In The Pink

Do you get embarrassed easily? I don’t….for most things. I am the lethal combination of possessing no filter and zero shame, so…there’s usually all sorts of wreckage smoking by the time each day is over, and I’m rarely bothered about any of it. However, there are certain things that embarrass the living hell out of me – and they are SO weird. Let’s take a look, shall we?

1) Dancing in public

There was a time when I was a public-dancing fool, when I shook my arse (and everything else) at the slightest provocation, and I did that shit like it was my job. I looooved dancing, and it mattered not one iota to me that I had two left feet and no rhythm whatsoever…who cares???! Dancing was awesome!! However, I moved away from my sweet little hometown, home of dancing greats such as Sandy B, Colleen A, and their aerobic Jane Fonda-esque moves…and Lisa L, originator of the great arm roll (a dance move where you lean forward, arse wayyyyyout, bob up and down at the waist like a chicken, and roll your arms over each other like a barrel in front of you – the reality of it is even better than this description, for reals)…and found real people of rhythm. I knew that I was out of my league. I wasn’t at the Community Hall anymore, purposely shaking my groove thang next to these dancing spastics in the hopes that I’d look better by comparison….what was I going to do? I’ll tell you what I did – I quit dancing. Done. No more rump shaking for me (probably a good thing by public safety standards, as I’ve got A LOT of rump and all that shaking could be dangerous). I kind of miss it. When I’m in my house, I jig all over the place, frequently bouncing around the house like Meredith and Cristina from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (if those women had jiggly bits)….but in public, I’m the master of the head bob. That’s it. It’s dumb of me, I know, but I think that I resemble Elaine from ‘Seinfeld’ when I dance, so I don’t do it. See Exhibit A:

Click on the image to see what I look like when I dance! :-)

Click on the image to see what I look like when I dance! :-)

 

I think I should embrace this philosophy instead:

Click on the image for the video :-)

Click on the image for the video :-)

 

 

2) Farting in bed

Remember this hellacious momen from ‘Sex and the City’? I do. It scarred me for life…because it’s happened. More than once. To Me. Ugh. I die.

 

Click the video and prepare to giggle. If you don't, there's something wrong with you.

Click the video and prepare to giggle. If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you.

 

3) People you don’t know serenading you with music

There are restaurants in San Antonio that I avoid because, despite their good food, they also have roving mariachi bands…and I don’t know what to do when they come near. Do I look at them? For how long? Do I continue eating? Talking? Drinking? I don’t know what to do and it stresses me out!!! Argh!!! A few years ago, a former student invited me to a concert she was doing – she performed with a mariachi band, and sang beautifully (she had CDs and everything!). While at the performance, she announced that she had a special guest of honor there – her teacher and her family! The crowd cheered, I gave a little wave and wanted to die of embarrassment, and tried to get back to chowing down on my flauta. However, the surprises weren’t over – she announced that brand new band singer Juan was going to celebrate my honored attendance by singing a song to me.  I didn’t know what to do, or where to go…so I sat, smile frozen on my face, and prayed it would be over soon. Juan was about 14 years old, dressed in mariachi finery, and on bended knee in front of me singing a romantic song….me, old enough to have birthed him. It was mortifying, I didn’t know where to look – and I didn’t have a hot clue what he was singing about because it was en espagnol. The worst part was that the bloody song lasted 12 minutes (could have been the Spanish version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ perhaps?). It was torturous….but bless Juan’s heart for having the fortitude to keep staring romantically at me for all that time, and for not falling over whilst on bended knee. I bet that Juan will make a kick-ass husband some day! :-)

Not Juan, sadly.

Not Juan, sadly.

