Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Make or sell 7 more to improve your Red Table Wine recipe.

AbsI don’t cook.

It’s not that I don’t know how. I get the general idea. And if I actually did it I’m sure I’d get along fine.

But I hate it. I’m too lazy, I’m too hungry, I’m too bored, I’m waaay too interested in other things. I can imagine a time in the future when I have all the time in the world and maybe I could “menu plan” then and things would be different. But for now, if I want to eat anything remotely healthy, I need to buy pre-prepared food. Both Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy excel at these. There are salads, sandwiches, egg rolls, tacos, and other heat-able delicacies that are fresh and just as healthy as if I made them myself. Plus, they cost a wee bit less than fast food. Win win.

However, it’s recipe week. What recipe can I show you?

Oh, look. It’s my farm. Awwww. And what are those buildings? Why, they’re my bakery, my winery, and my spa. I make things in them. Delicious things. Let’s peek inside the bakery.

Looking at that Potato Bread makes me hungry. Unfortunately, I can’t make it right now. I’m missing potatoes, onions, wheat, and posole corn. I should focus on Triple Berry Pie which is a lot easier to make.

Or Carrot Cake. Mmm. Although, this Carrot Cake recipe requires soy, so that worries me a little. But my favorite things of all to make can be found in my winery.

Why isn’t farming real life?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Oh, you Americans always butcher the French language.


I have this theory called The Rachel Green Theory that I use to explain why I hate all Jennifer Aniston movies. It's totally weird because I am Team Jenn through and through and there's a very real part of me that still hates Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie because of that whole debacle from a decade ago. Like the other day Amy and I saw the trailer for The Tourist and she whispered, "Do you think Angelina Jolie slept with Johnny Depp when they were filming this?" And I totally whispered back really loudly, "PROBABLY. GOD."

And I mean, I pay money to see Jennifer Aniston movies, practically all of them. But, I don't know, it always feels like I'm just watching Jennifer Aniston prance around doing her Jennifer Aniston thing for 90 minutes or whatever. I don't believe her. She's always going to be Rachel Green to me because she was in my living room every Thursday night for ten years being Rachel Green.

That's the Rachel Green Theory and it is absolute fact.

Except — Look, I'm going to tell you something and it's probably going to really send Abigail and maybe even my sister into a rage blackout, but something happened to me the other day that I'm not proud of. I put in a Friends DVD because I always watch all the Thanksgiving episodes every holiday season, and it took me, like, 45 minutes to stop thinking of Monica as Jules. Yeah. That's right. Jules. Her character from Cougar Town. Which: a) I know I'm the only person in America watching that show. And b) I know I should have punched myself in the face the first time I thought it and continued to punch myself in the face every subsequent two minutes until I'd beaten it into my own head that Courteney Cox will always be Monica, Monica, Monica. (RULES HELP CONTROL THE FUN.)

I have a lot of feelings about Friends and most of them revolve around the fact that I could build a whole entire religion around Friends. You know how C.S. Lewis was a master Christian apologist? One thing he said one time was "I believe in God like I believe in the sun, not only because I see Him, but because by Him all things are seen." Which is how I feel about Friends: that it was the B.C./A.D. fault line and every sitcom after it is illuminated BY it. And this whole other time I was at a church building conference (you heard me) and the speaker was talking about contextualizing the Bible and he said, "The Bible is all truth, but the Bible doesn't contain all the truth in the world." Which is also how I feel about Friends. See, because Friends doesn't contain ALL the funny and all the true things in the entire storytelling world. But it IS all funny and all true things in the storytelling world.

Remember in "The One With Phoebe's Cookies" when Phoebe thinks she has a secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies that has been burned to smithereens? And Monica is bereft because it is the best recipe ever? And Phoebe says she has French relatives who might know it because he grandmother told her she got it from her grandmother, Nesele Toulouse? And then Monica is like, "Uh, Nestle Tollhouse?" And Phoebe shouts down at the floor (to her grandmother) "SEE IT'S STUFF LIKE THIS WHICH IS WHY YOU'RE BURNING IN HELL!!!!" Remember?

The point is that Phoebe and Monica were both right because out of all the chocolate chip cookies from all the recipes in all the whole world, NONE of them are as good as Nestle Tollhouse. And thanks to good old American laziness, you can now buy the dough already made at the grocery store!

And so this week is cooking posts and that little circumlocution was to remind you that Friends is always right, and so it is not a cop-out when I show you how to bake cookies for Santa in three easy steps below.

Step One: Buy Nestle Tollhouse dough.

Step Two:
Put the dough on a cookie sheet and bake it.

