Tag Archives: cooking

I’M GOING TO PUNCH YOU IN THE THROAT (OUR CLEANSE: DAY 2)

i blogged yesterday about our friggin cleanse. here’s the rest of what happened. warning: this post may give you a rash.

DAY 2, CONTINUED

12:30pm had a small portion of quinoa, lentils & cubed sweet potatoes for lunch: MOST AMAZING THING I EVER ATE IN MY LIFE.
1:45pm weird tingly sensation in my forehead.
2pm OMG AM I GETTING A RASH? false alarm
3:45pm holly is extremely grumpy. obviously buckling under the pressure. leave me alone until you feel better or else i’m going to punch you in the throat, i tell her. she leaves for an appointment and comes back even grumpier. says she smelled pizza on the way home.
7pm we do a weird vegan, grainless, and everything else-less italian meal that fails miserably. i try my hand at eggplant for the first time and ruin it. holly eats a single stuffed mushroom. she tries to eat another but spits it out in the trash.
9:30pm-ish bad experience in the bathroom. don’t want to talk about it.
11:36pm in bed i think i smell fresh air-popped popcorn but there’s no popcorn. great, now i’m hallucinating.

do you have a rash now? i think i’m getting one again. also: the inside of my mouth felt itchy yesterday. WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME.

if i don’t post again within two to three days, please call some kind of emergency responder.

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LORD HELP US WE’RE DOING A CLEANSE (DAY 1: OMG)

so holly finally got the go-ahead from our acupuncturist to do this food-based cleanse she’s been bugging her about for, like, the past year and a half. as in: holly’s been bugging our acupuncturist, not the other way around, to do the cleanse. who even does that?

and of course i have to go down with the ship and do it, too, because we’re married, blah blah blah. i have to support her, etc. etc. etc. plus i know it will be good for me.

here’s the basics of the cleanse:

it’s food-based, not that weird-ass one people were doing a while ago where you drink, like, maple syrup lemon water with cayenne pepper for however many days. (what the hell was that all about anyway? ew.) so yeah, it’s organic vegetables and fruits only (not even beans even. i know. WTF.) (though, randomly, we can have very limited amounts of lentils, sweet potato, and quinoa; don’t ask me, i have no idea) for the first seven days, supplemented by smoothies featuring an organic powder that has protein and various organic green veggies, roots, and who the hell knows what else. mine is non-dairy. holly’s has whey in it. there are weird fiber pills to take, too. these are details you probably don’t care about so i’ll stop.

for weeks 2 and 3 you can add proteins one at a time. chicken, fish, lean beef, eggs. then grains and i guess dairy? i don’t know. holly read the book. i’m too hungry to read it.

here’s why we’re doing the cleanse:

-to rid our bodies of toxins, which hello, we live in baltimore and i found out that the iconic smokestack next to I-95 is actually a giant garbage incinerator.
-maybe find a food-related trigger for my ongoing migraines.
-get my blood-sugar evened out/jewish pancreas a break so i don’t wind up with diabetes.
-lose weight, i.e. i’d like to see the real shape of my face again, especially my chin, because i’m tired of making selfie faces in the mirror so i can see my cheekbones.
-change our eating patterns/habits.
-other reasons i can’t remember.

anyway, i’ve decided i’m going to chronicle how i’m feeling every day. as a record for future generations. or, you know, a last will & testament.

i was too weak and angry to write yesterday so this is actually day 2. however, i did take some notes yesterday about how i was feeling. but then i started feeling so bad i couldn’t take notes anymore. here they are in no particular order:

DAY 1
head hurts.
very hungry, feeling angry and emotional. can’t concentrate.
peeing a lot.
probably shouldn’t have driven to safeway.
if i got stranded on a desert island, i’d definitely die from low blood-sugar or some kind of organ failure.
hate all people.
omg pain behind my right eyeball.
don’t talk to me.
don’t look at me.

