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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who doesnt love pistachios and chocolate ??


So now that I've made this a couple times ( literally twice) I feel confident enough to give you all the recipe.... Here goes.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees


For the filling...*all of these should be room temp before combining

12 oz cream cheese
12 oz ricotta
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup rough chopped UNSALTED pistachios ( half will go inside , and half for around the edge)
1/3 cup pistachio paste ( got mine at Whole Foods)
1 tsp vanilla

For the ganache ( chocolate covering)...
1 cup semi-sweet choc chips
1/2 bar of dark chocolate of your choice ( broken into small bits)
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup half and half ( or cream )

For the crust...
this is up to you... Ive done it with almond biscotti but I thought the flavor took away from the pistachio a little, so I made my second with regular graham cracker crust, you can even just buy it to make it easier !

Okay... prep crust whether home made or bought, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, ricotta and sugar. Mix or beat till smooth.The whole thing can be mixed on the medium setting. Add one egg at a time mixing in each thoroughly. Then add vanilla, pistachios and paste and beat again till smooth ( this can all be mixed by hand but easier and better with a standing or even hand held beater...or even a blender!). Pour over crust evenly and set in oven for 50 minutes. As every oven is different, just look for the middle to be a little loose but should set during the cooling process. If any part still looks liquid leave it in turned off oven till you feel ok about it.

When done take out and let cool a while, at least 15 minutes, also if you made it in a spring form pan release it.

While your cheesecake is cooling you can make the ganache.

Set up a double boiler ( your gonna have to look this one up, Im sorry! I just dont think Ill explain it very well ) .

In the dbl boiler put half of all your choc and all of the half and half and butter.
Let sit a minute to warm up and then begin slowly mixing this while it melts. Just folding slowly with a spatula. Add the rest of the chocolate slowly, never too much at a time. Once consistent and your cheesecake isnt hot anymore take the ganache off the heat and set it next to cheesecake.

Pour about half of the warm chocolate on the center of the cake and spread slowly over and around edges with a spatula... this could take some getting used to, just do it slowly and add chocolate as necessary. Make sure you cover edges evenly and with a thick enough layer as this will act as the glue for the pistachios.

Placing the rest of the pistachios around the edges is a little tricky. Im actually hoping someone comes up with a better, smarter way to do this. So far the method Ive been using is to use a soup spoon, or tbsp and just push it lightly around the cake one spoonful at a time . After each spoonful turn over spoon to the clean side and give a little extra push into the ganache. Once you've tediously gone around the cake take a look around to see if any areas have been neglected or lost too many soldiers. You can fill these in by hand with pieces of pistachios... just BE CAREFUL ! You can easily make a mark in the ganache that cannot be fixed ( at least to my knowledge). Chill for at least 3 hrs...

Have fun with this, it is DELICIOUS ! And remember you can do whatever you want with the pistachios as far as decorating, this is just how I did it.

Happy eating !

Sunday, November 22, 2009

gomez, get miles

I love Graffiti on facebook ! I wanted to do more with this one, but I didnt know how to save work to do more later yet ! Now I do, watch out!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This blog goes out to some people I love, some Ive even just met, but are clearly not above... you know who you are :)

I spoke to you, I spoke to Ky
I talked to Dyl, I talked to Ry

Asked all kinds of questions, here and there,
To try to make sense of this sordid affair...

I question you all at the end of the day
Life is too short is all I have to say

Do me a favor, and take a deep breath
Focus for a minute, for no one is near death

No need for sticks, no need for stones
What you all really need is some god damned time alone

Not on mom and dads couch, nor on the tour bus
All these places cause more drama, more fuss

I wish for you all some peace and some quiet
To please put an end to this dumb ass riot

That IS what it is, and nothing more
When the clouds leave your membranes you will see this for sure

You will look back and wonder how you got so worked up
Over things so mundane, so trivial, so lame

Get over yourselves, you can do nothing more
None of you are more important, none of you have the cure

To you all I have this to conclude
I love you today, and will love you tomorrow, but this very moment all you bring me is sorrow.

You should know by now we are all just works in progress,
Though right this second you guys seem more like a plain mess

Focus on you and you alone
And maybe, just maybe you will find your way home

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BLING THEORY ( or the Bling Blog I really couldnt decide)

Ok, I think we all know by now what it means when someone refers to "bling"... but just in case here are some visual (above) and textual aids for your understanding....

As defined by the "Urban Dictionary"

bling 1341 up, 269 down love it hate it

Jamaican slang that has been adopted by some African American rappers and inserted into popular culture. The term "Bling Bling" refers to the imaginary "sound" that is produced from light reflected by a diamond. See The Silvertones "Bling Bling Christmas" for the earliest known usage of the slang.
This "bling bling" shit has been done to death.

As defined by Websters dictionary
  • Main Entry: blingbling
  • Pronunciation: \ˈbliŋ-ˌbliŋ\
  • Variant(s): also bling \ˈbliŋ\
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: imitative
  • Date: 1999

: flashy jewelry worn especially as an indication of wealth; broadly : expensive and ostentatious possessions

Alright so I can think of bling, in its current definition, going back at least to George Clinton and thats just in my memory. Im sure there are others that I am not aware of, or at least that are not on the tip of my memory's tongue. Oh wait whats his name... the guy that plays in Groove is in the Heart? Its a funny name, Sloopy, Bitsy, Boots, oh yeah Bootsy ! Bootsy Collins! That song really had a lot going on, with Q-tip rapping and everything... I dont know if Bootsy is older than George but he popped in my head either way, I think he had some bling. ANYWAY, jeez. So bling has been around. It has its lovers and its haters. The haters like to call it tacky, obnoxious, and unnecessary. The lovers just love it I think, and truthfully whether you like it or not it is getting more and more creative as time goes on.

What I'd like to know is whether or not the lovers or haters have ever thought about why bling became such a thing. I have a theory.

It has been said of bling, even in the Websters definition, that one of its purposes is to be a show of wealth. An overt, in yo face, Ive got money honey show piece. Ive personally heard mostly white people criticize it, and mostly black people admiring it. Mostly. Of course there are exceptions in both categories. A white rapper here and there with some bling, a snobby black republican ( yes they exist, just look up the head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele) and I'll tell you what- the ladies from Housewives of NJ could give any rapper with bling a run for their money! My point is that overall I do see it as a black and white issue ( pun intended). Most of the critics are white and proponents black.

That all being said, is it really all that surprising or hard to understand that a black American, male or female, would want to spend their first big sum of earnings on something that would show the world they have attained success? Now this idea is going to touch upon big issues that deserve a post all to themselves but bear with me. I know its been what seems to us a long time since slavery was abolished, and civil rights were enacted, but we all know this is a deep, complex issue that lingers.