 

4) Bad manners

I find poor manners to be so totally embarrassing….I can hardly stand it. I get really irritated when people exhibit no manners or class, but then I get so embarrassed if they are with me and do it in front of others. Argh! Case in point – a number of years ago, I invited someone that I knew to spend a holiday dinner with my family and I. This person exhibited such a complete and utter lack of manners that I was totally appalled, and SO embarrassed. No explanation was offered…nothing. I eventually wrote the following email to this offender (this is an excerpt – there’s far more to it):

I have been waiting to see how long it would take you to reach out and talk to me about things, and I have come to the conclusion that the answer is a very long time to never, so…I guess I will take the initiative.
I was really hurt by what went down when you came over to my house. Do you know why I told you that I preferred to do the cooking myself? It was because you had been so critical of me and my ideas for dinner whenever I shared them with you. I spend most of my days being critical of myself – I don’t need to hear it from you. I was pretty embarrassed, I will tell you honestly, with things that day. Did you happen to notice that no matter what I asked you, offered you, etc , that you NOT ONCE said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’? You did the same to my parents…and guess what? I noticed – as did everyone else. I simply don’t know what to say about a lack of manners…I don’t get it. I understand that as a Canadian I am probably more obsessed with etiquette and manners than the regular person, but…you know that about me already. Is it so hard to be polite? I’m doubtful. Perhaps you don’t feel that I deserve thank yous, is that it? I paid for a dinner that we had shared a couple of days before this family gathering…and you said nothing. I thanked you for having dinner with me – and you said NOTHING. You didn’t even have the decency to say thank you for dinner.  I was so shocked that I couldn’t leave quick enough – I’m sure you noticed. I just don’t get it.

The funny thing about this email? I never sent it. I didn’t see the point…but I kept it to remind myself of how this felt. Truthfully, anyone who exhibits such a complete and utter lack of class wasn’t worthy of my attention or thought. Grr. Whatever. This taught me to be thoughtful – and only reinforced my idea that manners are important, and that people without them are not the kind of people that I want to be around. Ick.

 

5) Looking stupid

I get very embarrassed when I think that I look stupid and that people are laughing at me.  I don’t mean all the time….I mean when I’m sharing emotions or the few rare times that I’m actually being serious. Most of the time, I act kind of silly and goofy, using lightheartedness and humor to mask what I’m really feeling. Very rarely, however, I will lay my heart out on the table….and look out if I think I’m being mocked.  I get so embarrassed, shut down completely, and try desperately to hide (not unlike Carrie when she burrowed under the blankets in shame post-fart up there in that video). This is very stupid thinking, I rationally know….I need to learn to own my emotions and be up front about it all, but….I’m pretty sure I need years of therapy to get to that place. Anyone interested in taking on a new patient??! ;-)

 

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Now….how about you? What gets you blushing, friends? :)

 

xxx

 

Broken

The funk continues. I think something has broken inside of me – I want to stay home, I don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone (apart from the Wee One)…I just want the world to go away. This is certainly not the norm for me, I’m usually super social – but I’ve got a serious case of the Rhett Butlers: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. About much. Ugh.

This time hibernating at home has given me some happiness, though – I found a few things online that warmed my increasingly cynical heart:

1) The microphone died at a Toronto Maple Leafs game the other night as the singer sang the American national anthem – not to fear, though, the Canadian fans stepped up and sang along. Nice. :-)

Click on the picture to see the video! :-)

Click on the picture to see the video! :-)

 

2) A teacher in New Jersey set the world record for most pull-ups (chin ups) in a 24 hour period…and he did it to raise money for cancer research in the name of a former student of his who passed away from the disease. If that isn’t the most awesome, hard core thing – love it! :-)

So. Awesome. Click the picture to visit an article with the full story :-)

So. Awesome. Click the picture to visit an article with the full story :-)

 

3) A bunch of pictures that have been sent from the picture heavens to make me feel better. I think. I hope.

This.

This.

Dolly is my spirit animal.

Dolly is my spirit animal.

Love this :-)

Love this :-)

I need to learn this

I need to learn this

 

4) In-n-Out Burger finally opened in San Antonio on Thursday – and I could not be happier. I love In-n-Out, and have been going nuts waiting for their arrival here….imagine my joy to find that their first location is a three minute drive from my work!! This will undoubtedly mean bad things for my already-wide arse, but….who gives a shit? Life is too short to miss out on even one Double Double Animal Style! :-) A really cool thing happened on Thursday – my secretary and I were chattering about our excitement for the grand opening, and a parent who was dropping stuff at school for his daughter heard us. He returned to the office 45 minutes later with a bag of burgers for all of us in the office – how AMAZINGLY kind is that??! I am still blown away by such kindness, and can’t believe that I was not only the witness to such a gesture, but the recipient. Mind blown….heart full.