Step Three:
Take the freshly baked cookies out of the oven and put them in front of the Christmas tree with a glass of milk.

Next week I will give you 1,000 words on how I am the love-child of Ross and Leslie Knope. You're welcome in advance.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Friday, 19 November 2010

Phone it in Friday: You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!

Dear everyone,

What would you like to see invented in 2011? What gadgets and gizmos aplenty? What whosits and whatsits galore?

Thursday, 18 November 2010



And then give it to me, duh.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Beam me up, Welshie.

Technology is for porn. Whether you're watching an old-timey fan dance in the penny arcade or whacking off in your popcorn at an adult theater or flashing your wang on Chatroulette or photoshopping Emma Watson's head on Megan Fox's body or WHATEVER, technology's sole purpose seems to be creating and disseminating porn. And now it seems our own government, under the auspices of "homeland security," is creating EVEN MORE PORN, this time starring you and me and poor little Emma Watson's actual body! Well I say EFF THAT.

Attention people who invent things! Get off of YouPorn and get to work on inventing that teleporter! And make it snappy! I have a long flight tomorrow and I'd just like to get there already.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

be careful his bowtie is really a camera

AbsThere are a lot of amazing inventions already out there. My Sleep Cycle alarm clock app (though science now shows it’s less amazing than they first thought). Those coffee makers that take the pod things. Chase Instant Check Deposit thingy. Farmville. FARMVILLE. (Yes, we’re still playing that. Yes, we’re still awesome.)

Every day I learn about something new that already exists and amazes me. I took an entrepreneurship class last semester and we had to keep daily idea diaries (you should do this) and we gave pitches every week. There were so many great ideas. One of my favorite things about the U.S. of A. is the inventions, the ideas, the dream.

I have a soft spot for technology so I’m living in a lucky time. I can’t wait for the next iPhone, the next app, the next built-in-whatever for my car. Have you guys used a car with the camera in the back? Amazing.

But for now, you know what I’d like to see? A cure for cancer and a cure for broken hearts.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Hoverboards don't work on water! Unless you've got POWAH!


You know what I want to see invented in 2011? The same thing I've wanted to see invented every single year since 1989. Tell me, won't you, how it is that we have three billion iHoles in the world and an app for every single thing under the sun, but we still don't have hoverboards? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Who is keeping the Hoverboard from me? President Obama? Steve Jobs? The United Nations? Ryan Seacrest?

I don't understand, you guys. I just know what I want. And I know someone should be able to make it for me.

2011: Year of the Hoverboard? Am I right?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

first born = best born

Jennie I'm the oldest of eight grandchildren on my dad's side and the oldest of seven on my mom's side. There are downsides to being the oldest child, sure. You're a guinea pig for your parents. They use you to find out what works and then try and do better on the next kid (kidding, Mom and Dad!) and they enforce rules with you that are only half-heartedly enforced when younger siblings come along.

But. There are benefits. Because when you're the oldest, it means you're the best. Don't argue with me, it's true. Plus, you get all those alone years with your parents and grandparents before any stinky siblings or cousins come along, and you know what that means? You get spoiled, like, all the time.

When I was a teeny tiny child, we lived next door to my grandma. And until my sister was born, I was the only grandchild in the area, which meant I got like 100% of the grandma attention. I think even mathematicians would agree that that's a lot of grandma attention. But even after my sister and cousins were born, I never felt like I got less attention. I think that's some kind of magic that grandmas have.

Every year, Grandma would take us out to lunch on our birthday, and then take us to ANY STORE we wanted to buy us a birthday present. I don't remember what any of the presents were, but I do remember the lunches. When I turned 12, we went out to lunch as usual, but instead of dropping me off at my parents' house afterward, I went back to Grandma's house, just to hang out. It was the first time I went over there by myself to just BE there, not for her to babysit me while my parents were out pretending they didn't have kids (kidding, Mom and Dad).

We sat in her living room for hours, not watching TV or anything, but just talking. She showed me a genealogy book that a distant relative had made and she told me stories about my great-grandparents and various great-great-uncles and aunts that I'd never heard of. We talked about my grandpa, her husband, who had died just before I was born.

When I think about my Best Days, those days in my life when everything fell into place to make the day so, so perfect, that day always comes to mind. It was my birthday, sure, but it was also the first time I had an adult conversation with Grandma, the first day I remember having that strange feeling you get when you're a child and you realize the adults in your life had very full lives before you came along. And yet, as Grandma grasped me by the shoulders, kissed my cheek, and pulled me in for a hug, I still felt like a kid, like the first (ahem, best) grandchild who was doted upon by a woman who prized her family above all else.