I myself have no idea what it would feel like to live in a world where it may seem like the cards were stacked against me. Of course, how deeply your life is affected by your race depends on location, family, education and of course money. I feel down and out at times, truthfully right now Im not doing so hot. Ive been looking for a job for what feels like forever and I have days when I wonder if Ive been "blacklisted" ( a term which ironically has no connection to ethnicity) from all the restaurants in Chicago ! But even on my worst days I still cant imagine adding to that emotion the idea of my people as a race having been enslaved, emancipated, degraded, upgraded at times, and finally given back rights that should never been taken away. I know a lot of white and black people feel this isnt something we should dwell on. To an extent I agree, and I am sure it is circumstantial whether or not this always comes into play. I do think though that to have on your back, to some degree, the idea that it is so much more important that you prove to yourself and the world that you can be a success based on this history is quite a heavy load. Its like being the first in a family to go to college on a much, much grander scale. Furthermore to understand the WHY of certain issues I think keeping this in mind is ever so necessary.

It has only been 45 years since the Civil Rights Act was put in place, outlawing segregation and implementing laws for equal opportunity. 45 years ! That is no time in terms of history, and we all know that when this act was put in place in 1964 the minds of the people who made these laws most necessary were not magically enlightened. Some still arent. Keeping all of this in mind now begin to think about white people. Even though I feel this should be assumed, I think if I dont mention that there are whites who havent always had it easy I might get in trouble ! I do realize that plenty of White, Hispanic, Asian and others out there also have had hard times. These are not who we are focusing on in this particular blog. All Im saying is white people have enjoyed the freedoms of success longer. We didnt have a time of oppression on this continent to set us back. Only time can bring about things like the term "old money" . Only time can allow people to go from humble beginnings to making money, then investing, and finally reaping the returns. Unless you win the lottery, making money, especially lots of money takes a lot of time. Time for trial and error, time to get comfortable enough financially to be able to take the kind of risks that earn the big money, without worrying about the stability of your family. Time is key.

Some people on the other hand have been at it for a good while now, and have had time to establish. Time to pass down money in our families that enables some of us to have an easier time earning even more money. Money for education. Money for hobbies that enrich our lives and sometimes prevent us from going down the wrong road. Money enough to feel mentally and emotionally calm enough to not entertain thoughts of quick fixes, or illegal ventures. Again, I am speaking in VERY broad terms, I know there are people of all kinds that struggle. This is a very general overview, but the truth that is there really does over time affect us so deeply and subconsciously in ways that form our behavior.

So when a rapper makes his first million and doesnt want to immediately invest it all, or run out and buy a house on Marthas Vineyard for his grandchildren to enjoy it makes perfect sense to me. When a singer wants to go out and buy a super giant diamond pendant instead of a "tasteful" strand of pearls, I understand. On an abstract level I might even go as far as thinking I would want to spend money on just the opposite kinds of things than the people who kept my people down. I, too, imagine that I would want to buy whatever screams to the world in the boldest way that I am a money making success, especially since I would have no idea how fleeting my popularity might be. This could be my only chance ! BOOM, Bling theory.

Speaking of bling, get a load of thats what Im bleepin talkin about!

The Guinness Book of World Records has just added Rapper LIL' JON as the owner of the largest diamond pendant ever. The hip-hop star's, "crunklinks Aint Dead" pendant is 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) tall, six inches (15.2 centimeters) wide, and one inch (2.5 centimeters) thick. It weighs almost 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) and features 73 carats of diamonds - with 3,756 round-cut white diamonds encrusted in 18-karat yellow and white gold. The diamond pendant has been valued at about $500,000.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

and the story goes....

So to pick up where I left off a couple Tuesdays ago, Devin and I were not necessarily trying to get jobs together. We were on the hunt together though. We continued our routine of checking craigslist, making our own list and hittin the road... over and over and over. Until one afternoon I had an interview downtown and the plan was for Devin to drop me off and then continue his hunt until I needed to be picked up. So Im in my interview, thinking its going great, it was very casual and we talked about all sorts of things, different than most I'd been on. It was for a serving position at a downtown upscale italian trattoria. Great wine list and the food looked amazing. I had a good feeling about this. When it was all over I found out my instincts were right and my interviewer offered me the second part of their hiring process. It was called a "stage" pronounced st-aaa-ge...and I had never heard of it. It is kind of a meet the staff and hang around a bit interview, you get to see if you really are interested and vice versa. I agreed to it of course, and thought it sounded like such a smart idea. Why didnt all places do this? So we set a time and day, and I was on my way.

When I got outside I gave Devin a call, it turned out he was around the corner and there to get me in a matter of minutes. I got in the car and he politely asked me how it went down and what I thought about it all and patiently listened to me while holding in the fact that he had just been hired ON THE SPOT ! That bastard ! He had to one up me ! Just kidding, I was ecstatic for him and couldnt believe he let me talk for so long without interrupting!

So now we had one down and just one to go.... ME !

Monday, September 21, 2009

Is everyone really a STAR?

I really am at a loss when it comes to the whole reality TV, myspace, everyones a celebrity world we seem to live in these days.

Although I do think it is interesting and exciting how the playing field has been somewhat leveled by way of outlets such as myspace, twitter, blogs and facebook, for the most part I feel its taking us down a weird road. Is it awful that I miss the days when a pretty face and body only made you a model? Maybe I am just embarrassed for the female race when some of these girls open their mouths. The thing is some of these girls are absolutely beautiful, and have gorgeous bodies that no one can deny, but as bad as this sounds they have forgotten their place ! It used to be that women lucky enough to be born with the looks to model would focus on just that, and work with photographers to create artistic, beautiful shots. Oh wait, we still have these models dont we? They just dont have daddy issues or the media disease that is taking over the world. These outlets have given every person with a void to fill a way to get the attention ( negative or positive) that they need. It used to take a little more talent and a least a bit of brains for someone to end up with a microphone in their hand, or a book deal. Obama even mentioned this in his speech to kids on their first day of school. He said something to the tune of its not as easy as it looks to become a reality TV star, professional athlete, or rapper. Kids are understandably confused. The media, and the fact that regular people have such unprecedented access to promote themselves and show the world is making life and goals and dreams really confusing. If I was in high school already when all of this was the norm Im positive my outlook would be different.