Good people do exist :-)

Good people do exist :-)

Love love LOVE  ❤️❤️❤️

Love love LOVE ❤️❤️❤️

 

I’m not entirely sure what it’s going to take to get me out of this ditch that I’m wallowing in…and I’ve no idea how long it is going to take. I just know that I feel like a ball of exposed nerves, everything rubs me the wrong way – and I’m not exactly fit for human consumption. I feel like I exist for others to take advantage of, and that I give and give and give – and get nothing in return. I’m sure that I should be okay with that – but I’m just not. :( On Friday night, I went to see the movie “The Theory of Everything” starring the brilliant Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. His performance was mind-blowing – and the story was pretty great, if perhaps a smidge too sweet. It’s hard to even imagine the triumph of the human spirit as shown in that film, and the story of Stephen and his wife – and what she did for him and their family – is nothing short of incredible. I hope that you’ll go and see this movie – it’s wonderful. :) I doubt that I could be as graceful as Jane under such circumstances!!

I’m off work this week, and all I have planned is cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family, and a few get-togethers with friends (provided I can tear myself from the couch). I plan to spend the rest of my time plowing through good TV and movies, drinking some Beaujolais Nouveau (or Tito’s Vodka – my heart belongs to Tito’s), and just enjoying the peace and quiet of my home. Perhaps this time will be just what I need to heal me, and help me glue the pieces of me back together. I just need to get a broom and a dustpan and sweep them all off the floor – now, where’s the Crazy Glue?

 

xxx

 

 

 

O Canada

What happened in Ottawa yesterday broke my heart…I hate senseless acts of violence anywhere (who doesn’t?), but I really really hate it when it happens in the homeland. I watched news coverage online, and marveled at the brilliant way the Canadians dealt with it – calmly, gracefully, and with class. The CBC coverage anchored by veteran newsman (and longtime awesome possum) Peter Mansbridge is basically a how-to for journalists on handling a crisis. He was – as always – right dipped in awesome sauce. :-) Check this out: Canada’s Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame.

 

The dude. :)

The dude. :)

 

Three cheers to the good people in the Pittburgh Penguins organization for singing O Canada prior to last nights game against the Philadelphia Flyers. These folks are classy. :-) Here’s video:

Pittsburgh-Penguins-Fans-Sing-O-Canada-in-Tribute-to-Ottawa-After-Tragic-Shootings-video

Click on the picture to see the video :)

 

Think good thoughts for the people up north…Canadians are globally quiet people who don’t tend to make a lot of noise and fuss…but they are people who can always be counted on in moments of tragedy, no matter where in the world a helping hand is needed. Send them your love and support.

 

xxx

Yummy Yummy Yummy

I had an AMAZING meal recently….can’t wait to tell you all about it! (Disclaimer: This is a common theme with me, I know….I eat lots of good meals, which explains my caboose. Oh well. ) I visited the restaurant Cured at the Pearl Brewery here in San Antonio. First – let’s talk about the Pearl….what a great, great place. There’s so much to see and do there, everything is really beautiful, and it’s such a great area to be in. I frequently dream of selling the house and buying a condo down there, just to be in the thick of the action (but the commute to work would be a bitch). Love it. :-)

Anyway…Cured! The building is looooovely (built in 1904, it was originally the administration building for the brewery), as was the menu. This charcuterie-themed place is certainly not for vegans (she says in the understatement of the year!), and if you are a meat and potatoes traditionalist, you might be in trouble. However, if you have a slightly adventurous palate and a LOVE of amazing food…then you are in for a treat!! :-) Here’s what I ate:

 

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Welcome to Cured :-)

Some sort of marrow thing...I can't recall the details, but as long as I live, I will NEVER forget the amazing taste of this on the end of my tongue. Divine.

Some sort of marrow thing…I can’t recall the details, but as long as I live, I will NEVER forget the amazing taste of this on the end of my tongue. Divine.

