Saturday, December 31, 2011

Smell ya later, 2011

I love this time of year! Quiet pondering of what has passed and confidence in what is to come. 

In 2011, I picnicked below the Eiffel Tower, watched bears in Virginia, and ate curry gravy fries in Montreal. My first real surgery taught me about pain and what it means to be fully vulnerable. I had a moment of ultimate honesty with someone, and it made for a positive turning point in that relationship. I freed myself of back pain after 11 years, and all it took was some gentle yoga poses and stretching. I spent a lot of time with all of my dear Masshole friends. I laughed a lot.
I love these broads.
I went public with this silly blog! It was more terrifying than I expected, and also more rewarding. I appreciate the positive reinforcement I received from you online and in person. It makes up for all the time spent biting my nails at home alone thinking, You’ve gone too far, Ahlquist

It was a difficult year for many people close to me. I have watched a lot of people hurt and process that hurt. It tugs at me and puts all of my own pains in perspective. But I believe in new beginnings. I believe that January is a magic resetting of the clock. And when I’m frustrated with the crap going on around me, or how I allow myself to be swallowed up in that crap, I always think of a quote from Love Actually (no snickering). After years of harboring a secret love for Juliet, Mark bares his soul at her doorstep. Like an exorcism. And as he walks away, he straightens up and, with resolve, says, “Enough. Enough now.” There’s no better time than NYE to stand up straight and acknowledge you’ve had enough. And that the future, with all of the complications it’s bound to bring, holds a lot of promise.

2012 is going to be fantastic.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

You didn't really want ANOTHER piece of pie, did you?

Day 472 of turkey. Shoot me.

I'm in detox mode so that I can get on with life and still fit through my apartment door. I made a raw soup yesterday that was incredible. I know. "Raw soup" sounded like shit to me too. Fuck the raw soup. Bring on . . . something, anything, cooked. But it rocked and I can already feel my ass shrinking to its normal ample size. I'll share the recipe another time.

Because right now, I'm here to help you step away from the pie. Kids, gather 'round. Auntie Kiki is going to share a chapter out of history.

I've been reading a lot about Jamestown lately. The Virginia settlement that started in 1607. It's fascinating. If you are every curious, my two cents are as follows:

The Jamestown Experiment, by Tony Williams, is a good primer. Williams is a high school teacher, and his book is highly readable.

After cutting your teeth on that, Love and Hate in Jamestown, by David Price, is a more indepth look at the same story. Written by a journalist, the difference between the two books is striking.

But whatever you do, don't EVER put yourself through this terrible experience. Not even for Colin Farrell. What a terrible waste of time--I blame the screenplay. Dull and confusing if you don't know the story; frustratingly FACTLESS if you've just read two books about the topic. Books that quote journals and letters. Seriously disappointing.

I digress.

Since reading the books, I've asked people what they remember about the Jamestown Settlement. A bartender asked if it was a true story. Someone else said, "Didn't they eat shoes?" Oh, it's better than that. So. Much. Better.

So, picture it: It's winter 1610. You've been a lazy fuck all year and didn't store up food like you should have. What food you DO have is crawling with worms. You've pissed off the natives, and they've surrounded your little fort so that you can't leave without *pew* *pew* arrows flying very accurately at you and killing you. But damn it, you're hungry. So maybe you shrug and eat all the horses. And then maybe you look around and realize that the cats and dogs are competing with you to catch rats and mice, so you eat the cats and dogs. *burp* Some time passes, and you are back to eating a half-cup of wormy gruel each day. It's protein, right?

For a little switch up, you begin to chew on the leather of your shoes. Ugg, can you even imagine?
Even I'm disappointed at that joke.

You might become a tad delirious when the shoe thing doesn't work out for you. You watch your fellow colonist lose his everloving mind and leave the fort to forage for snakes or roots or SOMETHING to eat. *pew* *pew* Goner. Shit. What are you going to eat? Wait--shit! You'll try eating excrement! *cough* *spit* Nope. That stuff tastes like shit.
Don't do it, dude. Seriously. I'm shit.
After some time goes by, you begin to have those cartoon daydreams where people start to look like food:
Waikiki Wabbit, 1943
So your ethics loosen a little and you think maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to eat your neighbor, the one who died this morning of hunger. Hey, not bad! Raw is tough chewing, and he's a little lean, but who can be picky at a time like this?

Eating the dead becomes the new "black" there at the settlement, but there aren't always dead bodies lying around . . . wait--there are!! We just need to DIG UP THEIR GRAVES! This guy's only been dead three days, how bad can he taste? Well, pretty bad, but no matter. *Mmmm, full tummy*

It's gotten pretty bad at this point; you're actually looking feverishly at people, hoping they kick soon--and hoping it won't be you. But what if you're a seriously screwed up fuck who can't stop thinking about food? And what if you have this . . . idea . . . one night while your pregnant wife is asleep in your arms.