Last night I was tossing and turning ( Ive had mild insomnia my whole life) and with hopes of burning out my brain I turned on a show called REALITY HELL. I had never seen it before. I had heard of it and had a fleeting thought at first that it might at least have a clever twist compared to most of these shows. It works like most of the others, where strangers are competing for something they would never even think of wanting without the hopes of getting their 15 minutes of fame. In this case, though, one poor soul is being duped. All the other people involved are paid actors. So this one contestant, in this case " Louie", who was a perfect product of everything Ive been talking about in this post... total douche that thinks the contrived sparkle in his eye and six pack that is exposed less than 10 minutes into the show are taking him places. In this episode three dudes are competing to win the heart and purse of a "cougar" and this cougar is on its its last leg, obviously this is to make it funnier? Anyway he falls for it and goes for the win 150%. And really who can blame him? How should he know that the same industry that helped make him into the super douche that he is, has now turned on him in order to find a new angle to exploit (and I thought this would help me sleep??) .

I thought it wasnt possible for me to think any less of the reality TV industry, but now I do. This is too much for me to cover in one post without going on and on and on... So lets leave it at this for now. Watch my Tila Tequila clips and you tell me whether inventiveness/capitalism or self degradation and daddy issues are winning this battle????

And if I may say Tila, I completely understand the desire to address people who might be posting negative comments towards your fans, and I even agree that they could find better things to do. But first of all, you of all people should know that is the sole purpose of the internet. People enjoy a freedom to comment whether or not any one else gives a shit. So on the one hand, I think you are wasting your time , on the other if you had done it well and articulated your point AT ALL it might of made a difference... way to go and f@*k up your one opportunity to show us you have a brain cell or two... better luck next time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

PUNCH you in the face ! ( it really will )

Punch. I know, I know, you think of spiking it at the school dance ( maybe that was just in movies) or a party at your Grandmas house. Well punch is making a come back ! Im not talking about your old run of the mill punch with pastel colored sherbet (a.k.a sorbet !) Im talking about punch that actually lives up to its name, and honors its fun, festive yet elegant reputation.

Sooo, todays recipe is for the best prosecco punch EVER !!! Just in case you havent been made aware of the joy that is prosecco, let me explain. Prosecco is, in a nutshell, Italys champagne. It is more affordable ( to a fault, if you know what I mean !) and absolutely delicious in its own right. It is not made in the strict traditional process that true champagne is, yet has many of the same qualities. Most grocery and liquor stores now have a decent variety ranging from dry to a bit sweeter and all very reasonably priced. It is great alone, but a perfect base for a light punch as well.

I made this to bring to a party last spring in Arizona ( which may as well be summer since it was HOT HOT HOT !)...It was a hit ! Among other comments I got a lot of " Its so hot out, I didnt want beer and couldnt think of what to drink... this punch is perfect !" , " not too sweet, refreshing, just right!" ... even guys were drinking it, just in a different glass !


1 bottle prosecco

peach flavored vodka( half of a 1 liter bottle, I told you it packs a punch !)

cranberry juice ( enough to make a ring out of and a splash into the punch as well)

one ruby red grapefruit ( cut in half, one half juiced one half sliced into rings)

1 liter bottle sparkling water ( anything from Pellegrino to plain old soda water will work)

This will make enough to fill an average size punch bowl.

The hardest part of this is making the frozen cranberry juice ring, unless of course you have an actual mold which I dont ! The idea here is to keep the punch chilled without watering it down. I simply poured the cranberry juice in a medium sized bowl and then rested a jar of something heavy right in the middle for the "ring" effect, place this in the freezer. Obviously you want to do this in advance.

When the juice ring is ready you are ready ( oh and if you used my method you may have to run just a bit of room temp water over the jar to get it out !) . If you are bringing the punch to a party, make it there, it is much easier and will be more bubbly ! Either way, put the beautiful ring of dark red cranberry juice in the bowl first. Then pop the bubbly and pour it on in, next half of the bottle of peach vodka, the whole bottle of sparkling water, a splash of the cranberry juice, and the juice of the grapefruit. Finish this by floating the grapefruit slices you set aside in the punch, these will add panache, slowly absorb alcohol and most likely end up a treat for someone special ! This punch is great ladled out into glasses alone, and also holds up well over ice.

Cheers !

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gotta Love the Kids

The kids are back! To school I mean, and we live RIGHT across the street from an elementary school ! When I say that I mean that I could throw a rock and hit the school, not that I would ever do that. When we first moved here it was one of the funniest things to me to just sit and listen to them when they were on recess. Since they alternate them all in shifts that means ALL DAY. It made me think back to being in grade school. Did we really scream bloody murder like that? I dont really remember doing so, but when I look at myself in the photo to the right I think I actually do see the glimmer in my eye of a child that could very well have it in them to scream bloody murder! Not the bad kind of bloody murder though, if that makes any sense. Just the crazy let it all out, obsessed with life, cant wait to get on the monkey bars bloody murder ! I wanted to get some audio of this for you but I was afraid to look like a creep, holding up my digital camera on the sidewalk near the playground ! Anyway, they were gone all summer and it was a little too quiet around here, so Im happy to have em' back ! So if you find yourself near a school playground take a second to listen to the perfectly balanced, loud and crazy anarchy . Think back to when you had that wonderful, scheduled in free time to go bananas just for the sake of going bananas. People actually scheduled this in for you. Why dont we do this anymore as adults? You gotta love the kids !

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Christmas Story ( long story, but I bet you laugh out loud)

I'll tell you when to start the music on this one if you dont mind...

So Im going to take a bit of a break and tell you a personal story. I know thats kind of what Ive been doing, but I mean that Im not going to continue from last weeks Tuesday post. I was reminded of this story recently and thought it would be a good one to share, and it is also keeping in the theme of Tuesday being a bio day.

Let us go back to last December I think... yes definitely last Christmas Im sure. Ok, so Devin was going coming home with me for the Christmas holiday for the first time. He had been to NJ with me many times already, just not for Christmas. Which, even as I write this, seems weird for me to be emphasizing since my family has never been religious. My mothers side of the family is Jewish and my fathers is Episcopalian. Maybe their parents were religious to an extent but in our hearts my immediate family just never was. Either way we always had a Christmas tree and a menorah in the house during the holidays. Some may think this to be superficial, being that these are symbols of religion, but if you knew us at all you would realize it was only that we couldnt resist being festive. Anyone who doesnt feel warm and fuzzy inside when they see a lit Christmas tree makes me a little nervous and very sad !

Point being, I was really excited for Devin to be coming home with me. Especially since on top of not being religious in nature, he really isnt one for the holidays ! So I was hoping our non- denominational, lazy, over-eating, movie watching, present opening, coffee and Kahlua on Christmas morning De Vesty family fun could turn him around ! So when we woke up at whatever ungodly hour it was leave for the airport in Phoenix these were the things going through my mind. Now I am someone who would rather be running to the gate and almost miss the flight rather than sit in those awful airport chairs for the 2 hrs early they claim you need to be there. Devin on the other hand is a plan for the worst kind of guy. Interesting combo. It works though somehow.