DAY 2
i don’t want any more portobella mushrooms ever.
eyeballs feel sore.
unable to focus on what holly’s saying. oh wait she’s telling me that’s me every day anyway. whatever, it’s worse than usual.
the pills (10 total, 3 times a day) taste like black licorice and i almost threw all of them up.
had a salad at 10am. omg who are we???? i don’t even know who i am anymore.

jamie g. did the cleanse and she just texted that “if we can make it through the next couple days” we’re going to “feel a beautiful light energetic happiness high.” this is hopeful though i hope i don’t get divorced by then. if you don’t hear from me in two days send the police.

a note to manufacturers: not everyone likes rosemary so stop putting it in everything.

rosemary

WHY WHY WHY.

apropos of nothing (mental note: learn how to spell “apropos” so google can stop correcting you. also learn: synagogue, initiative, occasional. oh and aesthetic, which, hello, practically impossible.) — ANYWAY, apropos of nothing, i’m going to rant about rosemary, which, in my book, is long overdue.

first of all, if you have an intense love of rosemary, i strongly suggest you stop reading right now. just click the X and close out of this page. then run to your local produce department. once you get there, grab armloads of rosemary. throw it up in the air like you just don’t care. squeeze it between your fingers so the rosemary oil gets on your skin and then smell your fingers. that way holly and i can easily identify you. you, with the smell. sniffing your fingers in the supermarket. you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

so yeah, go ahead and buy all the rosemary in the world, we don’t even care. wanna know why? IT’S IN EVERYTHING ANYWAY. we can’t get away from it.

let me tell you a story. the story goes like this:

in my continuing effort to eat less grains in order to keep my blood-sugar steady, which therefore prevents me from getting hangry (i.e. so hungry you’re actually angry) while simultaneously helping me ward off type 2 diabetes, an affliction of the jews (the hiatal hernia i actually already have – OY. mental note: learn how to spell “hiatal” ), not to be confused with the bread of afflictionHEY OH! passover joke! (passover starts soon, biznatches! overeat pizza now so you don’t miss it. wait don’t. wait…nothing. forget i even said that.)

…so yes, in my continuing efforts to limit grains (SERIOUSLY I DON’T EVEN EAT PIZZA THAT OFTEN SHUT UP), i often purchase mary’s gone crackers, which, despite their odd name, are actually pretty good. they’re gluten-free and made of a variety of seeds, which, i don’t actually understand? regardless, they’re actually quite delicious. i usually buy the “original” crackers. they have served me well despite the fact that i continue to be confused about how they’re made.

at some point over the past two years, i decided to, you know, spice things up and picked up a box of the “herb” variety. BIG MISTAKE. listing “herbs” on an organic product (these crackers are organic like everything else we eat–yes, as i said years ago, we have truly become one of those households with nothing to eat, where you have to make everything. like a hippie. or a colonial person.) is not only vague but it’s also dangerous for those of us that don’t like rosemary. i feel like if an organic food lists “herbs” in its ingredient list, it probably contains enough rosemary to kill or at least choke a small to medium-sized mammal. oh and forget about salad bars. (YEAH WHOLE FOODS, I’M LOOKIN AT YOU. PEOPLE THAT DON’T LIKE ROSEMARY EXIST.) i’ll get to that in a minute.

anyway, as you can probably guess, the predominant flavor in these crackers was rosemary. it was like munching on a pine tree. ON A PINE. TREE. mary, (as in: of Mary’s Gone Crackers) would it be so hard to list ROSEMARY as an ingredient in your herb crackers? WOULD IT BE. SO HARD. no! i don’t think it would be!

i was recently reminded of this debacle yesterday when i delightedly opened a box of mary’s gone ALL NEW super seed crackers. which, hello, i was totally excited for! i mean, pumpkin seeds AND sunflower seeds AND poppy seeds in ADDITION to all the OTHER SEEDS. it was too much.

i bit into a cracker and at first i thought: oh my gosh. it’s almost like: an everything bagel! but then: NO. no no no NO. the familiar and unwelcome flavor of rosemary–of pine and soil itself–bloomed in my mouth. i shook the crackers at the sky. WHYYYYYYY. i shouted. WHYYYYYY.

no, i didn’t do that. who even shakes anything at the sky anymore? only people in biblical movies. i’d be more likely to throw the damn box across the room but i didn’t want to clean it up. anyway, it made me want to rant. so here i am.

why my intense dislike for rosemary? (oh hooo, this is going to get me in major trouble with some of you but whatever. it was bound to come out sooner or later.) first of all, if you break it up and toss it in things before you cook them–say, red-skinned potatoes, for example–it dries out and becomes these pokey little needles that can not only stab you in the throat, but choke you if they flip sideways in your esophagus! (go figure, i can spell esophagus.)