You might convince yourself that it's okay to kill your wife. The baby, of course, you remove from the womb and toss into the river--because, shit, you're not THAT crazy. But back to wifey. Mmmm. Wifey. Perhaps dismembering her body is easier if you dwell on every time she bitched at you for not polishing your boot buckles. Or for that time she was making eyes with Ebenezer over a fresh body last week. Yeah, that'll learn ya, bitch! *shakes salt on body part* *eats*

But you get caught. *wah wahhh* You try to deny it. But people are pissed and hang you by your thumb nails until you confess. After they begin adding weight to your ankles, you do confess. "Yes, I ate that bitch! With a fine Chianti. *ffffff* You're greatly relieved to be put to death. Finally, you are dead. Funny, no one eats your body. 'Cause some people have standards, jerk.


Oddly, another faction of colonists upriver did great that same winter, The Starving Time, as it's called. They ate pigs and berries and had no idea what unfortunate things their fellow colonists were up to. Another shipload of colonists had crashed into Bermuda that year and were living the dream all winter. Bet they were a little sad to eventually arrive in Jamestown. The point: It didn't have to happen.

*Auntie Kiki closes book*

Go ahead. Have a snack now. Yeah, you don't want any, do you? And I bet raw soup doesn't sound so bad now, does it?

You're welcome.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dribs and drabs from October

Yeah, yeah. Bad blogger. I know I've been tardy. But cut a girl some slack. I've been through wind storms and snow storms and power outages. It's been a rough month, yo. Let me catch you up on some of the stuff keeping me busy.

1. I'm addicted to The Wire.
I'm loving this show. I think I'm just about through season 3. And I learned new slang, spoken by Rhonda: "I see you dress left." This naive white gal right here may have rewound that and then paused and considered it for a moment. Then Googled it juuuust to make sure. Tee hee hee.
What? This isn't how YOU watch The Wire? While stitching in a comfy chair?

2. I've been cleaning up a LOT of vomit.
Little Millinocket is having a hard time keeping food down. I was finding vomit everywhere, mostly under my shoe, slipper, sock, whathaveyou. We had just gotten her bowels under control ("TMI, Mumma!"), and now we're working on the food thing. We eat a half portion and wait to make sure it stays down for about 15 minutes. Then we go back for the rest. In this way, she has become hobbit-like, following me back into the kitchen for second breakfast.

3. I heart the Boston Book Festival.
Loving the BBF every year! I listened in on a brilliant panel honoring the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It was clear that the panelists were happy to be discussing it in Boston and not, oh, say, Mississippi. I know this because they pretty much said so.

Per the website:
Our distinguished speakers include Adam Goodheart, author of 1861: The Civil War Awakening; Tony Horwitz, author of Midnight Rising: John Brown's Raid and the Start of the Civil War, Charles Bracelen Flood, author of Grant's Final Victory, and Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering. The session will be introduced and moderated by Annette Gordon-Reed, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hemingses of Monticello and Andrew Johnson. Sponsored by Liz and George Krupp.

4. Friends don't let friends go to Sephora alone.
Because I don't drink alone, after attending the BBF, I decided to go shopping. I am way too much of a hick now to be trusted alone in Sephora. I'm like a bird, drawn to pretty, shiny things.
Once inside, it's every girl for herself.
A nail polish merry-go-round, people!

This is what happens when left to my own devices. Shameful, looking back.

5. I totally occupied Boston.
I went from the pretty Copley Plaza area:

Rocking the Au Bon Pain
streetside on Boylston.

To the Occupy Boston scene:
I'm torn on the whole thing. I worry about its disjointed nature. While there are a lot of brilliant people in every city talking about brilliant things, there are some carnie aspects that bring me down.
What is her point?

To the dude juggling, this is not
--I repeat--NOT Lollapalooza.

A very cute hippie girl offered me an apple while I stood on the sidelines. I heard some people talking about war, and others discussing falafel. I think I'm getting old. I'm still a tree-hugging, bleeding-heart liberal. I just don't want to listen to someone who isn't old enough to vote but is living in a North Face tent on the Greenway.

6. I watched a man spit out his beer. Repeatedly.
I was in Salem, enjoying a sidecar at 43 Church,
when a friend tells me to watch this guy at the bar.

This guy kept taking a swig of beer, then spitting it back in his glass. Watch the game for a bit. Swig beer. Spit. I know we're in a recession, but shit. No need to be drinking your beer three times.

7. I hiked walked a bit.
The clouds were cool one day, and the leaves were almost past peak, so I went to Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where I saw absolutely no wildlife and wore the wrong shoes. Mental note: bring wellies next time.

I lied; there were turkeys.

8. I occupied Salem.
All the years I lived in Salem, I never went downtown around Halloween. I threw parties at my apartment instead. This year, with threats of terrible weather, I drove down from NH, hopped the train in Newburyport, took pics, and hooked up with friends for day drinking.
Pedestrian mall
1637 burial ground
These people are being swindled.
I know b/c I used to work here as a tour guide.
Outside the old burial ground is a small park with these stone benches, each carved with a name of someone who was killed during the witch trials. Here is Rebecca Nurse:

Oh, and wait--what's this:
Awesome. Some fat bastard sitting on Giles Corey. Three hundred years later, and he's still groaning, "More weight..."
So much better than those
lame 2-D haunted houses.
Oops, someone forgot something.

