?

Á votre santé!

Friday, November 10, 2006

southern comfort

I am so very much looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.

I always look forward to Thanksgiving -- it's by far my favorite winter family-gathering holiday. This year it holds even more appeal, for several reasons:

1) We get to spend time with my parents at their house. Which contains them, the dog, a heated pool, and a jacuzzi. I may never leave.

2) My mother actually delegated responsibility to me for several holiday meal dishes. I will be making a salad of haricots verts, toasted walnuts, blue cheese, and dijon vinaigrette; roasted butternut squash with shallots and sage; and my soon-to-be-famous cranberry relish, which actually consists of opening a few jars of Apple-Orange Cranberry Relish and putting it in a bowl. (I don't work on commission; it's seriously that good.)

3) We are going to spend two nights in Charleston to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We are going to stay at a lovely inn (that also has a heated pool), eat ridiculously sublime food and walk around one of the most architecturally wonderful antebellum cities in the nation.

4) Did I mention staying at my parents' house? With the pool? And the jacuzzi?

Mom and Dad have invited an assortment of friends to join in the turkey-day festivities, which makes me happy, because I think Thanksgiving is always a "the more, the merrier" situation. What can I say? I like parties.

Then again, I stumbled upon Banana Republic's new "Celebrate"advertising campaign, and -- seriously? What were they thinking? First of all, at least one guy in the picture looks like he's ready to leave, given the scarf, and the human being with its back to the camera is, from that angle, entirely androgynous; I can only assume it's female because it's carrying a purse. One girl looks angry, bored, stoned, or all of the above; one girl and one guy are staring longingly at the androgyne; another girl is staring longingly at the first starer; and none of them appears to be interacting in any way. They don't even seem to have coordinated on the dress code, which, come on, Banana. This is no way to sell clothing.

Moreover, if any party I ever hosted looked like that one? I think I'd become a hermit. Or get all new friends. Yargh.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

is santa on PB's catalogue list?

After six months of occasional (read: obsessive) scrolling though our honeymoon pictures online, I finally got my act together and started printing some of the ones I would eventually like to frame and display.

That's the good news. The bad news, of course, is that now I need frames.

I'm not normally picky about my picture frames -- the more minimal, the better, at least if you look at the art already hanging in our apartment. When I was most active in photography (back in the pre-digital days of high school), I displayed a lot of my work, but never framed, only matted. I'd like to say it was all to highlight the primacy of the art, but really it's just because that was what we could do in the darkroom.

So now I'm actually trying to have confidence in my ability as an artist and give some of my work the credence it deserves, while being both creative and conscious of interior design in not only our current home but also in whatever home(s) we may occupy in the near or the distant future.

If you made it through that sentence without gouging your eyes out, you probably understand why I've come thisclose to just hurling the prints out the window and forgetting I ever had this idea.

Pottery Barn, however, has a series of multi-size opening frames that come in black or white and accommodate the collage-like display style I'm looking to achieve. They epitomize my personal framed-art design aesthetic.

They are also slightly outside my price range.

Still, I went to the mall yesterday to acquire the three-opening white wood frame for a few of the 4x6 prints I have. It looks fantastic. And despite our recent absurd eucational spending, I need not cringe every time I look at it, because I did not spend my own money.

When I started my seasonal job, you see, I learned that gift cards from one Williams-Sonoma store are accepted at the others. My brain immediately translated this nugget of information as, "I can shop at Pottery Barn!" So I hurried to the frame section, gift cards clutched in my hot little hand, and now have a pretty fantastic start to capitalizing on the one artistic hobby for which I have a shred of actual talent.

I have my eye on the multi-size nine-opening black wood frame for my next project -- which, sadly, my gift cards will not quite cover. However, the other piece of information I learned is that if I were a long-term employee, I would also get my discount at the other stores. It would not be gift-card-funded, but my brain immediately translated this second nugget of information as, "I could shop with abandon at Pottery Barn!"

I may have found incentive to stay on.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

a generally perfect evening

Chinese food. Yummy, spicy, prepared-by-other-people Chinese food. Enough for leftovers.

Election coverage. Stephanopolous, Williams, Colbert, and Stewart in particular.

And the cherry on top? Britney dumped Kevin. My faith in the universe is moderately restored.

Monday, November 06, 2006

i'm surprised they didn't just ask for our firstborn

Dear Multiple Prominent Graduate Schools of Law and/or Public Policy,

Tonight, after much sweat and toil over testing and personal statement writing, we threw wads of cash at you as the last step of a concerted effort to get you to accept Mr. Maltese as a student. We wrote checks and gave you the embossed numbers from several different pieces of rectangular colored plastic. We did this all for the privilege of waiting to hear if we will be packing our bags and moving to your location sometime next summer.

Here's the really funny part: If you do in fact grant admission to your illustrious halls of learning, we don't recoup our wager. It would seem only fair for you to then throw wads of cash at us. This is, after all, the premise of the state lotto and the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes.

But for you, that's not how it works. (Are you dealing with a slightly different demographic? Hm.) If Jim actually gains entry -- thanks to his stellar background and hard-working nature -- into your exclusive club of academe, we actually get to throw more cash at you for the next four whole years!

Clearly -- despite the elusive and only vaguely possible promise of merit scholarships -- you have worked this out to your advantage. You are indeed very clever. I doff my hat.

As for my next order of business (post-hat-doffing, that is)? I'm going to go cut up all my credit cards and place an urgent call to Ed. If you need to reach me tomorrow, check the library. I seem to remember a children's how-to book for turning straw into gold.



Friday, November 03, 2006

...which is why we're friends

If you thought I was the biggest grammar nerd in your life, then you haven't met my best friend.

I trust everyone to go read her fabulous piece. Or at least to rethink his/her stance on prepositions.