this very thing happened to me years ago. luckily, i was able to push the offending needle or needles down with a gulp of water or a slice of bread but it was touch and go there for a minute. it was touch and go. and it probably irritated my hiatal hernia.

and yes, if i wanted to gnaw on a pine needle, i’d gnaw on a pine needle. if i wanted to taste the earth’s rich, bountiful soil, i’d just eat a handful of rich bountiful soil.

and now for the kicker: THE WHOLE FOODS SALAD BAR. guys. c’mon. is it necessary to put rosemary in every single dish?? IS IT? i’ll tell you what: it’s not. because i don’t do it at home. this is the universe telling me to avoid the whole foods salad bar. it’s too damn expensive anyway. i already had words with the sushi guy. i should forget their prepared foods altogether.

so. in closing, does rosemary have its place? yes. but in small doses. (and YES, it can be good in a roasted chicken dish, so please don’t mention roasted chicken to me. i already know.)

if you are a manufacturer of something PLEASE list it on your ingredient list as not all of us want to eat pine sol. and chop the damn stuff up dammit! you want a lawsuit or something?? i should not have to review a heimlich maneuver chart before i eat your food.

heimlich maneuver

“help…i have rosemary…stuck…in my throat.” “i gotcha, buddy. i gotcha.”

next up:  my recent-ish 30-minute flight from pittsburgh to baltimore, also known as I Took Too Much Xanax & Held a (Kind) Stranger’s Hand. until then, please don’t choke on rosemary. or at least avoid it if you’re with me because you know my ass isn’t gonna know how the hell to save you and before i can do anything, i’ll have to google “heimlich maneuver” and you know i’ll spell it wrong.

did i tell you how holly cut her fingertips off on christmas?

oh, i didn’t? yeah that’s right because i tried to and then i fainted.

warning: if you have problems with blood (like i do) i suggest you stop reading and go watch funny cat videos.

really. right now. do it.

(i know you’re still reading. i can see you.)

(fine. keep reading. but don’t say i didn’t warn you. i’m dizzy and i haven’t even started writing yet. just try not to hit your head on anything on the way down.)

so it was just an average christmas in butler, pennsylvania (or “pee-ay” as the locals say). and by average i actually mean less-than-average. a ray of light in the darkness was holly’s fancy new french au gratin recipe, which she saw on the cooking channel, her second favorite tv channel after bravo.

she decided she’d try it out on christmas day. i should note that holly has a habit of trying out new recipes on holidays, when we’re having visitors, on special occasions, etc. it doesn’t always go so well. but i digress.

this recipe, it’s actually called, get this, pomme de terra a la boulangere, french for “potatoes a la bakery,” which is equally as vague, if not slightly ridiculous. it calls for a lot of thinly sliced potatoes and onions. a whole lot of them. especially onions. so holly packed her oxo brand “v-blade” mandolin slicer and off we went to pee-ay.

at the time, holly had only used this slicer (pictured below) one time. and the entire time i felt myself getting dizzy and paced around the downstairs saying things like babe, we really don’t need julienned beets. i can do without the damn julienned beets just come here so i can hold you.

the slicer features an alarming array of sharp blades, all of which could easily slice off and/or shred one to four of your fingers and/or digits. what i’m saying is: just looking at this thing makes me picture pints of my blood on the floor, which, in turn, gets me light-headed and forces me to frantically search for a hard candy in one of my thousand purses to distract me and raise my blood sugar, which drops in times of severe stress. (hard candies are a jewish thing used to treat all ailments. kind of like windex for skin problems in my big fat greek wedding. don’t ask me, i don’t get it either.)

oxo v-blade mandolin slicer

anyway, holly and i are alone in her parents’ kitchen. the rest of her family is downstairs in the basement hanging out. as she’s slicing onions with the mandolin, i’m peeling potatoes with an ancient peeler repeatedly inquiring about how many i should peel. i should note that holly was not in the best of moods. she really shouldn’t have been using anything sharp and dangerous. (and i probably shouldn’t have been asking her annoying questions.)

i hand her potatoes and she slices them into gorgeous, even, thin slices. things are going well. she double checks the recipe, and it turns out she needs even more onions. she switches from slicing potatoes to slicing onions, reducing the depth of the blade since they’re thinner than the potatoes. this is the move that probably saved her fingers.

