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Category Archives: Relationships

Separation Anxiety

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Oh, hello blog. I hope I did not lose any of my dedicated readers (all ten of you). I was on vacation down in the land of the South and then I got lazy for a while when I got back. Inexcusable, I know, but that’s my excuse.  The plan to visit the ‘Rents for 4th o’ July had been in the works for a while, but it wasn’t until about 2 weeks prior to departure that we realized we would have to do something with Moriarty. I immediately set out to scour Yelp for all the dog kennels in Chicago. Some were straight up ridiculous (“Upgrade your pup to an executive suite for just $20 more per night”) and almost all had at least a few horror stories in their reviews. The anxiety began to set in.

I probably wouldn’t argue if you said that we are attached to our dog perhaps to an unhealthy level, but that’s just the way it is. I convinced myself that leaving him for 4 nights would send the clear message to him that we no longer loved him and had abandoned him forever. Now, I don’t know if a dog would even be able to think at that level, but that didn’t make the worry any less. We finally settled on a boarding joint recommended by a friend, that was modest in price and “suites,” but seemed to have a dedicated and caring staff, with plenty of Facebook pictures to prove their dogs aren’t chained to trees all day and fed rats. We dropped off Arty a couple hours before take off, and I would be lying if I said the look he gave us as he walked down the hall didn’t stick with me the entire time we were gone. I know, I know, I make myself sick with this ridiculousness, but I can’t help it. Texas, meanwhile, was great. We enjoyed the company of family, and more importantly, visited more than once the home of the best donuts IN THE WORLD.

When we got back into town we rushed to the kennel, cursing the Chicago traffic the whole time, and ran through the doors, envisioning some sort of movie-scene leap into arms reunion. As it was, it took them about five minutes to get our dog away from his puppy friends, and when he saw us, he was clearly a little confused. This just confirmed my fears that he had believed he was abandoned forever. Actually, after the 30-minute car ride home, he slowly came around to remembering us, and becoming the same great/crazy pet he was when we dropped him off.  Pictures from the kennel proved he was perfectly content while we were gone, and all the anxiety was probably just one-sided.

On a terribly sad note, we got word last night that Moriarty’s best friend from the neighborhood, a 9 month old bull mastif puppy, that was about 12 times his size, died of some sudden onset crazy respiratory virus. We were sad all night, and still are, even though he was not our dog. It also put into perspective that it is not embarrassing (well, not THAT embarrassing) to worry and fuss over and love our pup like we do, because if that had happened to him, we would be heartbroken.  That is all, I will be back to blogging about bacon etc. tomorrow. I apologize for the absence. Here’s a bonus lovely picture of Chicago skyline taken by The Wife to make up for it.

“Y’know, this pasta is delicious, but it could really use more booze.”

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That’s what I assume the thought process was for whoever invented vodka sauce. I didn’t know much about vodka sauce, until I made this and turned to my trusty friend, Wikipedia. Oh, Wikipedia, all those college professors said I couldn’t use you as a source, but they didn’t say I couldn’t use you as the primary way to find sources, but really just quote from you… I digress, I didn’t know much except vodka sauce is deeelicious. Turns out the alcohol in vodka, much like wine, enhances certain flavors, especially in tomatoes. This, combined with a bunch of cream and butter makes for a great time. I do the grocery shopping ’round here but usually ask The Wife for input as to what she would like to eat for the week. I don’t know why I keep doing this, since it seems to irrationally fluster her and she usually just blurts out “I JUST WANT SUSHI!!” but this time she contributed “a light pasta would be nice.”  Maybe it would, Wife, but light is not on the table tonight. I present you penne alla vodka with fresh basil and prosciutto.

Bonus prosciutto shot.

Super Exciting Married Couple Date Night!!!

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If you know the Wife & I, you know we really know how to party it up big time (can’t you tell by the “bigs” Potbelly’s sandwich above?) It appears as though summer or Spring or whatever it is now has decided to stick around Chicago finally and that means we can get out and walk around the hood without having huddle under an umbrella or put on gloves for the first time in about seven months. What, then, does a young married couple living in the big city do on a Saturday night you wonder? Well it starts off with dinner at the finest hot sandwich joint in town, then leads down the street to the newest froyo shop, of course.

There are literally three frozen yogurterias within 20 steps of each other along Belmont. The award for worst name goes to “Tang Cups,” which we obviously passed by to head to the newest and bestest “Forever Yogurt.” All sarcasm aside, it is pretty damn amazing frozen yogurts. Pictures is Lavender honey/cake batter with berries and Intelligentsia coffee/Red Velvet cake yogurt with heath and butterfingers. Yeah, I said it. RED.VELVET.CAKE.YOGURT.

It is nice just to be able to able to walk around, even if it’s hard to make it half a block without someone fawning over our pups and even when the Yankees are in town for the whole weekend and our hood is filled with extra annoying New Yorkers. Hey, jerks, just because our city is cleaner and our pizza is better doesn’t mean you have to come into town and talk louder than all get out as you walk down our streets. Sorry if anybody reading is a New Yorker, but really, get over yourselves.