So of course our ride picks us up right on time, there is no traffic at all and we get there super duper early. Again, its really early, like maybe 6:30 AM by the time we get there. Barely awake we walk towards the gate thinking about whether or not coffee makes any sense at this hour. We decide to go sit down a minute and decide then. As we are approaching the gate I think, out of the corner of my eye, that I recognize a guy I used to date. It had probably been about 5 years since I had seen him and now, at 6:37 AM before my first cup of coffee was not when I felt like making small talk. Holy s$%t, he is carrying a baby ! I mumble to Devin to steer the other direction and find seats. He was confused but I explained it all to him as soon as we sat down. Well I didnt explain that it had ended badly, mostly meaning this guy had screwed me over big time. Boyfriends dont want to hear all that ! Anyhow, of course I spied a little and a clear picture developed that he was married and had a baby now and they all looked very happy. In all honestly I was happy for him. It was so long ago and we had both moved on, but that STILL didnt mean I felt like schmoozing at this early hour. Devin and I sat around for what felt like forever waiting to board. Oh and yes, this does mean we were all on the same plane, sorry forgot to mention that. The ex and his family were sitting just left of the gate door facing forward. So I knew when we boarded I would have to be stealth. More and more time goes by, and it seems like we should have boarded already. Great, now I have to pee. The bathroom was only right there. I could do it. Well, Devin was worried I was cutting it too close, again, not a risk taker in these type situations. So I waited. But then sooo much more time went by that I couldnt take it anymore. I told him I was going and that if worse came to worst I would meet him on the plane.

Off I went. I was in and out of that bathroom in record time. Barely dried my half washed hands and ran the hell out of there. When I could see the gate I noticed Devin was in line and literally next to go through the door to the sky way. So I ran my ass to the line, right past the area the ex and his family were sitting, in my peripheral I could see them. I made it up there and the man behind Devin was very nice and let me go ahead of him. Perfect ! I cant remember exactly what I said, but I know I made a cocky comment to Devin about how my timing wound up just right and how he didnt think I could do it. For some reason I was proud of this feat. Well the guy who had let me into the line, the nice man, he started mumbling something to me... I couldnt make it out. He started doing these weird eye signals to Devin. And then to me. It got really confusing. Then it seemed like he was looking kind of down behind me, I started to think he was nuts ! Then his patience of our non understanding started wearing thin. After a little more of this he finally leaned in to me and said " Ms., you have toilet paper coming..." He didnt even need to finish his sentence and I knew ! He tried to go on about how the same thing had happened to his wife once and he couldnt let it happen to me... he was probably just being polite ! So I turn to try and look but it was difficult, so Devin literally took me and turned me around so my back was just to him and assuming it was just a bit of paper he tried to grab it.Well, have you ever seen the bit when a clown pulls all the colorful scarves or ribbon or whatever it is out of his mouth and it seems like it is never ending? Exactly. It just kept coming. To this day I have no idea how I had so much of it in there !

(Cue the music)

So just take a minute and go back to the scene when I leave the bathroom... Think slow motion. There I went, proudly out of the bathroom door briskly walking at first, then jogging and finally running through the airport all the way to the gate and into line. Who knows how long that beautiful, hilarious, unbeknownst to me, flowing tail of toilet paper really was...So poor Devin politely rips off what hes got and we are standing in the sky way awkwardly, laughing nervously, not knowing what to do. So I hold out my hand for him to give me the tissue because it seems hes done enough for me already and he leans in and says two things... 1. "Just to warn you its a little moist" and 2. "I didnt get all of it" ! OMG could this get anymore ridiculous? I played it off like I wasnt embarrassed but of course I was, when I got on the plane I went right to the bathroom and handled the remainder of the tissue issue ! While I did that I thought of how much effort I put into not talking to my ex and meeting his family. Instead I went running past them with toilet tissue streaming out at least a foot behind me with a smile on my face. Is there a bigger idiot on this planet? I could have used the coffee and Kahlua I spoke of earlier right about this time !

Im pretty sure thats my most embarrassing yet entertaining story to date. Im not sure its as good in writing, but Ive had many a person rollin over that one in person !

Ah, what a wonderful world...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Only in America !

Remember a while ago the President had a meeting in Arizona and the news showed a man who came to attend slinging a gun? Well turns out the night before this meeting he was in Tempe, Arizona at the Faithful Word Baptist Church listening to a sermon by Pastor Steven Anderson. The story of this pastor and what he has been preaching broke last week.

This church is on Southern Avenue, a street I have driven on many, many times in my years in Tempe. I think I can even picture the church itself. We all know looks can be deceiving, but never in a million years would I have thought that such extreme, fundamental hate could be lurking inside. Its all especially surprising because though Arizona does tend be a more conservative, red state, Tempe itself is quite liberal. It is an independent Baptist church. Pastor Anderson does not have a college degree ( nor do I , not judging), but I guess that isnt a requirement, typically people in positions like his have come up through Bible College and start their own church. In his case since the church is independent
he was " sent out by a totally independent Baptist church to start it the old fashioned way by knocking on doors and winning souls to Christ. This is the scriptural way" . This quote is direct from the website of the church ( This website also has a list of audio clips from many of the pastors other sermons, very interesting.

In this clip you can hear a small portion of the sermon... ( if you pause this one at 1:39 its pretty priceless)

All that being said, Pastor Anderson has some serious convictions, and he uses the Bible to back them up. Quoting scripture to defend why it isnt wrong to pray for President Obama to die of natural causes every night when he goes to bed. This pastor also had a situation this past spring with border patrol supposedly harassing him and eventually physically harming him. Anderson claims the incident was unconstitutional, I believe it is being investigated but inconclusive for now . He also was against President Bush and the war in Iraq, so I guess we cant call him a racist. Darn ! Just kidding, the one thing I will give this guy is that he seems genuine. I know that must sound strange amid such and awful story, but I do have more respect for someone who I believe is acting on behalf of their true feelings regardless of how incredulous their behavior may seem. Most of what we see today are people saying and acting one way but having ulterior motives (fear), and hidden agendas ($) . Like some of the politicians against health care reform claiming to be so concerned with our elderly and small business owners when we really all know they are just worried about the relationship with big pharmaceutical companies. I mean since when have republicans ever been for small business, why should we believe that is such a huge concern of theirs now? Anyway, dont get me wrong, I am not supporting this guy at all, I might just have one little tiny iota of respect for the way he is standing by his own words. He knows exactly how he feels and seems so far to have no qualms talking about it. He has a right to express himself and is utilizing this right louder and more often than most, the unfortunate part is that people are listening.