she’s in a hurry and grabs the onion and begins slicing it without the guard. if you’re familiar with mandolin slicers, you may already know that the first rule is to use the damn guard. that’s why they make it! the guard (the round thing in the photo above) attaches to whatever you’re slicing, thus protecting your hand and fingers from complete annihilation.

i’m not sure how long it took for her to hit the blade since i’ve already repressed the memory of almost the entire afternoon. all i remember is her suddenly shouting F*CK! F*CK! F*CK! then jumping up and down holding her hand and me shouting WHAT WHAT WHAT!

i went into panic mode immediately, ran to the sink and put on the cold water, shouting PUT YOUR HAND UNDER THE FAUCET, which, of course, didn’t help at all seeing how she had just cut both nail and flesh off her left middle finger, ring finger and pinky. (i had done something similar, in the very same kitchen, over the summer, cutting off a significant chunk of flesh off the right side of my right thumb with a (*gulp*) apple corer, and the first thing holly did for me was put my thumb under cold water. i almost fainted but couldn’t since her little nephews were there, so we played “i spy with my little eye” in order to keep me conscious.)

by the third “F*CK!” her younger sister, heather, thank G-d, ran up from the basement, followed by her parents.

there was a lot of blood, most of which i didn’t see because i had to turn away. as holly’s stepdad (once a cop, always a cop) went through the sliced onions looking for fingertips to put on ice  (she didn’t cut off enough flesh to reattach; all he found was (ugh) fingernails), heather and holly’s mom tended to holly’s bleeding and i ran around in circles panicking.

it was quickly decided holly would go to the emergency room to stop the bleeding and for a tetanus shot. holly, of course, was fairly calm. she was mostly a) in an extreme amount of pain and b) irritated at the thought of getting a tetanus shot–and the fact that she had had the accident at all.

i, of course, was far from calm. this was not the type of health crisis that called for a hard candy.

after handing holly–who was standing near the door waiting to leave–a superfluous amount of paper towels to replace the blood-soaked ones she was holding and promptly running away from her, i ran around the house in tears looking for what she’d need on the way to and at the hospital.

i grabbed her cell phone, a charger and her driver’s license. remembering she hadn’t eaten lunch yet, i also found the rather large square of what could only be described as artesian caramel we purchased at the wexford, pa whole foods the day before. because when you’ve chopped off both nail and flesh in a mandolin slicer the thing you really need most is artesian caramel.

“heather,” i said to her sister, who works in the medical field and who was therefore acting normal, unlike me.

surely i had ramona crazy eyes by this point. the fact that heather did not run from me is a testament to her love for her older sister.

“here’s stuff holly’ll need at the hospital: her cell phone, charger, driver’s license,” i plopped everything down in her open hands.

“and caramel. she hasn’t eaten and her blood sugar’s probably low.”

heather looked at me, blinking. she may have laughed a little, i have no idea, i’ve blocked it out.

then it was time for holly and heather to go to the hospital. i couldn’t hold it together any longer. i grabbed holly around her neck and blubbered something about how much i loved her, i’m so sorry this happened, i’m so worried about you, i love you so much, i love you and i love you and etc. i swear you’d think she was about to go into battle.

her mother may have had to pull me off her. again, i have no idea, i’ve blocked it out.

once they left, i sat down on the couch and sobbed into my hands. it was a crap week and this was the cherry on top. she was bleeding and in pain and i couldn’t do a thing to help but hand her sister a piece of artesian caramel.

her mom told me that it was ok and not to worry, that’d she be fine. susan (her mom) and frank (her stepdad) threw out the onions holly had been slicing, cleaned up the accident scene, finished up the recipe, and went to visit with family downstairs.

i stayed upstairs, immobile with worry. incapable of doing anything else, i picked up my phone and played words with friends, then walked around in circles. honestly, i don’t really remember what i did until they came back. luckily they weren’t gone for long (about an hour).

when i saw holly’s fingers (below), of course i burst into tears again.

holly's fingers after her mandolin accident

as instructed by heather, i met them both at the door with two glasses of guinness –and a rather large shot of whiskey for holly.

soon, more family came in for christmas dinner. despite her cooking injury, i’m pleased to report that almost everyone ate the pommes de terre a boulangere. the ironic thing is that most people thought it was “too onion-y,” so i guess holly didn’t need to cut up all those extra onions after all.