How do you finish off such a rowdy and thrilling night?

Finishing up a series that we have taken three years to get through somehow. I swear, if things don’t turn out well for Bubbles, I am going to cry and then punch something. Who knows what late night craziness might be in store afterwards? Maybe a second trip to the froyo shop, because we are crazay like that.  I hope your weekend is just as enjoyable.

**giggle**

 

 

Bread, a Love Story

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beauty

Oh, sourdough. I do not recall when we first met. Perhaps it was on a blustery San Francisco morn, perhaps it was on a simple sandwich. I do know that before I came to appreciate your holey intricacies, my love for you was growing slowly, steadily, deep in my belly.

There are few things better than fresh bread. I am not much of a baker, but I yearned to make bread. We got a bread maker for a wedding gift and I immediately set out making all the various loafs in the book. Something was missing though, it seemed too easy. The loafs, while good, lacked soul. As I watched through the small steamy window at the paddle kneading the dough, I wished I were that paddle, and though I ate the bread with gusto, I only felt more empty afterwards.

Okay, it’s not as intense as that, but I really wanted to start making some badass bread, and then I learned that you can make sourdough in a Dutch oven using a no knead method and did a little more research and found out how easy it is to maintain sourdough starter, so last week I set out on a mission. I obtained a starter from the reputable, Breadtopia and within five days of ordering, a beautiful, crispy hot loaf was upon our table. Here was the process.

“But wait,” you say. “You didn’t teach us anything. Is this just meant to gloat, why such a braggart?” I don’t want to take credit where it is not due. I pretty much followed exactly the instructions for the starter from Breadtopia, and then used this no knead recipe from the same site as a guide.  It really was super easy and I encourage everyone to bake your own bread, at least once. I could continue to wax poetic about my lust for yeast, but I will instead leave you with this, stated better than I ever could.

 

Bread, 

you rise

from flour, 
water
and fire.
Dense or light,
flattened or round,
you duplicate
the mother’s
rounded womb,
and earth’s
twice-yearly
swelling.
How simple
you are, bread,
and how profound!
You line up
on the baker’s 
powdered trays
like silverware or plates
or pieces of paper
and suddenly
life washes 
over you,
there’s the joining of seed
and fire,
and you’re growing, growing
all at once
like
hips, mouths, breasts,
mounds of earth,
or people’s lives.
The temperature rises, you’re overwhelmed
by fullness, the roar
of fertility,
and suddenly 
your golden color is fixed.
And when your little wombs
were seeded,
a brown scar
laid its burn the length
of your two halves’
toasted
juncture.
Now, 
whole,
you are 
mankind’s energy,
a miracle often admired,
the will to live itself.

O bread familiar to every mouth,
we will not kneel before you:
men
do no
implore
unclear gods
or obscure angels:
we will make our own bread
out of sea and soil,
we will plant wheat
on our earth and the planets,
bread for every mouth, 
for every person,
our daily bread. 
Because we plant its seed
and grow it
not for one man
but for all,
there will be enough:
there will be bread
for all the peoples of the earth.
And we will also share with one another
whatever has
the shape and the flavor of bread:
the earth itself,
beauty
and love–
all
taste like bread
and have its shape,
the germination of wheat.
Everything
exists to be shared,
to be freely given,
to multiply.

This is why, bread,
if you flee
from mankind’s houses,
if they hide you away
or deny you,
if the greedy man
pimps for you or 
the rich man 
takes you over,
if the wheat
does not yearn for the furrow and the soil:
then, bread, 
we will refuse to pray:
bread
we will refuse to beg.
We will fight for you instead, side by side with the others,
with everyone who knows hunger.
We will go after you
in every river and in the air.
We will divide the entire earth among ourselves
so that you may germinate,
and the earth will go forward
with us:
water, fire, and mankind
fighting at our side.
Crowned
with sheafs of wheat, 
we  will win
earth and bread for everyone.
Then 
life itself
will have the shape of bread,
deep and simple, 
immeasurable and pure.
Every living thing
will have its share
of soil and life,
and the bread we eat each morning,
everyone’s daily bread,
will be hallowed
and sacred,
because it will have been won
by the longest and costliest
of human struggles.

This earthly Victory
does not have wings:
she wears bread on her shoulders instead.
Courageously she soars,
setting the world free,
like a baker
born aloft on the wind.

-Pablo Neruda, Ode to Bread

Outsmarted by a Smartphone

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I recently gave in and joined the smartphone revolution. My contract was up with my oppressive, manipulative, evil megalithic corporate bully    carrier, so I was enjoying the freedom until my current phone completely gave up on life. Being staunchly against Apple, not necessarily because of their constantly updating product lineup, but mostly due to their smug advertising campaigns–”If you don’t have an Iphone, well, you are a poor, friendless chump!”– I set out to find the best phone I could get fo’ free. Now, my history with cell phones has been pretty unfortunate. I have fond memories of my first phone, the iconic Nokia 3310. Back in the day, playing snake for hours on this thing covertly under the desk in high school was the bees knees.

