Sunday, May 28, 2006

Learning to Cook

I turn 42 tomorrow. I bought myself an emerald ring and a charcoal grill. And I made a vow:

I will learn to cook.

Sure, I can prepare a few basic items like homemade spaghetti sauce, sausage and potato omelets and Christmas cookies. However, I mostly survive on frozen and take-out dinners. Or chips and salsa. Or tortillas and queso. I simply have never felt the urge to create in the kitchen. (Unless chocolate and cookie dough were involved, that is.)

I’ve never grilled a steak in my life. In Houston, I had a gas grill on which I cooked the usual burgers, chicken and hot dogs. Never beef or sausage—that was always a man’s job. And so I never learned how to grill the perfect steak. It’s way past the time to rectify that omission.

But really, I want to learn to cook because I miss fresh fajitas and other good Tex-Mex food – meals that I took for granted while in Houston. In fact, I most often would forgo Mexican food in favor of Italian when I lived there. However, six months and 1,800 miles away from original Tex-Mex, I find I crave it more often than I ever have before.

Thus, if I can’t get the real thing up here, I might as well learn to prepare it. To that end, I purchased a Texas foods cookbook the last time I was in Houston. It offered recipes for both beef and chicken fajitas, for frijoles and arroz ala mexicana, blackberry cobbler and for hot German potato salad, amid lots of other tempting items. How could I possibly pass up such a book – much less not use it?

So, today I did use it. I marinated and grilled some steak for my first attempt at beef fajitas. At some future date I intend to prepare a true Tex-Mex meal for my co-workers, and I should try out the recipes first, right? I figured this weekend would be as good as any to start, beginning with the fajitas, some Mexican cornbread and rice. And lo! My neighbors caught me at the grill and invited me to join them for a grilling party at the complex’s gazebo on Monday afternoon. So, I will have guinea pigs for my first efforts.

Lucky them.

At last!

I turned on the A/C yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours.

At last...warm weather!

Friday, May 26, 2006

I am...

My friend Lindsey tagged me on this...

I AM occasionally creative. Easily bored. Online chatting with a co-worker in London and another in Guadalajara

I WANT shrimp tacos from Berryhill’s. More hot water. To stop planning and start doing.

I WISH it were Saturday. I weren’t addicted to TV.

I MISS hot weather. Having more living space. 3rd Saturday lunch.

I HEAR a table saw. Customer service cold-calling with my script. Phones ringing incessantly. Hoobastank ‘The Reason.’

I WONDER wonder wonder wonder, trudge trudge trudge trudge, streeking streeking.

I REGRET not splurging on fun vacations when my friends asked me to go with them.

I AM NOT slow. Patient. High-maintenance.

I DANCE whenever I hear music that makes me want to dance, wherever I happen to be.

I AM NOT ALWAYS patient. Organized. Motivated.

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS dumb Christmas ornaments.

I WRITE less often than I should for myself. All the time for my job.

I CONFUSE left with right. Names and faces. Other people when I hold 3 conversations at once.

I SHOULD work on my manuscripts more diligently. Get Angel groomed. Not be afraid of biking on these hills.

I START lots of projects.

I FINISH very few of them.

I TAG Glenny , Paladin, and My Evil Twin.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


After posting my retraction about the rain, I noticed this column in today's Boston Globe. His commentary is spot-on. And it's amusing to read that former Bostonians have found better lives in other cities...

...because you wouldn't know that from listening to the natives up here. Oh nooooo! This is the most perfect place to live in the entire world...

mostly because here we have outrageously expensive housing, the Red Sox who won the World Series 2 seasons ago, cold weather that lasts even into May, a baseball team that finally won the big series in 2004, nasty snarling traffic through a leaking expensive tunnel, the Sox team that finally beat Babe Ruth's curse and managed to win a pennant a couple of years ago, the Kennedys who make the news for their driving habits almost as often as their politics, and lots of red-wearing baseball fans still doing the jig about a game that happened--

Er, I digress. In short, it's good to have my views validated.

Rain, rain...go away!

er, um...AHEM. I have an announcement to make:

I take back everything I said about rain.
I want it to go away now.

I was inconvenienced this morning trying to find an alternate route to work. I was stuck in crawling traffic, and ended up idling on a bridge. Under which water rushed at a very alarming rate, with no discernable space between the water and the base of the bridge. All I could think was, "Undermining the supports. Undermining the supports. Move, cars, move!" I probably repeated that mantra for five minutes before traffic began to move again and I was able to proceed off the bridge.

Like every Houstonian, I'm used to this flood thing. It's just that this place has so many brooks, creeks and rivers, combined with hills to force the water to flow faster and with torturously narrow winding's already a nightmare for most traffic conditions. Flooded roads just make it worse.

So, please, gimme some sunny days.

And then a thunderstorm or two.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Singing in the rain...

I’ve been in Massachusetts for six months now, and most of the precipitation has been of the frozen variety. Which, of course, has been completely foreign to me: strong wind battering against the townhouse without the accompanying pitter-patter on windows; the sand and grit embedded in every wet patch; the splat of snow flying off the car in front of me or dropping unexpectedly from overhead lines.

I expected to find the winter strange and different, and I wasn’t disappointed. However, it wasn’t until Spring arrived that I realized I had been unnerved by how silent the weather here has been.

Because I’m used to rainy weather.

Nasty downpours pounding against every hard surface. Thunder claps rattling dishes in the cupboards. Light showers gently tapping on windows. Squalls rushing through trees, spattering drops in random patterns. The swish of tires on wet pavement. The slap of sprayed puddles against the windscreen.

I haven’t heard any of those sounds for months. And I probably never would have realized how much I missed the sound of rain…until it started raining yesterday. I lay awake last night simply enjoying the wind and rain hammering against my bedroom windows. On the way to work this morning, I actually drove through puddles like we splashed through them as a child. Rain was fun again, almost new. Everyone arrived this morning grumbling about the weather -- but I just grinned.

Unfortunately, now that the really wet stuff has arrived, I find I'm holding my breath as I listen for the sound of thunder.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

oh CRAP !!!

My 15-inch PowerBook imploded the other night.
It's at CompUSA right now, and after only one night I'm starting to feel the loss:

While watching the Astros game, I wanted to look up Oswalt's stats...but I didn't have a computer.

Going through my mail, I discovered some bills to pay...but I didn't have a computer.

Birthday card in hand, I wanted to look up the mailing address...but I didn't have a computer.

Having a computer is ingrained in my psyche now. Which means...I'm going to buy a 2nd computer!