i can say with great certainty that this was our worst christmas ever. however, there is much to be thankful for: her injury could have been much, much worse. if she had been cutting the potatoes, she would have sliced off way more and this would be a much different blog entry.

since christmas, holly has changed her bandages many, many times, and, now that the bleeding and oozing has stopped, i’ve forced myself to take a deeeeeep breath and look her fingers and i gotta say: it’s pretty damn bad. seeing them kind of makes me want to hold her and tell her to never slice or julienne anything ever again.

when she got home from the hospital, i told holly we’d be throwing out the slicer. but frank said it was “operator error” and that there’s nothing wrong with the slicer. it was, in fact, the operator. which was holly. so, despite  my pleas, we brought the damn thing home.

last week, when i was upstairs, and holly was downstairs and therefore unsupervised, she secretly julienned zucchini and yellow squash for a pizza. i got kind of mad that she was using it again, but what can i do? she’s a chef, she needs to express herself through her culinary creations and has vowed to never, ever use the mandolin slicer without the guard again. i, on the other hand, am investigating blade-resistant gloves.

this concludes what i hope will be the bloodiest lunch at 11:30 post ever. if you fainted, you can wake up now. here are two funny captioned hamster pictures to help ease you back into consciousness.

funny hamster picture

funny hamster picture 2

haha. until next time! happy 2013! and if you need to use a mandolin slicer USE THE DAMN GUARD.

p.s. if you live in the baltimore area, be sure to pick up the current issue of baltimore bride, which features my essay, “Four Weddings And a Referendum: A love story about two women and their many weddings,” which chronicles our multiple nuptials (including some of the less-than-perfect things that happened on the way to our first wedding–the BFGW, if you will. kind of like the “dvd extras” you never got to read the first time around.) the entire issue is pretty goshdarn gorgeous and i’m honored to be a part of it. (plus they drew a picture of us!)

holly and i as CARTOONS!

us! as cartoons! (look at my shiny hair! FABULOUS!)

what i did this summer (part 1)

well hello, readers. it’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

last time we spoke, holly  had just left for a sunday-night-thru-thursday night summer taking care of her gram in western pee-ay. and i was here, at home, making grilled cheese and doing copywriting. which is what i do for a living. copywriting, not grilled cheese. (honestly, making-then-eating grilled cheese for a living doesn’t sound half bad though “my figure” would suffer.)

well, folks, i have news for you. while i mostly worked and missed holly–sleeping with my gemstone mace out of its gemstone case (gasp!) right next to the bed–i did do a few new things this summer.

here’s a sampling of some highlights.

i…

1. cooked a fish.

ok, actually, i cooked half a fish.

this was actually not meant to happen. holly was supposed to cook it, as i, as a rule, don’t cook anything that looks too much like its original source. not very “farm-to-table” PC of me but whatever. you want to picture your food with its family, that’s your business, not mine.

anyway, we bought two rainbow trout fillets a day before holly left one week. but we never cooked them. suddenly i was by myself in the house with two fish fillets in the fridge. i was like, even though i’m really grossed out by the idea of it, i’m going to have to cook this fish bc i’m not going to let it die in vain. plus it was five bucks. and i am nothing if not thrifty.

so i called holly, she was in the car driving back to pee-ay, and i was like, babe. what do i do with this fish? is there a way i can cook it without actually looking at it?

and she was like, babe. you can do this.

so she coached me on how to pan fry the fish. i had my “operators are standing by to take your call” home phone headset on. and the phone was clipped to my jeggings. oh i was a sight to behold, let me tell you.

i tried convincing myself that it wasn’t actually a fish, but there was no denying its fish shape, fish skin, fish flesh, etc. i placed it on the skillet and it sizzled and of course i overcooked it bc i’m scared of food-borne bacteria. then i forced myself to eat it, telling myself this is good fish! you cooked it yourself! good job! see? you don’t need holly here all the time! you can totally do this type of stuff on your own! 

i told the voice in my head to shut the hell up, put my fork down and decided the other half of the trout would have to die in vain bc there was just no way i was going to eat the other half. i almost texted our friend and neighbor dilini to see if she wanted the other half. but who drops off half a raw fish at a friend’s house? i mean, really. plus i wasn’t about to get mugged for the sake of a fish. so it was almost like the fish cosmically gave up (half of) its life to save mine. or something. anyway, next!