Below CNN s Rick Sanchez reporting on the connection between Anderson and the man with a gun at the Presidents meeting in Phoenix...

This is Michelangelo Signorile of Brooklyn, a graduate of Syracuse Universitys school of journalism, gay rights activist and among other things a Sirius satellite radio talk show host, here he is interviewing Pastor Anderson...

I guess it shouldnt be surprising that where there is hate, there is more. I mean this guy is just full of it ! Now I dont consider myself religious in the conventional sense of the word, but I think I might start doing my own kind of praying that Pastor Anderson, and anyone as toxic as he, be delivered from the nonsensical, deep hatred that is most likely inhibiting them from truly enjoying the pleasures of life. For all of you Baptists out there, dont fret. Unless youre actually talking about apples, one bad one does NOT spoil the bunch !

Friday, September 11, 2009

All you need is Love ( why isnt LOVE considered a proper noun? I think we should always capitalize it)

This weekend is the wedding of my great friend Mike and his amazing fiance Meryl. I would like to spend time wallowing in the fact that I am unable to attend the wedding but that would be extremely selfish, and most likely boring ! ( oh and I know I said Id be telling you about LAST weekends wedding but that will have to wait... carpe diem ! )

So todays post is dedicated to Mike and Meryl. I Love you both and I know that you have a lifetime of Love and peace ahead of you.

" Ive ALWAYS been in Love, it was only a matter of finding someone to really get in there with me ". That is something I realized recently, or maybe I always knew but had never been able to articulate. Obviously the quote is meant to be from my own personal perspective, but it got me thinking about all people.

First let me explain what I mean by the quote. This may sound strange but when I look back on my life and think about past romances, friendships, and even infatuations I can recognize that the Love I feel and express today was there in every instance. Its the same exact Love I feel now when I smile catching Devin singing in the shower, or when I beam with pride and Love watching a friend or family member graduate or get married, even when I cry in empathy over a sad but true documentary on TV. It all comes from the same bottomless reservoir of Love inside of us all. We like to break it up, being the organizers we are, into categories that help us forget that Love is simply Love. I think my point here is that we naturally come into this world in Love, in this instance I do not mean born into Love, although of course I hope that to be true as well.

Some people know they are in Love from the day they are born, you know these types. They glow. They laugh a little harder, cry a little more, and it always seems like there are people around them quietly wondering what their secret is. These are the people who show genuine interest when they are making small talk to the grocery store check out lady. They get a sparkle in their eye upon meeting a new person and learning all about them. They are wide open to accept the world in all its glory and consequence. Every day is new and wondrous, and somehow the child inside them is always present. Even though these people almost sound complete as they are, that does not take anything away from the moment they find their other piece of the puzzle.
Only now is the full potential to manifest all of their dreams possible.

Now others dont realize the Love they are in for years and years until the right person opens their eyes to it. This may sound like a sad lot but it isnt. Life can be almost as good this way, especially since you dont know what youre missing. Its just like saving a present to be opened later, forgetting it was in the closet, and then being pleasantly surprised when it finds you. It could be a romance that enlightens them and helps them open the present, it could also be a parent, a friend, even a stranger ... the possibilities are endless. Watch out though, once the ribbons are torn off and the scraps of wrapping paper are a big mess all over the floor, the light will come streaming out through every crack in the box until the world is suddenly anew ! Now Love is everywhere and there is no turning back. We've all seen what happens when someone tries to wrap the Love back up in the box, it isnt pretty. There are open patches without wrapping paper here and there, and there never seems to be enough tape to get it back in properly. I wouldnt recommend this to anyone !

It is the coming together of these great people in different stages of opening the present that make the world such an interesting place to live in, and I am thankful for that.

Now, back to Mike and Meryl. Mike, whom I have had the pleasure to know for most of my life, is definitely a member of group number one. Mike , you ALWAYS have a light in your eyes like you are waiting for the next amazing thing to just pop up out from around the corner ! What is it you know that the rest of us dont ?!! Maybe it was Meryl you were always awaiting... but now that she has come along the light is even brighter!( so there goes that theory). Meryl, we have only had a small time to get to know each other. I dont think I can comfortably throw you into either category, you could even be a little bit of both. What I can say though, is that together you are balanced and beautiful. I have seen peace in both of your eyes anytime we have all been together, and peace is drastically underrated.

I feel so honored and lucky to have been with you, Mike, through so many different parts of life where Love was present. Even though we have lived way too far from each other for far too long, you are truly one of the closest people to my heart. From cutting a rug at the school dance in the senior commons, putting me in fits of laughter in Ms. Parmleys art class( and really I couldnt count the laughter we shared on a million hands over all this time) , and maybe most importantly sadly sharing many tears over the loss of your mother. Now is a time of Love that I will be missing out on and I can hardly bear it ! ( you should see the tissues around me right now, god maybe its better Im not there- I dont know if I could handle it !) It is breaking my heart not to be there but I know you know that. You both will be in my thoughts and heart all weekend.

I know your day will be beautiful , it couldnt be any other way with two people as authentic, creative and Loving as you are. CONGRATULATIONS ! MAZEL TOV ! I LOVE YOU !

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What is going on?

When I heard that President Obama was going to give a speech to American children on their first day of school my initial thought was, how cool? ! I would have loved that as a kid. Even though my instinct was that it would be a back to school pep talk revolving around educational issues, I wanted to look into it a bit, so I did. Well unless a lot of people were lying, including the transcript of the speech, that is just what it was setting out to be. An inspirational, motivational, self-empowering pep talk !

Here is a clip of a mother who is very upset about the school speech. (Come on people, is this really something to cry about?? This is what I mean when I say people want to demonstrate conviction and emotion without being informed. Sometimes I think we all just want attention.)

As much as I would like to credit Obama as being the first to do this he isnt. George Bush Senior, Reagan and many others have done this in the past, and in Reagans case he even mixed some politics into the speech ( they couldnt even vote yet!). The strange thing is I cannot find any remnants of there being such opposition to any of the others. I would assume parenting is hard enough as it is. Why in the world wouldnt you want a strong figure giving your kids a little extra boost in the right direction? Most of the voiced opposition is coming from areas of the country that we know voted mostly for McCain. So what? Your guy didnt win the big race. Life goes on. So you are conservative, republican and voted for McCain, I still think that you should possess the logic and smarts to recognize that the President is a figure to be looked up to. If for nothing else simply for all the hard work a person in that position must have put in to get there. That work ethic, that diligence, that unrelenting drive to realize a dream... arent these the type of things you would hope would rub off on you children? I wish some of it would rub off on me right now !