Behold the charcuterie plate...there was whipped pork butter, duck ham, chicken liver mousse, pork belly, rillettes...I could go on. So. Bloody. Good. Yum. :-)

Behold the charcuterie plate…there was whipped pork butter, duck ham, chicken liver mousse, pork belly, rillettes…I could go on. So. Bloody. Good. Yum. :-)

This is their version of poutine....pork cheek poutine, cheese, mildly pickled cauliflower on top (random but freaking AWESOME). I just can't even tell you how fabulous this was...yummy!!! :-)

This is their version of poutine….pork cheek poutine, cheese, mildly pickled cauliflower on top (random but freaking AWESOME). I just can’t even tell you how fabulous this was…yummy!!! :-)

Charcuterie goodness from another angle - my attempts at arty photography ;-)

Charcuterie goodness from another angle – my attempts at arty photography ;-)

Sweetbreads. Google them....delicious. :-)

Sweetbreads. Google them….delicious. :-)

 

Doesn’t everything look AMAZING???? It absolutely was!!! The service was excellent (attentive, but not up my keister) – the manager came to chat and invited me back for Happy Hour sometime (you should see me do Happy Hour….I’m pretty good at it!!;-) ), regaling me with tales of drink specials and a burger that’s 20% bacon and 80% beef (if just the thought of that doesn’t get your mouth watering, then there’s something wrong with you and you ought to see a specialist ASAP)…the whole experience was top notch. :-)

 

I can’t wait to go back!!! :-)

xxx

Arabian Nights

It is not much of a secret that I love food – I’m always writing about restaurants or recipes or bowls of Lucky Charms that I scarfed (which happens a lot – no judgment). I love trying new places and types of food, and there’s pretty much nothing I won’t try (eating a delicious dish of sheep brain in Greece pretty much cured me of being precious about what I ate!) ….I love food. I’ve never eaten Moroccan food before, so I was pretty pumped to recently visit San Antonio eatery Moroccan Bites to sample their tasty morsels…however, I must admit to being somewhat nervous, having never partaken in the glories of Moroccan food before. Do you remember that scene in the movie “Along Came Polly” where Ben Stiller eats Moroccan for the first time on a date with Jennifer Anniston, proceeds to basically explode out his arse in the bathroom of her apartment, resulting in tons of shame and the need to use a loofah to try to unplug the pot? I did not want to have that happen to me. :-(

Good news, folks….my meal was a success!!! (And no loofahs were harmed in the course of the evening) Here’s what I had:

 

 

My dinner - Kefta Tagine....HEAVENLY!! I love some good balls! ;)

My dinner – Kefta Tagine….HEAVENLY!! I love some good balls! ;)

 

An appetizer of olives and cauliflower and yumminess! :)

An appetizer of olives and cauliflower and yumminess! :)

 

Mint tea...it's my jam. I'm almost embarrassed that I just said that in a sentence. Oh well. ;)

Mint tea…it’s my jam. I’m almost embarrassed that I just said that in a sentence. Oh well. ;)

 

The restaurant was really cool, and I’m right in love with Moroccan decor. (Fun Fact: I desperately want to redo my bedroom into a Moroccan-themed, hot Arabian nights kind of boudoir…sounds fun, eh? :-) ) Here are a couple pictures:

These lights belong in my bedroom!

These lights belong in my bedroom!

 

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Pretty, eh? :)

 

I've got a fondness for beautiful knockers ;)

I’ve got a fondness for beautiful knockers ;)

I can’t wait to go back here…the pastries are insane they are so delicious, the mint tea is friggin’ divine….and the food. Yum. The food. :-) Check it out, friends! You won’t be disappointed. :-)

xxx

Falling

Even Grover is ready for fall!! :-)

Even Grover is ready for fall!! :-)

It’s fall now…my favorite season. :-) The sights, the smells, the crispness in the air, the excitement of things to come…I love it all. :-) While most folks associate spring with new beginnings, I’m more inclined to think of fall as a time for fresh starts: a new school year, a new wardrobe, new notebooks and pens (I’m such a nerd), and new changes. This year, I’m really embracing this idea – I’ve had the flooring changed on the stairs and in the playroom upstairs, the kitchen/living room/dining room are being painted, and the house smells like cinnamon, pumpkin and apple candles. I’m hoping to go and do some winery tasting tours in the nearby Hill Country in the next month or so, and I would love love LOVE to find an apple orchard to pick some apples and make fresh apple crisp. :-) (anybody in the area know where I can go?)  I’m so excited for the pumpkin patch to open, I want to go to a corn maze, and I’m hoping to check out Lost Maples State Park, to actually get to see changing leaves!! Imagine!!! :-) Bring on the fall!!! :-)

Last year's pumpkin patch picture...can't wait for this year!!

