Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Back in time to take off

We got back from our trip to LA just fine on Wednesday night. I mean, we got in half an hour late, but considering some of the tales of woe we heard from fellow travellers (America West: drop dead. But take Phoenix's airport with you, please), we got off easy. We were able to kill time in various bars: they do let you smoke in specified facilities, and there is free wi-fi.

Christmas in LA was pretty much storybook: 75 degrees, sunny, clear, everything. Come to think of it, it was a foodie holiday indeed. I made biscotti for the first time and they came out really good. Somehow, everything in my mom's kitchen tastes better, even if I'm the one making it. To whit: I made these sugar-free oatmeal bars for my dad, who's diabetic, that I'd previously tried out on The Texan. Now, the batch I made in our own kitchen were, well, flavorless. But the batch I made in LA were wonderful. Same with the cheese stuffing I put together, under my mom's direct supervision (and I mean absolutely everything was spelled out, including how best to crack an egg). Plus I was forced nearly at gunpoint to learn how to make an omelet. I don't eat eggs - I just don't like their taste, I have nothing against them really - but when my mom offered to teach me and I declined, The Texan said nothing but just turned and looked at me. Hard. Did I mention that he does eat eggs and loves a good omelet? So now I know how to make them.

Anyways, we're back and looking forward to another long weekend. The federal government is shutting down on Tuesday as a day of mourning for Ford. When Reagan died, they did the same thing. Well, they shut down DC because they figured that there would be awful traffic with all the fancy VIPs coming to the funeral. Luckily for us, it fell on a Friday, right in the heart of beach season, so we were all able to escape to the shore. I also avoided waiting in line to see Reagan lying in state in the Capitol rotunda. I thought about it - just for historical interest and everything - but they were only doing it for a day or so and the line was about six hours long. My interest in history is not that well-developed.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A word to the wise

If you watch "Born into Brothels," for the love of all that is holy, do watch the follow-up in the special features portion of the DVD. The documentary is about these kids who live in Calcutta's brothels where their moms work and their dads, if they're present, lay about and do drugs. A Western woman is working on a documentary about their moms, but because the kids are so engaged, starts classes on teaching them photography as a way of encouraging their creative side. The kids show a real knack for it and so the documentarian starts doing fundraisers for them by selling their art (Sotheby's New York) and striving to get them into boarding schools and away from their home environments.

Not to sound sappy, but you do just fall in love with these kids - they're so sweet and open and funny, and yet completely realistic about their circumstances. The girls particularly are hard to watch, as they're all about 10 and they realize that they are just a few years away from having to work "on the line", as working in the brothels is called. Plus there's the one really talented little boy whose mom gets set on fire by her pimp and he falls into this depression where he stops taking pictures and starts down the road to, well, ruin. You're hoping for the best for these kids and yet you know that this isn't probably going to have the Hollywood happy ending.

The Texan was taking a nap while I watched this and he came into the room right when it was over and while I was unsuccessfully trying to hold back the sobs. They do a follow-up three years later and visit the kids, which I found therapeutic. A wonderful movie - definitely recommend it.


On that cheerful note, The Texan and I leave in, oh crap, three hours for LA. Have I packed? Have I showered? No. But have I set the DVR so my shows will continue to be taped? Oh, you betcha. Happy holidays and safe travels all.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

With a belly full of jelly

Or something. Last night, The Texan decided he was going to make eggnog. Tipping his hat to my predilections, he managed to find a recipe that combined bourbon and rum for the alcoholiest dairy drink ever. I had a big mug full (verdict? delicious, but potent) right before I headed off for bellydance class.

I had been joking that a glass of the stuff would help me shimmy and shake with abandon. Er, no. Yes, there was alcohol in it, but it literally is like drinking a big cup of cream. Try dancing around with a stomach full of that.

We still have quite a bit left. Yet The Texan wants to try out a nonalcoholic version. I think he's trying to give me a heart attack. On the other hand, now I can make homemade eggnog lattes. Suck on that, Starbucks!

PS: Spellcheck didn't recognize "Starbucks." How is that possible?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kicking the cowbell

That's not a euphemism, either. Last night we went to dinner at the Old San Francisco Steakhouse. The Texan was almost beside himself with glee about eating there; he apparently went to the now-defunct one in Houston for his prom. I had wanted to eat at Casa del Sol, but they apparently gave up the ghost on a quiet night and had closed by the time we got there at 8:45 (this town is not kind to late diners, btw. More than once we've had to shuffle around, driving hopefully from restaurant to restaurant, attempting to find a place that's not IHOP that we can eat at after 9PM).