2. shot a gun.
ok, it was three guns: two rifles and one handgun. (crap! did i really just write that?) this was in western pee-ay. holly’s twin sister’s in-laws have guns. they also have a lot of property. holly wants me to learn how to shoot a gun, as we live in one of the most dangerous cities in america and..yeah, fill in the blanks. i did not want to do it. however, she wore me down and i knew she was right.

so i went to the local rite-aid, bought ear plugs, then to my sister-in-law’s in-law’s. i promptly froze up and started crying (and shaking) saying babe, i don’t want to do it! they’re loud and i’m scared! i took a deep breath (ok, about 20 deep breaths) and, with holly’s sister’s father-in-law by my side, i pretended like the…tree stump across the way was an intruder and i said in my mind f*ck you motherf*cker! you’re in my house and i’m gonna kill you before you kill me! then i pulled the trigger. then i did it two more times with different guns. then i had enough.

(somehow i feel like my favorite black jeggings from new york and co. with rhinestone flip-flops wasn’t the most sensible choice for this outing but what can you do. you can take the girl outta jersey, but you can’t take the jersey outta the girl…)

then holly convinced me to let her seven-year-old nephew take me on a ride through a wooded trail (oh! it was actually the same wooden trail i got stuck on a couple years ago! the one where i almost gotten eaten by a brown bear? you can read that here, it’s a doozy) on this elaborate four-wheeler. i was like WHAT. and she was like, “he’s a good driver!” then i figured, what in the hell, i just shot three guns, i cooked half a fish last month, i can do this.

so i put my arm around little landon (that’s his name) and said, “please don’t go too fast, ok, honey?” and to his credit, he was indeed a very good driver and he did not go too fast. then he and his four-year-old brother desperately wanted me to jump on a giant trampoline with them. and i did it for like two minutes and then the old jewish lady in me said OY ENOUGH WITH THE BOUNCING YOU’RE IRRITATING MY HIATAL HERNIA. (do you know i actually have one of those? it’s like, the jewish hernia.)

guns. four-wheelers. an excessively large trampoline. it was like a country song. except for it was my actual life and no beer and/or dogs were involved. taylor swift was there, however. no she wasn’t. yes! she was! (no she wasn’t.)

3. took a plane to pittsburgh without xanax
this was a mistake. to be continued.

4. talked to siri
she doesn’t flirt back and i think she’s anti-semitic. to be continued.

5. got a haircut, learned how to use a barrette
YES REALLY. to be continued.

6. gave a quote about the jewish new year to the baltimore sun
HOLLA!

7. bought high-tops i’ve wanted since i was, like, four (yes, that means styles from 1983 are back)
then wore those high-tops when i…

8. SAW MADONNA!
to be continued.

9. got a bad cold, gave it to holly
sorry, babe!

10. met jennifer weiner again
my mom “secretly” snacked during her talk and then accidentally called her friend ruth on her new iphone. which she got for $49 at best buy. as she told everyone there.
to be continued.

YES REALLY YES. all TBC (to be continued). come back to find out how i managed a half-hour flight without xanax. it wasn’t pretty. i wish i was kidding.

this is why i don’t watch horror movies

don't do it! she's evil!!!

 i remember the first time i saw a horror movie. it was the late 80s. jon bon jovi’s hair was still huge and frosted (oooh how i loved him back then). my hair, too, was enormous (tho accidentally) and i didn’t care. i still wore a size 5. i had a walkman with puffy earphones. times were good. 

anyway, freddie krueger, as you may (or may not) recall, was all the rage. and, without knowing any better, when my friend suggested we watch the newest “nightmare on elm street,” during our long-awaited sleepover i was like SURE! i flipped off my white keds and settled in for the show. man, i was dumb back then. 

i sat thru the movie, petrified. then, when my friend turned out the lights in her attic bedroom (it had to be the freakin attic, didn’t it?!), suddenly everything was scary. i remember laying there on the carpeted floor in my sleeping bag, eyes wide open, convinced freddie was going come thru the window or the wall or the plumbing and slash me. i kept hearing these windchimes. oh my gosh, the windchimes. needless to say it was a rough night for me. 

so fast fwd 20-some years to last night. holly and i walked up the street to vote in the maryland primaries. on our way back, she suggested we go relax on our roofdeck. i told her i was feeling too sick. she’s had a terrible cold the past couple days. i’ve had a weird headache i feel might be a cold coming on. in fact, i made us not one but two pots of my late grandmother’s chicken soup (w/matzah balls and egg noodles). we just had a couple bowls before we left to vote. 