Last year’s pumpkin patch picture…can’t wait for this year!!

I’ve been really trying to cut back on the hours that I spend at work lately – this past week wasn’t my best (it was Homecoming weekend, so I had a ton of responsibilities – and a miserable cold which left me feeling like crap and sounding like Kathleen Turner), but I think I’m in a much better place than I was last year. I’ve been having more time to see friends, I’ve been getting out for some lovely meals, and I’ve been feeling happier and not so overwhelmed. I’m feeling so much more settled at work, as if I’ve finally caught up and am no longer required to run around like a headless chicken all the time. This coming week will be my one year anniversary at my new job, and I’m so excited to celebrate! :-) I’m so happy to have had this amazing opportunity in the first place, I’m super excited that I haven’t screwed up too terribly badly (although that probably depends on who you ask), and I’m so proud of the good things I’ve managed to accomplish. I am so lucky that I get to work with some truly fantastic people every day, and this job has introduced me to some majorly amazing people that are changing my life. :-) I’m so very, very lucky. :-)

Pretty :-)

Pretty :-)

Whats your favorite season? What are you most looking forward to this fall? :-) I hope you can find time to do the things you want to do…and let me know if you want to join in on my pumpkin patch/winery tour fun! :-)

xxx

 

Spanish Walk

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I love going to Tapas bars – and not just for the excellent sangria. I love Spanish food, I love sharing things around the table and trying bits of everything…and I always feel like meals eaten this way facilitate good conversation and fun times. I clearly put too much thought into this kind of stuff, but…oh well. Whatevs. Anyway, I visited San Antonio tapas restaurant and bar Espana recently – and had a gorgeous meal! I’ve been here a ton of times, but it’s been over a year since my last visit…and I can’t think of a single reason why I’ve stayed away so long. It was delightful!! Here’s a couple of pictures of the place:
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My obsession with light fixtures continues...I'm SO the daughter of an electrician!!

My obsession with light fixtures continues…I’m SO the daughter of an electrician!!

Let’s talk about the food! :-) (it’s really no wonder that my caboose isn’t narrow…I love food, I love going out to eat great meals, and I have such an appreciation for taste and flavor. Oh well….I’d rather be happy than skinny ;-) ) I ordered my first sangria as soon as my arse hit my seat – and I didn’t look back. First up was a cheese and spinach dip served with chips – the cheese used in this masterpiece was manchego….meaning I was a happy girl. :-) Manchego is YUM. :-) I had a piece of an Espanola pizza made with manchego again (happy happy) and some gorgeous Serrano ham, chorizo, and fresh tomato. It was lovely, but not the highlight of the meal. Here’s the manchego and spinach dip:
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Next up was a hot sampler, which included paella, tortilla espanola, albondigas (which are meatballs smothered in a garlic white wine sauce with fried potatoes – these things were the absolute bomb, no lie….AMAZING!), croquetas (crisp fried shells with a creamy center of cheese and Serrano ham), and pollo al jerez (beautifully cooked strips of chicken breast and green olives sautéed with sherry). I liked a lot of stuff on this platter, but the real deal was the final item – the meat and cheese platter. It was a beautiful mix of manchego cheese, Serrano ham, chorizo, and a third meat (which reminded me of Italian soppressata), with grapes and apple slices on the side. I LOVED this! :)

 

The hot tapas sampler :)

The hot tapas sampler :)

 

Mmm....cheese...meat.... :)

Mmm….cheese…meat…. :)

 

All in all, yet again another lovely meal (I eat like a queen some days, I know….sorry) – the atmosphere, the food, the people, the sangria. It just couldn’t be beat! Hope to see you soon at Espana! :)