Anyways, it was late and I was hungry, so I said that the Old San Francisco Steakhouse was fine as a second choice. It wasn't until we were just about to open the front door when The Texan said, "And I hope that the girl on the swing is there tonight." Sounds dodgy, right? Like she might be taking shifts between the pole-dancers and the strippers? Okay, maybe that's just me. When I lived in Italy, there was this one show I could never figure out that had two middle-aged guys in Hawaiian shirts sitting and talking about the news, sports, etc., while two teenage girls in bikinis slowly swung on swings behind them. The girls were never relevant to the news, mind you: they were just part of the background. So perhaps I am skewed toward negatively interpreting the presence of girls on swings.

But when we walked in, it looked pretty legit. They had a guy in a tuxedo playing the piano and yes, a red velvet swing above the bar. But I couldn't pay much attention to it at first because they brought, while we were waiting for our steaks, a huge cube of cheese with freshly-baked sourdough bread to graze upon. We could shave off all the cheese we wanted, and it really was a never-ending block of cheese as its dimensions were roughly a foot cubed. Oh dear god it was good.

Plus, due to some problems with a recent change in ownership, they didn't have a liquor license. So they were giving their guests free beer and wine. Thanks, don't mind if I do!

About half-way through our meal, the girl dressed up in a California Gold Rush-era can-can outfit came out and helped various drunken customers up on the swing. The goal is to kick the cowbells attached to the three-story ceiling, something that apparently is harder to achieve than you might think. While The Texan tried to goad me into getting up on the swing, I sunk deeper into my block of cheese and free wine.

Finally, after three people tried and failed, the girl got up there and schooled the restaurant on how you swing high enough to kick the cowbell. She did it quite well and made it look pretty easy. By that point in the evening, I'd had enough free wine that I was starting to think *I* could kick the cowbell. Luckily we were finishing up by then, The Texan was itching to go outside for a smoke, and we packed up to head out.

I may have to go back, though, for the cheese if for nothing else. Oh, and the steak was good too. Anything that has bacon wrapped around it can't go wrong, is my opinion.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Apologies to the neighbors

Last weekend, a bunch of houses put up their xmas lights. I came home snickering one night, having seen that one house had set up their lights so that they were running across the yard at what appeared to be about five feet high, or the garrotting-level, as I liked to call it.

Then we put up our lights.

Um, guess how they're strung? IT JUST MADE SENSE TO DO IT THAT WAY. And it looks pretty anyways. Stop judging me - you can walk under it just fine!

We also have a purple tree. Why purple, you might ask? Hey, it's a regal color, and you know, this holiday does celebrate the king of kings. Plus purple strings were 99 cents each at the grocery store.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Back when I lived in DC, I would have to get up early in the morning on weekends in order to make sure no one stole my Washington Post. Now, I have to get up early in the morning every day in order to make sure the dog doesn't piss on my Express-News. (It's not the best paper in the world, but it doesn't deserve that sort of treatment.) I'm not sure if this was much of an improvement.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Another thing to check off the list

Friday night I had a hankering for a chicken salad from a local Cajun place, the Acadiana Cafe. When I suggested we hit the restaurant for dinner, The Texan's face lit up and he said, "Yeah, and we can get gator bits." Hoping that this was something along the lines of buffalo wings, I asked for further clarification. Oh, it's actually real alligator that you're eating there. They deep-fry it and, as does every kind of exotic meat, it's supposed to taste like chicken.

While I love trying all sorts of new foods, I am a bit of a wuss about new kinds of meats. Anything described as "gamey" is generally not going to be a winner with me. Still, how could anyone resist the idea of gator bits?

So off we went. Even better was that they had a sampler appetizer platter with gator bits *and* fried dill pickle slices.

Verdict? I could eat fried dill pickle slices until the cows come home. Gator bits, however.... I took a bite, then chewed, and chewed, and chewed, and chewed, and then I chewed some more. My teeth just could not seem to break through the gator meat. Meanwhile, the protective layer of deep-fried batter came off, exposing the rubbery gator flesh to my palate. I gave up and ended up spitting it out in my napkin. I'm just a chicken - the REAL kind - kind of gal, I guess.