“how about we just watch a movie on the couch?” i suggested. 

she agreed. i don’t know if she was on the phone or  playing on her phone or what, but i was fairly unsupervised (never a good thing) as i flipped thru the on-demand movie options. i went to hbo, then movies, then comedy. i come across “jennifer’s body.” hmmm. i had heard of that. i knew it was a vampire movie. but it was under comedy. and megan fox was supposed to make out with some chick. my homosexuality got the better of me (it usually does when it comes to these sorts of things) and i clicked “ok.” i knew it was dumb but i did it anyway. 

the sound came on and holly looked up. “what did you pick?” she said. oh all the sudden she’s interested.     

“‘jennifer’s body,'” i told her, innocently. 

“WHAT?! WHY?!! that’s a VAMPIRE MOVIE. you’ll never last five minutes!” 

“whatever, babe,” i said. “megan fox kisses a chick. i think i can make it at least that far.” 

well as soon as the scary music started and the camera panned over a backyard in the dark i knew it was a mistake. 

“maybe this wasn’t such a good idea…” i said. but for whatever reason, we could not stop watching. i swear movies like that are such a train wreck. 

have any of you seen “jennifer’s body”? while i suppose it’s kind of tame for a horror movie, it’s pretty gross and pretty damn freaky. in a nutshell, megan fox turns into this demon vampire thing that seduces high school boys and then rips them apart and eats their insides. (silence) yeah, i know. she also scares the begeezus outta you because she keeps showing up all bloody on the side of the road!!! granted, the kiss scene was damn good. but honestly, totally not worth all the carnage to get to it. by the time it ended, i was highly traumatized. highly. cold hands, sweaty palms, the whole thing. and totally scared. as was holly. 

“you feel hot!” holly said, touching my forehead. 

“i know!” i said. “i think the movie gave me a fever!” 

despite my aching head and her bad cold, we both started laughing hysterically. then i proceeded to try to recreate the kissing scene except for i suddenly leaned back, made my hands into claws, let my bangs drop into my eyes, opened my mouth really wide, bared my teeth and hissed which scared the hell outta holly. she screamed like a little girl then i screamed like a little girl and then we both collapsed into laughter. then i did it a couple more times. which i know was mean, but damn it was so funny. i wish you coulda been there. 

“STOP DOING THAT! YOU’RE SCARING ME!” she screamed. “you have black hair!!!! like a VAMPIRE! like MEGAN FOX! I WANT MY WIFE BACK!” 

by that point i had scared myself, too, so i demanded that she go back to the kitchen with me so i could put away the soup, which had cooled by then. i was not going by myself lest megan fox jump out of the oven, trick me into making out and then eat my insides and leave me for dead. 

i took a slotted spoon and started taking out all the vegetables and whatnot so i could just put the broth away. when i was on the second pot (the one we hadn’t eaten), about my third time in i found something red in the spoon. it was kind of big and red. from a distance it looked like a dried chili pepper or something. i looked closer. it looked like a… 

“ohmygosh. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” 

“WHAT?” holly yelled from the couch jumping up (she had abandoned me in the kitchen after all–thanks, babe). 

“i…i…i think i found a GRASSHOPPER in the soup. or a CRICKET. a BRIGHT RED CRICKET IN THE SOUP.” 

a vampire cricket! 

“get. over. here.” 

as i held back gags, she took a look and screamed. then i screamed. we were both screaming when her mom and twin sister called. while she told them about the movie and how scared we were and then about the huge insect we just found in our CHICKEN SOUP, my gears turned. everyone has mice in this city. rats (and cats) out back. sure, some bugs. but never something like this. hell, crickets don’t even chirp outside, let alone land in your kosher chicken soup on a tuesday night. 

the parsley! i thought. the dill! THE DAMN PESTICIDE-FREE HERBS. (we’ve recently gone organic.) 

“dammit, honey!” i exclaimed. “it was the damn parsley or dill! i soaked them like three or four times but i never separated the leaves. i bet the bug was hiding in there.” 

by that point, heidi (holly’s twin sister; identical twin sister), was on a roll, laughing her head off about how scared we were over some teen vampire flick, and now the giant red cricket in our soup. 

“one, two, freddie’s comin for you,” she whisper-sang over the speakerphone (DAMN THE SPEAKERPHONE). “three, four, better shut the door….” 

i gasped. the freddie krueger theme song! 

“STOPPIT HEIDI!” i shouted. “YOU’RE A BAD SISTER-IN-LAW!” 

i drowned her out with the garbage disposal, which i turned on to grind up the vampire cricket. i turned my head away as i poured in the soup, but it was no use. i saw the damn thing out of the corner of my eye. 

at that point i’d had enough. i was ready for the sun to come up. i just wanted to go to sleep. it took a while to make my way into bed, however, since i flipped on every single light in the house after the movie ended. (oh please you’ve totally done that after a horror movie) 

“i’m scared,” i told holly after i got into bed. 

“you see?” she said, flipping on bravo. “i told you not to watch that movie. i told you it was a bad idea.” 

she was right. again. the moral of the story is that i need to ignore the hype and stick to the romantic comedies from now on. also that megan fox scares the sh*t outta me. and always wash leafy herbs carefully.

b-bye bread

so tonight starts the jewish holiday of passover. it’s quite an involved story, (the book of exodus could break it down for you. or you could click on that handy lil link in the first sentence of this post. tad bit briefer!), but basically:

the jews were enslaved for hundreds of years in egypt, what, like 3/4,000 years ago?  i’m not exactly sure, but a very long time ago, as in, the era of pyramids (since the enslaved jews actually built some of them). so there was moses (“let my people go!”), and then G-d stepped in and there were plagues (locusts, darkness, boils, you know, just your average week in the life of the ancients) and then grand finale: the angel of death/killing of the first born (son). the jews put lambs blood on their doors to signify they were jewish, and so the angel passed over (hence “passover”) their homes and their sons were spared. that was pretty much the last straw for the egyptians, and they were like, “get out.”

so the jews left in a huge hurry. such a hurry that their bread didn’t have time to rise. hence matzah (the flat cracker-like stuff that’s sold around this time of year). then the pharoah (egyptian ruler) was like, no, wait, i changed my mind. so the jews are pursued in the desert until they hit the red sea. just as they’re about to be captured, it splits and they get to the other side, and splash, the red sea crashes on the egyptian soldiers. then there’s 40 years in the desert and there you go.

it feels kinda wacky to write it all out here on a blog entry in 2009. i mean, plagues? angel of death? lamb’s blood? an ocean splitting? but this is in the Torah (the old testament), and whether or not you’re into the details, the bottom line is, us jews were in dire straights and G-d stepped in and saved us. so we commemorate G-d’s kindness and the freedom we enjoy today every year at passover by not eating leavened bread (instead we eat the aforementioned matzah; it represents the hardships of our enslaved ancenstors) and a host of other things for a week. we also have two sedars, which retell the exodus from israel. the first one’s tonight and the second is tomorrow night (always the first and second nights of the holiday). 

i’ve always loved passover. ppl think i’m crazy for it, since there are so many food restrictions. but first of all, i enjoy anything associated with food. also, to me, passover [“pesach” (PAY-saCH) in hebrew, and that last “CH” you say like you’re clearing your throat. that’s right! you got it 😉 ] means spring. there’s fresh fruits, things are blooming, the sun’s out. also? cream cheese. passover means whipped cream cheese (easier to spread on very breakable matzah). also chocolate. and chocolate-covered matzah (sounds weird but really, sooo good).

i usually forget it after the second sedar is over, but passover also means freedom. that’s the real meaning of it. the jewish ppl have had their fair of drama. usually some leader or group of ppl is trying to kill us off or at least force us to stop practicing or convert. but here we are. still here. still goin’ strong. there may be less of us, but we’re here and determined to be around for the long haul. that’s really what this holiday is about. the freedom to live as jews, and that G-d’s never abandoned us, not even in our darkest hour. there are still jews around the world that can’t practice their faith freely, and passover’s a time to reflect on that and pray that one day our world will evolve so all jews, all ppl, can be free.

so, yes. b-bye bread! b-bye pizza. and also many other things (like beans and peanut butter and rice and corn chips and corn syrup, which is in a surprising number of things) that i won’t go into. something i forgot to mention? for all you wine lovers out there? yeah you’re totally supposed to drink four full cups of wine during each sedar. i stick to grapejuice, but yeah. four cups. of wine. haha. tttys, everyone!