Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Don't Eat All Those Cherries!

Cherry season has begun and I am tickled pink! I love cherries - I can hoards of them. An entire bushel - though I'm sure I'd subsequently die of some cherry-poisoning disease like when George's fiance licked all those envelopes. Anyway, on the way back from Bassano del Grappa, we stopped by the side of the road at a fruit stand selling cherries. They were not "duroni" as the season was a few weeks late (too much cold an drain, apparently), and my father picked up a kilo of them (for a whopping 8 Euros! That is criminal. That's like $5.70/pound, and they weren't even that good. I am currently eating much better cherries for $2/pound.). My grandmother then warned me that cherries make you bloated (never happens to me, by the way, but I didn't argue with her), and then both her and my mother got their mutande (Italian for underwear) in a bunch about how I shouldn't eat them all because what if I then get sick and I can't get on the plane in the morning, blah blah blah. I swear, someone whack me over the head with a kilo of cherries if I ever get to be a worrying nag like the previous two maternal generations in my family. Lord.

And I didn't end up eating all the cherries, not because I was afraid of getting incurable-cherry-bloat-fart disease, but because (1) like I said, they weren't all that good, and (2) I was too full of pizza and tiramisu. But now that I'm back in California and it's cherry season, it is on. At $2/pound, I will be eating a minimum of one kilo a week without fear of the fart.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

30

years old in T-minus 30 days. Yikes! I am old!

Pasta Al Forno, Gnocchi, and Salami

I am on day two of eating nothing but fruit (aside from the snow peas and carrots I am consuming as we speak) and it's getting kind of old. The highlight of the day from a food perspective was the soy-milk latte I allowed myself this morning. Why am I subjecting myself to this? Well, after 5 days of shoving my face with pizza and pasta in Italy, I am scared shitless of getting on the scale. I feel a definite difference in my clothing and marichasana d was not pretty yesterday morning. As Tim says, "2 kilos!". I think it's at least that much. I think tonight I will have pasta because I need some substance, already.

Anyway, I managed to eat only a minimal amount of meat - it was pretty much unavoidable seeing as I can't really say "no" to my Nona and Zio Gigi. So, a small amount of ground beef was eaten, as well as a small piece of home-made/cured salami. That and some shell fish in Venice because if you're in Venice, you have to eat some calamari fritti. Even Air France managed to have my special meal request on file - though it seems they make them mostly for vegan - rather than making two options, one vegan, one lacto-ovo. Annoying because my desserts sucked, while the hubby got things like cheesecake and custard tart. I got some chocolate brownie that tasted like ground-up and formed cardboard since it contained no dairy. Blech. Just reaffirmed that it would be a ginormous sacrifice for me to be vegan. Lacto-ovo is hard enough.

As suspected, Italy is expensive. At least it is for Americans with US Dollars. We ended up spending very little, considering. I had 200 Euros given to me as a wedding gift in 2004 from my now deceased great uncle, and we charged about 150 Euros. So, in total, about 350 Euros, which is about $550 (1 Euro buys you about the same in Italy as does 1 dollar in the US. The only thing cheaper was wine and pizza).

Rusty's paws didn't regress while at the kennel which was a relief. And, as was expected by rational people, our flights went with no incidents, even though my irrational fears had be worried about whatever catastrophic event I was going to experience. The worst of it was going over Hudson Bay in Canada. It's like guaranteed turbulence when you cross that bay. Going over the tip of Greenland, which is more North, was smooth, but both times when approaching Hudson Bay, it got bumpy and continued to be bumpy until coming close to the US-Canada border. But the bumpiness was no where near what I experienced in January of 2000 going over the Alps from Frankfurt to Venice. That was probably the flight that planted the seed of irrational fear of flying. Looking over the spiky snow-covered peaks, I knew there was no where to put this plane in the event we hit some serious shit resulting from the turbulence - my mind was obsessively reciting Hail Mary's and Our Father's. How quick I am to run back to my Catholic school days, huh?