Whatchu lookin' at, Roger Conant?!
She just kept meowing. And people gave her money.
Don't fuck with a girl packing heat and drinking a martini.
"I'll eat your souuuul."
Noelle and Melanie getting their drink on.

Yes, some babies ARE ugly.

9. I was rendered useless by a freak snowstorm.
A few raindrops in Salem became a snowy nightmare as the train pulled into Newburyport that night. Barely an inch on the ground and trees were down, cars were strewn all over the highway, and the power and heat were out at home. I spent about four days play-camping in my apartment. Long underwear, a serious sleeping bag, a wind-up radio, and a headlamp. I read three books. Not so bad.

Fuck, I don't have a #10. But I've already wasted enough of your time. Off to bed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When a fried pickle is NOT a fried pickle

Hey, kids, it's fair season! Despite crumb bum weather, the fam rallied and hit the Deerfield, NH, fair last Thursday. Roll the tape, Gladys.

Every year, I gush over paintings done by the mysterious Ted Nichols (stalking has produced no legit evidence of his existence). He typically does a New England house scene. This year, he added ice fishing to his repertoire.

 And then there are the photos.

My, what a lovely photo of an old graveyard. Blue ribbon? Absolutely! And look at this picture next to it...

Gladys, can you zoom in?
Why, for the love of god, did someone 1) take a photo of an accident, 2) frame it, 3) consider it submittable, and 4) take home a blue ribbon? Maybe I should print out the side-by-side pic, frame it, and submit it next year. I'll title it "Injustice."
Does this umbrella make me look fat?
I now regret cutting my hair.
Bear with me here. This is where I high-five all the cows and sheep and take pictures as though they're grandchildren. I promise we'll get back to the snark in a moment.

So cute I just wanna pinch ya. *pinch* *pinch*
 Then, amidst all the adorableness, is this fucker.
This is a guinea hen. Pros: eats mosquitoes and acts as a guard dog. Cons: These miserable prick birds have a loud scream that sounds like "buckWHEAT buckWHEAT buck-fucking-WHEAT." And if you are, say, a teenager regularly woken by them in the morning and freak out and yell at them, they yell back. Louder. So you can imagine how this next photo traumatized me.
Aww, the sheepies. 

 What the...

Good for you, celebrating the end of DADT.

And one more cute one to bring us back on track.
 And an ox to humble us...

"I want you to go in that bag, and find my wallet.
It's the one that says 'Bad Motherfucker.' "

I've blogged before about the vital substance that is fair food. And the importance of going to the fair with many people in order to sample all the goodies. My brother and I were ill by the end of the day. Here is some of the damage.
Mmmm, funnel cake. I have traded in fried dough for this delicious, sweet, cakey goodness. I know, I can hear the tsks now, but it's fried cake and I don't feel I need to justify it further.

Chicken and corn dogs. 

And this is where it all comes to a screeching halt. So, fried pickles are simply awesome. Eating them for the first time goes something like this:

Pickle 1: Eww, it's a pickle. And it's fried.
Pickle 2: Huh. The salty goodness is overwhelming the repellent nature of this food combination.

But this year, our regular pickle chick wasn't in her usual spot. Little brother and I kept our spirits up and wandered a while, looking for another pickle vendor. 

Then we started to panic. 

Then we saw this.
Um, no. Fried pickles do NOT take second billing. And, little food stand, why aren't you open? Sadness.

And then--in the distance--a sign: fried pickles. I eagerly ordered them and watched the back of the man making them. And then he put them in my hand. And I made a face like someone had kicked my puppy. I turned to my brother and presented him with this:
Spears?! Fried pickle fucking spears?! Unacceptable! Gladys, call the mayor!

Sigh... the pickles are supposed to be cross cut. The pickle-to-fried coating ratio is supposed to be more even. This is just lazy. I bit in and all the coating fell off the spear. I had a mouth full of hot pickle [no snarky remarks, people]. And when I went in to dip, the pickle was too wet to hold any sauce.
See, they're supposed to look like this:
2009 Deerfield Fair--a kinder, gentler time in fried pickle history

General WTFery
And the Least Appetizing Food Enticement Award goes to:

This next one is the stuff of nightmares. Why was no one else concerned about this? Farmers, women, children--all walking by and thinking nothing of the fact that this cow is being eaten from within by an alien (writes the woman who held the camera and said, "Ewww").
This little trolley of death is an institution at the DF. An equally creepy guy dressed in a suit rides it around all day and traumatizes children. *shudder*

Some old bag:

Yeah, you're jealous of my hotness. And I feel for you.

Most Disturbing Ride Award:

Thank God there were super heroes on the scene to help with a serious sheep situation. (Yes, those are capes.)
And little brother wraps it up with a shitty ending: