Sunday, December 31, 2006

happy happy

We went to Lyette and Jay's wedding last night on Cape Cod.

The Greek Orthodox ceremony was fascinating (and beautiful). We gave the Freeds a ride to the church, and on the way back the four of us tried to remember when the split between the Catholic and Orthodox churches happened.

The conversation went something like this:

Alisa: "That wasn't all that dissimilar from the Catholic ceremony."

Leigh: "I guess that's not all that surprising, right?"

Jim: "Wait...who was Justinian?"

Dick: "The pope, or the emperor?"

And so on. Yes, we're that geeky.

Anyway, we returned to the lovely Coonamessett Inn, and in true Mercier/Spiros form, we celebrated. (Read: much food, wine, and awesome music. Woo!)

Lyette and Jay just glowed. It was a great way to start a holiday weekend.

Mazel tov, y'all! And happy new year!

Friday, December 29, 2006


A few years ago -- OK, more than a few, since it was before I knew him -- my husband got his parents a stovetop popcorn popper for Christmas.

After his mother made some pretty fantastic spicy popcorn, Jim became enamored of the popcorn popper. He wanted one. A lot.

More than life, libery, and the pursuit of happiness, or at least so it seemed.

All season long, I've been telling folks at work -- both of the coworker and customer variety -- that my husband has wanted a Whirley Pop for years. I got assorted reactions to this statement, mostly of the "You look so young, you can't possibly have known you husband for years unless you married him when you were both underage" type. (I generally ignored those.)

It's true, though; Jim has been jonesing for a stovetop popper pretty much as long as I've known him, and I kept shooting it down. I like my microwave popcorn just fine, you see, and I just couldn't conscience anything more.


Today, when I got in to work, I was put on the task of repricing all the post-Christmas sale items. It was mostly cookbooks and random holiday food items, but one thing jumped out at me.

Whirleys were down to $11.99 (and on that I get a 20% discount).

I hemmed.

I hawed.

I got Jim a Whirley Pop.

And I have to say? He looks pretty happy right about now.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

all i want for christmas

My parents got me a crepe pan, collapsible silicone measuring cups and colander, and a fondue cookbook.

My husband got me an electric garlic roaster.

My in-laws got me chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.

My parents got me a fantastic clothing gift-card.

My husband got me makeup and a makeup gift-card.

My in-laws got me a makeup gift-card.

Do you think I'm predictable?

I do.

I also think it's time to hit the gym.

And then the mall.

Monday, December 18, 2006

the best things in life are fried

Last night I made a gazillion latkes, and now my house smells like fried oniony potato. Yum.

I've actually never made latkes before, despite their ovewhelmingly delicious nature. (Does anything take as well to frying as a potato? I think not.) I have extraordinarily fond memories of scarfing up perfectly crisp potato pancakes in my grandma's kitchen every Chanukah. Mom reminded me this morning that my grandfather actually did the frying, which I can vaguely recall; more, though, I see both Gram and Poppoo in my mind's eye doing a complicated dance around the stove, trying to stay out of each other's way -- and most likely failing, but that was all part of the fun.

I did not follow my grandma's recipe exactly, since she used to use Crisco and I used vegetable oil last night. I also chose to forgo the time-honored secret ingredient of so many Jewish-family latke recipes (knuckles), so I chucked the box grater and used the grating disk on my Cuisinart for the first time ever. Spinny! Woo!

Yes, I have a warped sense of what is and is not fun.

And what is fun? Making several batches of regular potato pancakes and several of potato-zucchini pancakes with accompaniments of applesauce, sour cream, and horseradish sour cream. I also served a smoked salmon cucumber roulade, but I think I rolled it the wrong way, so when I tried to slice it it kind of, um, fell apart. (My guests and I inhaled it anyway, so I can assure you it still tasted good -- it just looked terrible.) Seems there's just something about having a bunch of good friends over for a lot of latkes that makes it a party.