 

xxx

Working Man’s Cafe

I saw the movie “The Hundred-Foot Journey” recently, and pretty much loved it to pieces. Have you seen it? It’s probably not for everybody, but if you, like me, love France, French culture, food,  Bollywood, and korma sauce – then you’re going to totally dig this movie! :-)

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The reviews for this one have been largely mixed, with most everyone criticizing the simplistic nature of the story, and hammering the director for taking the easy route with the tale. While I agree that it wasn’t the most thought-provoking movie I’ve ever seen, it was visually stunning and completely sweet and pleasant….and, considering the amount of things that I have going on these days, sometimes sweet and pleasant is precisely what the doctor ordered. The movie is about an Indian family that moves to Europe for a fresh start following a fire that destroys their beloved family restaurant, and kills the family’s matriarch. They end up in a beautiful French village, and decide to open an Indian restaurant across the street from a Michelin star, Classic French restaurant run by Helen Mirren. Much hilarity ensues as Mirren tries her hand at sabotaging the competition, the father of the Indian family fires back with his own bag of tricks…plus, there’s lots of really yummy looking food. I found the movie to be visually stunning, and thought that the performances were all solid as well.  Helen Mirren is always wonderful, and the rest of the cast rose to the occasion as well. The village they shot in reminds me so much of some of my favorite places in France, and I was left feeling wistful for the dog days of summers past spent sitting in a cafe on the town square, drinking wine and coffee, watching the world pass me by. Did I mention the food? ;-)

 

I fancy the hell out of a chicken korma, naan bread, and mango chutney right now!! :-)

xxx

Monterey

I recently visited downtown San Antonio restaurant The Monterey for the first  time…and I cannot wait to go back!!! What a FABULOUS experience!! Have you been? If not, and you are local, RUN there now….you will thank me!! :-)

Yaaa!!!! The Monterey!!!

 

First, let’s talk about the ambiance….it’s such a cool place. There is outdoor seating, which is really quite pretty, but there was no chance in hell that I was going to sit out there, as south Texas is currently hotter than the surface of the sun. Instead, I got a wee table in the corner, with a view of the place. It’s not terribly large, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in quirk and charm. There are tons of cool pictures on the walls, and the symphony of color is welcoming and exciting, all at the same time. I felt like I was home, and I can guarantee that if I lived closer, that place would be my Regal Beagle, and I would be Jack Tripper! :-)

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Now…on to the reason for the season – the food!! I started with an appetizer of house-made pickles….random, I know, but the palette wants what the palette wants.  Believe me, your palette is going to so want to try this!! I received a plate with a trio of pickled goodness – kimchi, curried pickled pineapple, and pickled watermelon rind with black peppercorns and anise. I’m aware that these probably don’t sound over-the-top appetizing, but they absolutely are! I’ve never had kimchi before, and the flavor was surprisingly pleasant, if a bit salty. The pickled watermelon rinds were fabulous – who knew? (Apparently the peeps at The Monterey) The real winner was the curried pickled pineapple….sweet and spicy simultaneously – bloody mouth magic is what that was!! Awesome!!!! :-)

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Here’s a couple of items from the entrée menu – the first is a brisket burger with umami cheese. I’m not entirely sure what umami cheese is, but I totally intend to Google it – I’ll get back to you. The burger was really, really juicy and flavorful – and the fries were simple, and outstanding. I will have to return here with the Wee One – she’s a lover of good fries. :-) Another entrée I tasted was the seared beef shoulder with shallot chimichurri, and a salad on the side. The meat melted in your mouth (for real), and was perfectly, simply seasoned. The vinaigrette dressing on the lovely salad (major eye appeal on that bad boy – it looked beautiful) was outstanding, and I remain hopeful that someday that dressing shall run out of my taps when I turn on the faucet. So. Good. However, the real star of this dish was the shallot chimichurri. No lie, when I  die I want to be buried in a tub of that stuff, so I can spend eternity just chowing down. It was THAT good. Yum. :-) Here’s more pictures:

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Overall, The Monterey is a super-lovely place to meet friends for drinks (their bar menu is out of this world, and remember I’m Canadian, so I know my way around a bar menu! ;-) ), a really great spot for a romantic dinner, and just an all-around great place to eat some damn amazing food!!! :-) I can’t wait to go back….let me know if you want to join me!! :-)

Xxx

Remember Me – Reposted From September 11, 2013

This post originally appeared a year ago…but I thought it fitting to share again today.