It's been about a month since Grandma died, and I find myself getting hit with reminders at the strangest moments. And it feels just like getting hit, right in the stomach, shocking me out of whatever I'm doing and leading me down memory lane, whether I want to go or not. This morning it was a story on the radio about a set of twins, one living in Ohio and the other in California. Grandma and her twin lived in Ohio and California, and as I listened to the woman on the radio talk about how excited she was to see her sister, my heart broke a little for my great-aunt.

A few days ago, it was hearing a Christmas song (already!) on the radio, and I thought about all the Christmases we spent helping Grandma decorate her house, and the Best! Christmas! Ever!, the one with the "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake and the chocolate martinis, and I started laughing and crying at the same time and I wanted to yell, "this is what love looks like, bitches!" to anyone who would listen.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

gonna sip bacardi

AbsI’ve never been particularly good at wish lists. If I want something I buy it. If I can’t afford it then I move on to future dreams. If you want to buy me something, I love the idea of that, but I’m pretty picky about what I want and love and am overly sensitive about your ability to know what I want and love. I’m becoming increasingly fond of gift cards which makes me hate myself. Let’s not talk about presents.

Every year for my birthday all I really want is a gathering. I want everyone I love in one place with delicious food and flowing spirits and maybe some board games. I love that I get to pick where we go and I get to decide who’s invited. I spend a lot of my time worrying about other people, especially in social situations, so I try to not do that on my birthday. I think happy thoughts, or I drink until I do, and I celebrate a life I’ve made with people I love. It’s the greatest thing. An excellent playlist doesn't hurt either.

So, you all need to come to me next August. Okay?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

... and many more.


I concur on the subject of Impermanence,
but for one point
I will leave the world only if it is a day before you do,
so I never have to live in a world without you in it.

When I was in kindergarten, my dad told me he made $100 a week and I thought, My God! We must be the richest family on earth! And I had no evidence to the contrary. I was never hungry or thirsty. I was never worried about where I was going to sleep. I always had clothes, even if they were hand-me-downs. I always had a toy to play with, even if it was a sword fashioned from a sapling my dad cut down in the woods behind my house.

My parents were two kids trying to raise two kids, and if you want to know the truth, I am glad I grew up poor.

My dad had a rule that we could always have any book we ever asked for. And so my imagination had been 'round the world a dozen times before I ever even started school. My mom had a rule that we could always have affection, any time of the day or night. And so I never felt unloved. The currency of adoration in my world is still hugs and books and magic, actually, because I never developed a taste for stuff.

I don't remember much about my birthdays when I was a kid, even though I know there were presents. And anyway, my birthday isn't even my favorite one to celebrate. My very first memory is my sister's birthday. March 31st, 1980. Her very first day on earth. The beginning of her is the beginning of me. When I laughed, she laughed too. When she cried, I cried along. When I hit her, she hit me back. And we giggled and sobbed and walloped our way through the world together, hand-in-hand, lives intertwined for always.

I was in my college library writing a paper on the female labor force in World War II when she called to tell me she had cancer. I quoted Stalin. I thought about how he collectivized agriculture and killed millions of people. I wondered how many lives it's fair to trade for the progress of an entire nation. She said, "That lump isn't just a lump." And I wondered where I could sign on a line to trade my life for her own.

She had her first surgery on my birthday. There were more surgeries. There was radiation. There were hazmat suits and gallons of lemonade and years of tests and bloodwork and experimenting to find the right drugs.

I was in my college library writing my senior thesis on Bill Clinton's foreign policy when she called to tell me she was officially cancer-free.

I don't know how long it took from that first cancer call until the last one. It seemed like a hundred thousand birthdays had passed. But on the next one, the next birthday after the last cancer call, she held my hand and we ice skated around in the middle of a Christmas festival in the middle of Scotland in the shadow of the Castle of Edinburgh. We ate waffles with chocolate sauce and whipped cream and strawberries. We talked about Harry Potter and JK Rowling and how surely she had that very castle (on the hill, just above us!) in mind when she was writing about Hogwarts.

I'm not very good at birthday presents, really. At choosing them or buying them or remembering them in the first place. And I'm not very good at receiving presents either because when I say, "I can't think of anything I want." I mean it. I have t-shirts. I have books. I have enough hugs to power the sun.

My favorite birthday present isn't a present at all. On the day I was born, in the hospital in which we were both born, they cut open my sister so she could live.

And she did.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Phone It In Friday: Brevity Is the Soul of Wit

Happy Friday, canards! It's been a long, hard work week, so tell us a good story, but make it quick! Some of us have drinking to do. Share your best one-sentence stories in the comments!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


AbsSome days you look so much like my dad, that when you walk by my office I start biting my nails.