There's also just something, at least with me involved, about it not being a party until something runs wildly amok. Last night, that moment came after the menorah candles burned out and we lit all the other candles -- and, briefly, the tablecloth, which was the second casualty of the night. It followed closely on the heels of the first, a wine glass, unfortunately full of wine, that fell prey to the power of the Wii-mote.

(Given how many wineglasses I have destroyed in my life just through my own klutziness, last night's Nintendo-related accident is still, to my mind better than putting a big hole in a wall we don't own, shattering a television set, or tearing one's rotator cuff. And I usually burn me when entertaining, not an utterly replaceable piece of inexpensive fabric. So I'm not unduly perturbed, I gotta say.)

I even found myself inclined to load up some holiday-ish music. The playlist comprised Hanukkah Rocks and New Orleans Christmas (thanks Rachel!!). The cheesy carols playing on endless loop at the mall get to me -- not that I have any experience hearing the same fifteen songs over and over and over for nine hours, no, not at all -- but last night's combination was the perfect musical antidote to all that.

My original reason for the having the party, I can now admit, was slightly selfish. I've been feeling rather Grinchlike lately, almost like I've been caught out of time in an entirely different part of the year. Having friends over, though, makes a holiday out of any moment. So while I still have to break out The Messiah at some point this week, and there's no snow on the ground? Last night was a pretty great holiday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

maybe choosing to take pucks to the head is a sign

I am not entirely sure what this phenomenon says about me, given that my favorite players are always goalies.

In fact, interviewing CuJo was far and away the highlight of my brief career as a sports -- all right, a hockey -- columnist. This is, I should add, the same career (for the illustrious (snrk!) establishment of the John Burroughs World) during which I actually finagled a press pass and got to sit in the fabulously luxurious press box at a Blues game in the then-new Kiel Center. I did so on a night that will live in my memory as the night I met Bobby Hull, who was drunk and hit on me while his son scored a double hat trick. I also met Bobby Orr, who was a true gentleman and herded the lascivious Hull away from the wide-eyed, relatively freaked-out girl in the elevator who was frantically taking notes on a steno pad, which she only had because she thought it was somehow reporter-esque.

Not to say I didn't turn the experience into a column. I did. No one much cared, including me.

But the day I got to linger outside the locker room after pre-skate and ask what had to be the dumbest questions ever ("So, uh, do you get tired during games?") to a young and probably at least moderately unbalanced guy who had the image of a rabid evil dog painted on his helmet?

Pure joy. Did I turn it into a column? Probably. Did anyone care? Hells yeah. CuJo was a god back then.

Goalies may be crazy, but their fans? Positively wacked.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

warning: theatre geek-out

Oh Doogie....

(Although the best part might be stage veteran Megan Mullally nearly losing it when they hit the counterpoint.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

either they like me, or i'm a pushover

Speaking of aprons, if you need me over the next few weeks, you might want to try Williams-Sonoma at the Maine Mall at the following times:

Thursday 12/7, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday 12/8, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Monday 12/11, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Tuesday 12/12, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. E.T.A.: 11:30 a.m. -6 p.m.
Thursday 12/14, 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. (Happy birthday, Mom!)
Friday 12/15, 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 12/16, 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.*
Tuesday 12/19, 12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday 12/20, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Thursday 12/21, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday 12/22, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday 12/23, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

On the upside, the net pay just might cover everything I've bought there this season. Woo-hoo!

*I don't normally work this type of late-ending shift, but I traded with a friend who forgot she needed that day off. Might as well, right?

Monday, December 04, 2006

i think i need a new apron, too

I woke up this morning to snow.

I am overwhelmed by a desire to spend the day baking.

Betty Friedan is probably spinning in her grave because of me.

Still, I bet she'd like my cookies.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"choose monkeys or penguins"

But what if I wanted one of each?

In reality I neither want nor need these, but I do think they are the cutest things I've seen in the "entirely non-essential gadget" category in a long long time.

Plus the ad copy is unintentionally hilarious. Good times, good times.