The argument, if you could call it that, seemed to be that young children shouldnt be exposed to or exploited in politics. Im pretty sure we can all agree on that. That would be a great argument if it correlated to this AT ALL. I think its fair to say it would not be a stretch to assume that these certain groups of parents who opposed showing the speech in school would NOT have felt the same if McCain was giving the talk to the kids. Isnt that the definition of politicizing the situation? Dont you think these kids being kept home for that hour or that day are wondering and asking why? What kind of an explanation can you imagine these parents giving them? Im going to guess that it doesnt come across as very patriotic. Very confusing since I thought McCain supporters were supposed to be the most patriotic of all! So if anyone is exposing children to politics I would have to say, in this case, its the parents themselves.

Well I watched the speech, and I loved it ! In fact it made me wish I was in school again ! It even touched on some very relevant media and societal issues that I really do feel are at the root of some problems kids have today. If you havent already, I would highly recommend watching the speech. I tried to set you up with a clip but I must doing something wrong ! Oh well, my favorite part is when Obama tells the kids he knows it looks easy to grow up and become a rapper, NBA player, or reality TV star but it probably isnt gonna happen ! Let me know your thoughts...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So where was I ?

Ok, so if you read last Tuesdays post you should be caught up on at least the gist of my work history. If I had to sum it up Id say I have some pretty well rounded experience in all different aspects of the restaurant industry, sprinkled with a few odd jobs that revolved around customer service/ relations.

So here we are, Devin and I, in Chicago. Had a blast with all our initial visitors, and a great time exploring the new neighborhood. Now it was job time ! It was mid July and time to buckle down. We werent sure how to attack the city. Since there were so many different places we had heard about and wanted to go we decided to drive as opposed to taking the bus or train, this was because we didnt want to waste a ton of travel time between restaurants. The routine became to wake up, check craigslist for any ads that looked good, make a list of the addresses and hit the road. In between the places that were on the actual list we would go everywhere along the way that we came across. Some days we would be mostly downtown, others Lincoln Park, Roscoe Village, Old Town and everything in between.

I should take a minute here to say that Devin and I werent necessarily trying to get a job at the same place. Although, not only did we meet on the job ( kind of...) but have worked together for the past four years going on five( three of which we were dating) ! I know, insane. Many people wonder to themselves and sometimes out loud directly to us about how on earth we havent killed each other yet. Considering we have also lived together for almost two years now, it really is a good question, and one I have no answer to ! It is one of the things I am most proud of though, especially when I hear the stories of couples who have attempted the same feat. We get a lot of " How do you do it?", " I would kill him/her by the end of the week !". Well I dont know, but it would take less than one hand to count the times I cried at work for reasons Id like to blame on Devin, and every time I did it on the back dock of the restaurant sending others to care for my tables. In three years of dating and working together I think thats pretty damn impressive ! And when I really think about it almost every instance was on a Saturday, which meant it was our last shift of a really long week and both of us had just had it with everything, not necessarily each other. So anyway, our thought was if we ended up working in the same place that would be fine, but we were not setting out for that, in fact we liked the idea of meeting lots of new people through different jobs...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Roadtrip !

I went to a wedding in Sharon, Pennsylvania this weekend. I drove there with Devin and his father Patrick. Six hours both ways. On the way there last Friday I couldnt sleep wink. I think the anticipation of the weekend ahead kept my wheels turning. Considering I slept almost the whole way back Im pretty sure this was true. The wedding was beautiful, genuine, and simple in the best way (a nine minute ceremony? Hallelujah!) . Anyway, I ll tell you all about the wedding on Friday.

Today I would like to talk about the drive itself. The things I saw along the road, and what it lead me to think about.

We left straight out of downtown Chicago at about 11 am. The city was in full bustle by now. The streets full of cabbies, the sidewalks filled with walkers hustling around carrying their second or maybe third Starbucks purchase of the day. Everyone seemed to have a purpose. We talked briefly about which freeway seemed the smartest to take out of town considering it was the beginning of a holiday weekend. Oh yeah, happy Labor day !! We chose the I-80. It was a great choice. Easy breezy the whole way, and when I say the whole way I mean we didnt get off the 80 until we exited into Sharon, PA. Who would have thought one road could take us all the way to our destination? Once we got on the freeway from downtown we were in Indiana almost immediately. Passed what seemed like a couple small suburbs right away, then it became much sparser. It was a huge contrast from the city we were only about 20 minutes from by now. Devin or his Father then told me we were now passing though Gary, Indiana. Ive heard of this place before, I thought to myself... but why? Then Devin said " This is considered one of the armpits of America" . Being from NJ I am particularly sensitive to this phrase ! Since I know how beautiful parts of NJ are I am always skeptical when I here this about other places. But considering it was the beginning of a 6 hour drive I didnt really want to get into it over why people called it an "arm pit". I just started to look around.

The first thing I saw were two billboards directly across from each other on opposite sides of the road. I tried to take a picture for this post but getting one that actually showed the proximity was impossible. To my right I read in huge letters " JOBLESS?" and written below were some local statistics on unemployment in Gary, and then some local resources to help the unemployed. On my left, the second billboard read "CASINO" , "Come and try your luck" , " Biggest payouts in all of Indiana!" . I thought this hilarious and ironic at first. Then it turned sad. Its always been interesting to me that the people most suseptible to the lure of easy money are the ones that are most down and out. This idea makes as much sense as it doesnt. Of course a person in a bad spot, maybe unemployed, with bills to pay would love a fast fix trip to the casino that has the ever present possibility of solving all their financial problems. Sounds perfectly reasonable. On the other hand completely illogical. These are the people with the most to lose. If somebody with money to burn walks into a casino and loses a couple hundo for fun there are usually not much for consequences. Some poor soul trying to make rent could really dig themselves a deeper ditch. So why does it seem to me that these vulnerable people, trying to avoid eviction are the ones targeted by advertisers? Maybe I was just over analyzing things that day. And by no means do I imply that whoever approved the placement of these ads had any idea how ironic it looked. Either way it was an odd site to behold.

The rest of the drive we past through lots of industrial areas, both currently in use and some that seemed untouched for decades. It was a progressive journey that ended in Sharon, PA, which according to our cab driver was being slowly taken over by "blacks" ( this guy was enough to talk about in another post and completely killed my wedding buzz). In between all the " blacks" this and "blacks" that, he said most of the businesses in the area had closed down, and they had major drug dealing and using problems that the police cant handle. Driving around the town it looked like it might of had a heyday. Not much proof left of that now. Lots of empty retail/commercial space and run down buildings. No matter what we found the right places and people to make a great time for ourselves !

