Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Insomnia Baking

What does a single City Girl do when she's battling insomnia? Apparently, bake. It's weird because I'm way out of practice with it aside from the sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving. There's just something about baking that goes so well with being up at 5am for no reason. Maybe it's all the waiting around - for dough to chill, for the finished product to be done, for the product to cool.... And it gives you a reason to sift through saved recipes that you've been procrastinating about trying and then figuring out if you have the ingredients to make any of them. What I've produced so far in the early morning hours have been gooey walnut brownies that I spotted on FoodandWine.com and a version of black forest cookies I saw demonstrated on the PBS show, Everday Baking. With dark chocolate bars, dried cherries and walnuts, I was good to go. I am now a huge fan of Divine Chocolate, a fair trade product available at Whole Foods and perfect for baked goods. I managed to escape a 10-pound weight gain by sharing these goodies with neighbors. So far I've gotten rave reviews. I figure if I don't get over the insomnia, at least I'll have a shot at a baking career!

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

RedRocks for Lunch...and Happy Hour

For over a week, I took a mental vacation in my head and apartment. It didn't do much good for my to-do list but I do feel somewhat rejuvenated. I can always be motivated by food and thanks to my empty refrigerator and an Adventures in Shaw post, I got out and finally tried RedRocks pizza this past Friday. I can now see why they were voted 2nd best pizza out of 32 in the Washingtonian Pizza Pool. Even though the bartender got my order wrong, this was one amazing pizza!
My day started with a promising meeting that could result in a steady consulting job. I decided to treat myself to a lazy afternoon lunch. I had no idea it would last well into happy hour. When I got there I was one of maybe 5 people there. Since the weather was so nice I almost sat outside on the patio but when I noticed Top Chef was on the TV, I settled in at the bar. Within twenty minutes, the place had filled up and I had plenty of company at the bar. I quickly realized RedRocks is one of those cool neighborhood joints where people come in and are immediately friendly. I also realized that I wasn't the only one who decided to have a leisurely Friday afternoon. The most talkative of the bunch was a wiry, horn-rimmed glasses wearing, 50-something real estate investor who knew something about everything and appeared to have done it all. After several glasses of wine and leftover pizza, I was ready to head home for a nap. I was told by the bartender that I didn't have a bill. Apparently the wiry talker had paid everyone's tab at the bar. Wow! I need a fairy barfather more often.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Seen and Heard in DC

This past holiday weekend was fun and exhausting to say the least. It included birthday celebrations, a going away party, catching up with people I hadn't seen in years, and quite a bit of crazy. I don't know if it was the full moon on the 4th or resistance to summer coming to an end, but crazy was definitely on the loose. By Monday, I even came down with cold/flu-like symptoms and ended up in bed until today. Here are some of the things I saw and heard since last Friday:

  • On the X2 Bus, woman sucking on a peach points to a guy in a security guard uniform and says loudly, "are they hiring?" After guy responds with a yes, she asks, "do they take you if you got a misdemeanor?" Guy says no. She says, "It ain't like I got a felony."
  • While walking to the grocery store in flip-flops, capris, tank top, and ponytail, a cab driver slows down and asks me, "are you working?" Are all women prostitutes now?
  • At a bar in Dupont, a really young and annoying guy is trying to hit on me. When I tell him I could be his mother he says, "I don't care about the exit, let's just deal with the entrance."
  • At Utopia, a well-dressed, seemingly intelligent, non-drunk guy offers to show me something on his his cell phone. He shows me a picture of his penis taken by an ex-girlfriend. No words.
  • Attempting to help a friend celebrate her birthday at Josephine on Sunday night, Baxter and I get to the door and they're charging $40! I forgot how crazy DC can be the Sunday night before a holiday. People willing to pay anything to get into wack clubs and get drunk since they don'thave to work the next day and clubs all to eager to rob them. We caught up with her later.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Brazil vs. Argentina Soccer Match at Muse

I'm not a huge sports fan but there are a few that I enjoy watching like basketball and soccer. They're both fast-paced enough to keep my attention and the guys are generally hot. I love watching a highly anticipated game in a room full of passionate fans. Tomorrow, The Muse in Chinatown is offering up the Brazil vs. Argentina soccer match on six screens along with some great drink specials. I love Brazilian food, music, and culture and its high on my list of fantasy vacations. I'm hoping the venue will offer a taste of some of that culture, especially music, during and after the match. I'll be cheering on Brazil but there's also an incentive: a free shot whenever Brazil scores! Get the details at dcgroove.com.

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Models of the Runway: How Stupid is This?

In the words of my friend Lena, the show Models of the Runway, which airs right after Project Runway on Lifetime, is a waste of air time. It seemed like a good idea in theory but has just fallen flat. Given the success of America's Next Top Model, one would think this new show would work. I have to admit that Top Model is one of my guilty pleasures. It's hard to deny that the show reinforces the stereotype that models are just stupid. And it doesn't help that in the fashion industry, models are expected to be very young which comes with obvious problems. They're often awkward in their own bodies and don't have a clear sense of who they are which comes through in their photos. Last season, one doe-eyed contestant could only manage one facial expression - confused. She, however, was preferred over a talented but "too old" 25 year old. But you get a combination of things with Top Model. It's comedic to watch the drama between the girls, enlightening with regard to the world of modeling, and offers a critical forum around beauty and acceptable female images in this country and around the world (since they do go to other countries). So far, Models of the Runway just seems like an afterthought to the creators. And a pet peeve of mine is that the age of the model is not displayed by their name when being interviewed yet designers ages are always shown. Hmmm....why is that?

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Still on the High Horse

I am watching the Chris Brown interview on Larry King Live with a necessary glass of wine. The assault on Rihanna by Chris Brown was hard for me to hear about because I have personal experience with dating violence and know family and friends who have experienced either dating or domestic violence. I think these two young stars dealt with the aftermath of the incident terribly. I mean really, jet skiing at P. Diddy's? These two people have millions of impressionable young fans who needed to see this as a serious incident. But then, as far as victims of violence are concerned, trauma can make you do all kinds of things - including getting a gun tattoo. But anyway, I am having difficulty listening to Chris Brown who I think is just trying to save his career. I don't see the point of even having him on the show. He has said very little to nothing about his state of mind and reasons for why he behaved so violently. But then, this is not unusual for abusers. They tend to see their actions as justified no matter what anyone says and will continue to claim "love" for their victims. Like so many others, I think he is: delusional, insincere, in denial, defensive, immature, arrogant, and will most likely abuse again. Sadly, I think many of those characteristics also describe Rihanna. It seems as though many women don't wake up until well after their twenties and some never do. I think Brown, like so many others, unfortunately still believes that violence in relationships is just part of life and this belief is detrimental for both men and women. And why does his mommy need to be there or "keep an eye on him" while picking up trash in Virginia? This coddling of grown men by their mother, or other female relatives, is pathetic and a significant part of the problem. I don't think his sentencing or treatment will be effective. An "aberration?" I think he will hook up with another immature woman and he will hit her too. And like teenage girl-loving R. Kelly, female fans will be there to defend him and buy his music. Until we change our beliefs about violence, especially in intimate relationships in this society, nothing will ever change.

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