How I miss thee.

It seems like these things never broke no matter how many times they were dropped, thrown or stomped on. Eventually my lust for new technology took over and I began a ten year journey of short term relationships with pretty, but ultimately flawed and damaged devices. I also dropped my fair share of phones into bathtubs and toilets, or left in the back seat of cabs. Back when they were trying to make cell phones as small as possible, they were super easy to lose or sit on and crush. Meanwhile, prices for replacements and contract lengths increased so it seemed I was always stuck with a semi-functioning device.

Then, “Smart” phones came along and it seemed like all of a sudden everyone around me was walking around with a personal assistant, magical machine. I tried to to ignore it and not seem jealous as I fought with my increasingly ornery Dumb Phone and it’s faulty, spastic touch screen.

It was a mutually abusive relationship

So I bit the bullet, signed my life over for another two years and got a shiny, new, HTC Inspire 4g. Like the beginning of any romance, the first few days were the best. We were inseparable.  I spent hours exploring every feature and part of its frame. It asked me many questions, and got to know me, eventually a little too well…see, I underestimated how smart these phones are. I admit, although I am pretty savvy with other technology, I didn’t know a lot about these things before getting one. All of a sudden, my phone knows more about my life than I do. It took the liberty to add all my Facebook friends’ birthdays to my calendar, starting poking around in my bank accounts, stored my apartment location with a variety of restaurant seeking services, and began reading my emails to filter into folders of it’s choosing. It feels like things are moving way too fast and I don’t know how to stop it. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the thing and sleep with it right next to me, but I have been here before with many a phone and part of me wishes I could just go back to the one who got away, that trusty Nokia 3310 and all of its 8-bit glory.  Sorry this post didn’t have any bacon in it, the next will. I promise.

Bachelors and Bocadillos

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The Wife is out of town for work/a family visit for five days and that means I have the run of the place for the first time since gettin’ hitched.  Time to turn this condo into a bachelor pad. Problem is, I don’t think I was very good at being a bachelor when I was one.  It’s basically going to equate more talking to the dog as though he is people, singing along to Bruce Springsteen at louder levels, more cereal for meals that aren’t breakfast, and all the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens I can handle.

Let me pause here and educate you peeps about this amazing television phenomenon for those of you who may not know. It’s basically guys like this:

Dude looks legit.

laying out how aliens have come to Earth throughout history and done everything from collect DNA samples from all species (the real Noah’s Ark), to building the pyramids, to helping the Nazis build a time machine. Now here’s where it gets interesting. These are like hour and a half long episodes and I start off chuckling at the ridiculous speculations and exaggerations of these nut jobs, but I will be damned if by the end of each episode I’m not starting to think that maybe aliens have used ultra powerful lasers from satellites to manifest hurricanes in the ocean so large that they caused the ice age (actual segment of this show). Where was I? Oh yes, I catch some every now and then but The Wife can only stomach so much so I plan to get my fill of crazy this weekend.

The real question is what to do about food? See, I do most  all of the cooking in the house, and do a fine job of keeping us nice and “Midwest fit,” but I don’t really like cooking for one. Sure I would be happy just to alternate Chipotle and Five Guys every night, but I do have a little bit of self control.  So I basically eat whatever is easiest and on hand. Tonight that means a bocadillo. See, when we were in Spain for our honeymoon, it seemed like everyone was always carrying around little sandwiches. On the trains, on the beach, on the street, everywhere. It only took a couple of days before we realized these were not sandwiches at all, but bocadillos. Essentially, they are a small sandwich filled with jamon, maybe cheese, and maybe some tomatoes or roasted red pepper if you want to get really fancy. It is pretty much the perfect meal for any time of day, especially for a country so enamored with ham, and by the end of our stay, we too could be found in the park with a couple bocadillos wrapped in foil shoved in our satchels. I guess this is a recipe so here you go:

What you need

*Baguette-ish bread, something with a crust to it.

*Cheese. Chevre goes beautifully, a manchego would be more traditional. Anything you have that isn’t Kraft singles will do.

*Jamon serrano, iberico, prosciutto, whatever you can find. Trader Joes prosciutto here. How much jamon, you ask? That depends how Spanish you are feeling. Today, I am feeling very Spanish.

*Sundried tomatoes.

What you do

Slice that bread and put it together, man, you never make a sandwich?.

“But, what about sides, ” you ask “Just the bocadillo?”

Sides? What does this look like to you? A diner? You want a side, you put some extra damn jamon on the plate and call it a side.

This, people, is one of many reasons why I believe Spain to be the best food country in the world. More on this later.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a date with the pup and Ancient Aliens. Did you know that they came down and harvested most of our stores of gold to use in their own technology!?

"What happened to the strong female presence in my life?" He thinks to himself.

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