Like I said the wedding was great, we had a blast ! The travelling itself gave me perspective on the country I never had before, I had never even been through any of these places. The ride back was a weird reverse trip back to city life. Turns out going to a wedding in Sharon, Indiana is much more thoughtful, educational and eye opening than I imagined. For that I am grateful.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The LYG Story

Fridays are supposed to be the day for my mushy, pukey, nauseous love post. But since its week one of this blog I'll stray only slightly and use the days post to explain the title of this blog. Love Your Guts.

Its funny, it seems so simple and obvious to me. Its just a twist on the old "hate your guts!". From time to time, though, many friends and strangers alike have asked me to explain it. I cant do it without talking about Rachell Grubbs. One of the best friends Ive ever had, even though we have thousands of miles between us now ! We met working at a coffee shop in Tempe, Arizona and immediately got along famously. We worked together there for I think about 2 yrs... I know it was over a year for sure, and most likely close to 2. Im convinced that we had more fun at work than anyone in the history of fun at work ! We did behind the counter interpretive plastic bag dancing, drank countless shots of espresso, and knew every customer that came through the door by name and favorite drink. We were good. And the customers knew it ! As recently as this past spring I was still running into regulars from there who would tell me " its just never been the same" since you guys left, and its been over 5 yrs !!!

So when Rachell and I found out we had the same birthday, which couldnt have taken that long, we were ecstatic and felt it only made sense. There had to be an explanation for the over flowing creative energy between us, and in our minds this was it ! . Though we never used our collective talent for anything productive or lucrative, Im pretty sure we amused the hell out of quite a few people, to a point. I do remember on a few occasions hearing " I gotta go I cant handle you two" or " I feel like Im missing something here what the hell is so funny?" ( and to that I would say sometimes we didnt even know). Somehow our brains were a little more similar to each others than most. The connections happened at light speed, the jokes, stories, and sentences all came out a lot faster and sometimes were not even complete from an outside view even though we would be rolling in laughter !

Anyway eventually we became roommates and lived together for about 2 yrs ( again my memory sucks sorry). The madness continued ! We had great parties, and overall great times. We helped each other through many a boy problem, shared many a drink, and shed plenty of tears. Somewhere in the mess of all this I can remember a time where we were just being stupid and laughing at god knows what and Rachell saying ( very facetiously ) " I hate your guts" and I responded " Well I love your guts" . It just came out. It fit the moment perfectly, and I meant it. When we talked it though later we realized how unintentionally great it was.

Whether friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, mother or father, when you really love someone for everything they are you really do " love their guts" ! Inside and out. With all of their flaws, issues, and baggage ! And if you really want to get technical you do LOVE their liver, kidneys, lungs, spleen and everything else in there right down to their actual beating heart, all for keeping them alive for you to love them another day.

So next time you want to tell a friend how much you love them without sounding sappy, and without possibly embarrassing yourself just wind up like youre gonna let em' have it and say " you know what?... I love your guts !" Its more fun than your standard I love you, and even somewhat empowering (I swear).

Rachell if youre reading this... I still LOVE YOUR GUTS !!!

Well it looks like I might have fulfilled my mushy post assignment after all !

Some extra info... I chose Led Zeppelins " Fool in the Rain" as an homage to old times, Rachell and I love this song. We used to go to a particular piano bar in Tempe much too often, and much too often requested this song to the point of the staff learning it just for us ! They probably regretted it, too, since we requested it just as much as ever after that!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BBQ Salmon Pizza

I made this pizza recently and loved it ! The best part is other than the pre-made dough I bought at Trader Joes I was honestly just trying to get rid of what was in the fridge. It is a black bean, bbq salmon pizza with caramelized onions, sesame seeds, and goat cheese, finished with fresh basil. Sounds crazy I know, but it was good enough that even though I knew I was full, and I KNEW I'd regret the hell out of it, I STILL ate a third piece. Sick.

I did not put strict measurements here, this is because you dont need them ! Have fun and taste while you go... depending on how big of a pizza your dough makes you can eyeball how much to use and how to spread out the ingreeds...

Pre-heat oven 375 degrees


pre-made pizza dough ( more power to ya if you want to make your own KEVIN, but Im personally not there yet, I like the Trader Joes dough, they even have whole wheat dough- not as good) ... and of course follow the dough directions... DO NOT forget to take out of fridge for 20 min or so this is KEY

black bean puree about half the can or so ( mine was canned, but you could make this as well, just cook em and throw em in the food processor)... definitely important that they are pureed as we will be spreading it as the base

salmon fresh, canned, or frozen... of course fresh is best

red onion
half of an average size onion (sliced into rings)

orange one whole juiced

goat cheese any kind and as much as you want !

sesame seeds
mine were in a shaker type thing, like what spices come in

basil the one thing you should be strict about in this pizza is that the basil is fresh

bbq sauce this is kind of an everything but the kitchen sink scenario dominated slightly by orange juice...

in order of appearance ( i know this makes some people nervous but ITS OK, just use your brain and think that you want enough to cook the salmon in, and a little left over to drizz )

ketchup 3/4 cup
orange juice
( save a little to soak onions in before caramelizing)

brown sugar
( let say no more than 2 tbsp unless you are making tons)
chile pepper ( I had a dried morita in mine but anything from red pepper flakes to jalapenos would work, just something for a kick)
vinegar ( i used apple cider vinegar, the sweetness plays well with the others, BUT you could get away with any type I think, just use a little less if its not the AC vinegar)
salt, pe
pper,cinnamon and cumin ( literally dashes of the last two)

Alrighty, lets get this shizer done ! I'd say its best to take the dough out of the fridge first and set aside. Now the sauce, because the slower and lower the better ! This way it can simmer while you put the rest of the puzzle together. In a small to medium sauce pan throw all the ingreeds in and dont forget they are listed in order of appearance starting with 3/4 cup ketchup and descending from there. This sauce will reduce quite a bit and become a beautiful, glossy dark amber. Make sure you keep it on LOW.

Toss your sliced onion rings in about 1/4 of all the orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Now, do the deal with your dough, and dont obsess over the shape for gods sake... just make it happy, it tastes the same either way! If you are not doing this on a pizza stone ( which would mean on a pan of some kind) spray it with non-stick action NOW, then put the dough on it and build the pizza here.

Start by evenly spreading the black bean puree over the dough leaving some edges clean for crust. Do not put a ton of pressure down while doing this as you might make a hole in the dough. Gentle.

Ok toss those onions in a saute pan ( just as they are with the OJ, nothing else !) and start on low, checking on them every once in a while... you may want to go up to medium heat eventually.