Anyway, if anyone is reading, I am back from my European vacation, weighing 5+ pounds more, but safe and sound, and not bankrupt.

Oh, and I have a new music obsession courtesy of my second cousin. An Italian chick, Elisa Toffoli, who happens to write and sing in English. Stay and Heaven Out Of Hell are the best ones.

Ciao!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Waffling

If you find me venting to the radio while driving it's either related to someone who can't drive or someone (maybe the same someone previously mentioned) who decided to plaster their political and social opinions onto the back of his/her car. There is nothing more aggravating to me than seeing an Anti-Choice bumper sticker with some "fact". Drives me bonkers. I also will talk to non-existent passengers (or existing, who choose to ignore me) when I see a Bush/Cheney '04 sticker -- makes me bananas (side note: interestingly, I have yet to see a McCain sticker... and I live in a county where the Blues are outnumbered). Why (WHY?) must you put your political opinions in my face?

During the 2004 election year, I was torn as to whether or not I wanted to put the Kerry-Edwards sticker on my car. One, because of the above mentioned reason, and two, I was afraid I'd get like rear-ended, living in the Republican Bastion called Southwest Riverside County. Or that acquaintances who leaned right would see my sticker and let that influence their view of me as person. That and I really wasn't all that jazzed about Kerry, though I did spend a Saturday afternoon at a phone bank for the Democratic Party, calling registered Dems in Arizona to get out the vote (at that point, if Kerry was a hula-hooping circus monkey, I would have done the same. I seriously feared another 4 years of Bush, and that fear proved to be correct).

Well, call me a hypocrite because I am seriously considering posting my political views on my car. I know. I am That Asshole. I am a waffler! I want an Obama sticker because it's time, people. We have our nominee.

This time around, unlike in 2004, I really like our candidate. He is not boring like Kerry. He doesn't drone on in speeches like Old Man McCain. I am fired up! I care less now who reads my sticker and wants to rear-end me for being a bleeding-heart liberal, because it's time. It's time to get behind Barack Obama!

Friday, May 2, 2008

They Will Say Anything to Win

I remember sometime last year when "they" (the infamous "they") were predicting gas prices would hit the $4 mark. I though this was the normal media exaggeration to gain viewer-ship. They are just saying this for effect - shock and awe! 4 dollars1 Oh, the humanity! Well, my friends, I just paid $3.99 for the cheap stuff, and I saw $4.02 on the way into work this morning. Holy Moly. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I am paying $4 a gallon for gas. I am thankful I only fill up once a week (and this time I chose to fill only 1/2 way because it was too painful to think I would hit $50 to fill up with 12.5 gallons).

The most hysterical thing about this is the crap spewing from Hilary Clinton and John McCain's useless mouths. They are calling for a temporary reduction of the federal gas tax. It's only 18 cents a gallon! I'm sorry, but paying $3.82 instead of $4.00 per gallon does nothing for me. This country is already broker than a drunk unlucky gambler in Vegas - let's take away a huge chunk of tax income so we have to borrow even more money from China, resulting in more weakening of an already beaten-down dollar. The only one making any sense is Barack Obama. Hilary is so intent on doing anything to get the nomination that it is nauseating. It is puke-worthy.

They need to focus on (1) strengthening the US dollar (which will improve our buying power of gasoline), (2) research and development of alternative energy sources, (3) more fuel efficient vehicles, (4) public transportation. Giving us an 18 cent reduction per gallon of gas is futile. Going from ridiculously-fucking-insanely-high gas prices to ridiculously-fucking-high gas prices is pointless. It's laughable. And it shows that McCain (and Clinton for that matter) doesn't have a grasp on our problem with energy consumption. Gee, that'll fix it, take the tax off - poof! All fixed, look at all that extra 18 cents you have in your pocket, after paying $14 million to fill your gas tank.

I would love to take both of them by the back of the head, ala 3 Stooges, and bonk their foreheads together, Maybe that'll knock them out of their fantasy-land dream world and back into reality.