 

Never forget.

xxx

 

Every year on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, I think about where I was when this event happened. I had moved to England during the summer of 2001, and I was about a week into my new job at the loveliest Middle School in all the land. I was so happy to be there, and I was really loving my adventure – and then the world changed. It was strange to experience a life-altering event in a different part of the world, so far from home and my family…so many people in the UK would hear me speak, assume I was American, and offer condolences or say something nice to me. However, I also experienced a lot of hatred from people, telling me that those on ‘my side of the pond got what we deserved’…such ugly words. It was such a time of turmoil, with people either banding together in a show of tremendous unity, or drawing even further apart. The evening of the 11th, I sat with my roommates  (two guys from England and a girl from Germany – I didn’t know any of them prior to all of us sharing a house together) on the couch in the living room, watching the atrocities unfold before our eyes…horrified by what we saw. One of my roommates – Nick – was a paramedic, and his heart was breaking for his colleagues in New York….the pain was visible on his face. My other roommate, Matt, worked in London’s Financial district, and his company had sent him home early that day as a safety precaution…he would have the rest of the week off work. We ordered pizza from one of the remaining neighborhood places that was open (most everything shut down around us), and the three of us sat on the couch, for hours, under blankets, eating pizza, and watching in silence. The guys took turns holding my hand, but we hardly spoke…because there seemed to be no need for words. It was a night I – and pretty much the rest of the world – will never forget. I lost touch with Nick and Matt after I moved out of that house, but I’ve never forgotten them and the kindness that they showed me that night. I was 27 years old, by myself in a foreign country, without any family nearby…thousands of miles from home – the world seemed to be under attack, and I felt frightened. The calm, quiet kindness of these two virtual strangers helped make me feel safe, and restored some order to my life. Isn’t the kindness of strangers a beautiful thing? :)

I wrote about the town of Gander, Newfoundland last fall, but I felt that today was a good day to repost this story – here you go:

I, of course, love the Canadian angle to the movie – it makes me proud to know that in a time of crisis, Canadians can be counted on to help…that’s kind of what we’re known for. Canadians have long been part of peacekeeping missions around the world, but they don’t tend to make the global news – which is probably the way they like it. That’s one thing I love so much about the homeland – Canadians do all sorts of amazing things for people around the world, but they’re pretty low-key about it, not tooting their own horns or requiring much fanfare. Canadians show up in droves whenever there is a crisis (Haiti, Hurricane Katrina – you name it, they are there), and the prevailing attitude seems to be that of course they would show up to help – that is what you do. I love that. :) One of my very favorite stories of Canadians doing awesome things is the tale of the town of Gander, Newfoundland, and how they welcomed 6595 refugees who were stranded during 9/11 and couldn’t return to the US until air space issues calmed down. As 38 planes rerouted and landed in Gander, the town sprung in to action: schools and halls became emergency shelters, residents invited people to their homes for showers, warm beds and meals, people offered the use of their vehicles, pharmacists filled prescriptions from all over the world at no cost, businesses emptied their shelves of food/clothing/toys/necessities, banks of phones were set up to allow people to call home for free…this little town of 10,000 reacted in such a way that I doubt the refugees will ever forget their kindness. (if you can believe it, so much food was donated by the gorgeous Newfie people that it risked going to waste…doesn’t that just fill your heart with a bucket load of happy??!) The coolest part is that when the people of Gander received a bunch of media attention about what they did, most of them got rather embarrassed, as if the fuss was totally unnecessary – one resident was quoted as saying, “I feel like, why all this attention? We only did what anybody would do to help these people.” That is the very best part of all. :) There has been a book written about this amazing and awesome event – “The Day The World Came To Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland“…I haven’t read it yet, but I definitely intend to. :) One reviewer described this book as a story about humanity’s finest hour…what a beautiful phrase. :)

:)

 

We must never forget. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. – Edmund Burke

xxx