Now as long as about 10 or 15 minutes has past since you put the bbq sauce on we are good to go. If not just relax for a few, trust me you want to flavors to love each other. Then in a saute pan covered lightly in olive oil, or veg oil, whatever you like, place the salmon. Mix in most of the bbq sauce while gently breaking up the salmon into small flaky pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until cooked to your liking, and remember this will be spending time in the oven so depending on your taste you may not want to cook it through.

Spread salmon evenly over the black bean puree.

Time to check the onions. You want to see golden but translucent color. You also want them to be reduced a bit in size since the water has been cooked out of them. So look at my pictures and then look at your onions, if they look ANYTHING alike youre golden !

Now evenly spread the onions over your pizza.

Now the same with the goat cheese, break it up and spread it out.

Drizzle the remainder of your bbq sauce over the pizza.

Now sprinkle the sesame seeds however you like em !

"Shitaake mushroom!" You made a pizza. Put that bad boy in the oven for about 12 minutes and hope for the best ! Just kidding, it'll be fine. 12 minutes is probably not long enough, but its a great time to check on it. Everyones oven and tastes are different so just SET A TIMER, cause if youre anything like me you will try to do 15 things before the pizza is done and chances are the b*t$h might burn ! Dont take a chance.

Chop that FRESH basil, and when your amazing masterpiece is cooked to perfection you let the basil fall over it slowly like the finishing touches of a Rembrandt.

Eat it. Love it. Live it.

And let me know how it really was, god damned it. Seriously just because something worked once doesnt mean it will work every time !

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


( jellyfish definitely do not multi-task)

Have you ever caught yourself in a compromising or awkward position just because you are trying to do 12 things at once, or to avoid making the dreaded two trips ? Why do we do this to ourselves? Just today I found myself with a cookie in one hand and toilet paper in the other. What the f*#k ? 1. Gross ! and 2. How in the hell? Well, there is what seemed to me at the time a perfectly sound explanation. Or at least a sound explanation of how I wound up like that, but not why.

Where do I start... I think I had just cleaned up the kitchen and was headed back to the other end of my apartment with some papers in my hand when I simultaneously realized how hungry I was, and decided I was too lazy to make something serious. So, I grabbed a cookie. Closing the lid of the cookie jar with the papers hanging from my mouth. I proceeded down the hall and had to make a pit stop. Into the loo I went. Immediately I put the papers down on the counter without hesitation. But what to do with the cookie? Something just did not feel right about putting it down on ANY surface in there. It wasnt because the bathroom was dirty, I like to think I keep a pretty clean place. It might have been in part due to the fact that I put some serious love into making these delicious peanut butter chocolate chip delights just the day before. Either way, I wasnt puttin this cookie down. So there I was, sitting on the toilet, peeing, with a god damned delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookie in my right hand. Naturally when the time came I had to do the old switcheroo between the cookie and the toilet paper( does that need explaining?), and as awkwardly as I got into that position, I got out.

Am I the only one who does things like this?

Now I really hope my little anecdote wasnt too much for some people, I just dont understand why we think that those 15 seconds it would have taken me to put the cookie down in the kitchen and walk back to the bathroom are so valuable. Im pretty sure it didnt get me ahead of the game for the day.

Has our fast paced, coffee drive- thru, eat in the car culture penetrated us so deeply that we cant even relax at HOME ? Home is where the heart is. Home on the range. Home is where you hang your hat ( I think thats one ) . Where thou art- that- is Home. Home is where you pee with a cookie in your hand? I dont think so.

I told you Wednesdays would be a crap shoot ! ( pun intended)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Well I told myself, and you, that Tuesdays would be a sort of get to know me post. I was thinking I would start at the beginning, but there is just too much going on now ( or not going on...hmm) . Therefore, I think I will proceed backwards.

About three months ago Devin and I ( that lovely couple you see there in the photo) moved from Tempe, AZ to Chicago, IL. I had been in Tempe for almost 14 years, and Devin around 9 years. Although I enjoyed my time in Tempe immensely it began to taste stale. We both wanted a change, I longed to experience true seasons again, and honestly I hoped a new scene would spark my creativity and act as a catalyst for a new adventure.

So May 20th we all arrived. Devin, myself and my two gatos Diablo and Gordo ( both of whom I want to kill right now for peeing on our bed yesterday, the ONE time I actually made the bed so of course the cat pee went through every layer of the first set of bed linens Ive ever spent real money on!) Anyway, the first month and a half or so was filled with the excitement of setting up our new place, buying what Devin called " grown up" furniture for once ( since I had taken the plunge and de-clawed the cats back in Arizona... could that be why they are now seeking revenge?) and exploring the neighborhood . All of this was sprinkled with house guests either visiting from Tempe, or from one of our families. This only made things more fun of course ! All together I believe we had six people in and out of our guest room between June and mid July ( Troy, Caitrin, Ray, my mom, Teresa... maybe thats all of them, I dont know). It was a whirlwind of cocktails, new restaurants, hanging curtains, putting up art work, re-arranging the art work, more cocktails, Michael Jackson dance party ( Ray !), assembling a TV stand, putting together a god damned kitchen island(not recommended, but if you do it it definitely takes two brains), and dont forget more cocktails !

Now all of a sudden it was mid July and neither of us had even thought about applying for a job. I guess I shouldnt say that... Im sure we both had thought about it. The old adage " actions speak louder than words" comes to mind. We had both met lots of great people in all different industries who offered names and supposed connections, which I believe were genuine. I know I personally wasnt really interested in getting serious about it until we knew the visitor party was over ! So now, it was time to buckle down and hit the bricks. I started compiling lists of restaurants.... Wait a second ! You dont even know about my work background.

Ok , for the past 4 and a half years or so I have been a server at Z'Tejas, a restaurant in Tempe, AZ. I absolutely loved working there and if I could I would magically transport the building itself, the entire staff, AND the regulars all here to Chicago ( preferably within walking distance from where I live) ! For a bit I also waited tables at Olive and Ivy in Scottsdale, AZ, all the while remaining at Z'Tejas. Before that I went through a plethora of experience around the Tempe area, from working as an Enrollment Counselor for the University of Phoenix (a.k.a telephone sales nightmare) to catering, working as a barista and manager of Coffee Plantation ( another one of my favorites) I even worked as an assistant to a Rabbis family which meant I could be doing anything from laundry to tutoring their children in anything but math ! Overall, customer service, food and wine dominated my work history. Even in high school I had a job as a waitress in a restaurant called "Via Riggios" in Red Bank, NJ where I pretty much ran the floor and left each night with more money than someone my age should ever have. This restaurant and the people in it will definitely make their way back into this blog another day, just to give you a taste we re talking gold and lots of it , chains, earrings AND a four finger ring of gold spelling out the name Denise right across her hand, the lovely girlfriend of the chef who had to play hostess/ manager/ drama director. Ive already given away too much...