Friday, October 19, 2012

Old Habits Die Hard…

Because people won’t stop asking…I don’t want to drink anymore, b/c I don’t want to.

In high school and college I was focused. I knew what I wanted, I went after it, and 90% of the time I got it. Not to say disappointments didn’t exist, but I feel, in general, I have had more success than failure. That doesn’t mean that what I achieved didn’t come without struggle…Yes, I don’t live in a 3rd World country and I can’t remember the last time I missed a meal, but it’s all relative.

During my high school years I didn’t drink, I didn’t hang out with people who did, I was extremely anti-drug, could not fathom letting a cigarette touch my lips, and had little interest in anything but sports and boys. Besides speeding, all illegal activities just seemed like a way to fuck up everything I spent my time working for. It was in my interest to avoid these things. It wasn’t hard. I grew up in a household that was virtually dry. (Having 6 kids doesn’t leave much time or money to dedicate to booze.) My friends were also student athletes who had similar mindsets.

College was a little different. I slowly became acclimated to the drankin’. Went to parties, learned to play games…everything you’d expect based on movies, but on a much smaller scale. Off-season consisted of parties and goofing off, falling in line with the crowd. During softball I refrained. I wanted to be in tip-top shape at all times; not to say there weren’t special occasions, but for the most part it was not an element of my life from January through mid-May. Similar to high school, I’d rather play sports and get good grades than lay in bed with terrible breath moaning about my head ache and regretting whatever the fuck I ate in my stupor. In summers, away from school I didn’t spend time or money on hooch either. Few gatherings here and there, but mostly dry.

After graduation I learned about this new mentality: “Work Hard, Play Hard.” This philosophy seemed to include working your ass off all week and going out Fridays and Saturdays with friends, meeting new people, drinking your weight, and trying to find a way home. I went out with my friends from college, new colleagues, and my siblings. Thinking back now, I don’t know why I drank. I don’t need to drink to loosen up; I’ll say whatever all the time. I don’t need to drink to dance; I’m dancing right meow. I was certainly not depressed. I did it only b/c that is what was happening around me; like a yawn.

Accurate Representation of my former...
After college I lost my drive/focus. I was a willing participant in a “relationshit” that lasted 3 years and included relocation to the Midwest, a 50-60 hour per week job, too much boozing and a 15 pound weight gain. I don’t know if you have ever been to the Midwest, but in winter there are few things to do. My outside of work activities typically consisted of: watching sports at a bar, watching sports at home, watching sports at a friend’s apartment, going to bars for birthday parties, going to bars for Fridays, going to bars for Saturdays…have I established a clear enough pattern? Additionally, in Chi you never need a DD…there are hundreds and thousands of cabbies chomping at the bit to drive you wherever you need to go.

It isn’t that I ever felt pressured into drinking. I just didn’t know what else to do, there were few other activities in which to participate. I had too much time; I didn’t have enough awesome shit on my schedule. I couldn’t schedule my life with the way my job worked, some days I worked 8 hours, others 12…but I never knew more than a day or 2 in advance. Basically what I am saying is I was a lazy asshole who followed around a group of people trying to experience new things. (Turns out it was the same ol’ shit every time.)

Luckily for me I found my way out back to the West Coast. Even then I was lost. I had a job I wasn’t sure I wanted, all of my friends were getting married or crappin’ out kids, my family was all jumbly…and I was still without certainty about what I wanted from a professional standpoint. So for several months I was more or less in the same rut, same routine…

Kinda Rad...
THEN I got busy…I had my day job, sailing, my side job, started riding my bike, it was SUMMER, some miscellaneous volunteer activities, and just anything that came up. Granted there were downtimes, but typically they are butted up directly with some highly physical activity that required me to be at full strength…It was at this point I realized I had found my way back to the high school kid who didn’t give a crap about dranks because there were so many more interesting things to dedicate my time to. (This time it expanded beyond sports and boys…but the idea is the same.)

Family Time...
I would rather spend my time and money on things that are actually fun, gasoline to get me places, foul weather gear for sailing in the rain/cold/snow/sleet/hail, FOOD, kitchen gadgets, random stuffs for friends, concert tickets, bike stuff, FOOD... When something is bad for their health people decide to “quit” them. You never hear someone say, “I need to quit brushing my teeth.” Or, “I should stop eating carrots…”

Whatever. That was way too much information. The point is I want to run around and act like myself when I was 16, it was fun and I was amped all the time. I feel the same now, except I have money to spend…which makes it way more rad. Like every other fucking thing I have written about on this blog, my advice for changing things is to just stop doing them. If you want to do something, if it is really important to you, you will make it happen. So make it happen, whatever it is.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Best Emm Eff-ing Chili Ever...Cornbread Too

Any food…sandwich, salad, soup, burgers, stir fry…Doesn’t matter: same recipe, same ingredients, when someone else puts their love and spit into your food, it tastes better…That is unless it’s CHILI. I make the best chili. I never used a recipe, I just whipped ingredients together and taste tested with trial and error. It is probably the first combination of ingredients I “invented;” my first real recipe.

It is hard for me to put into a recipe what makes it so good…but as simply put as possible, it is…THE TASTE. It is a simple, spicy and good. So here you go people…Don’t say I never gave you anything.



1-2 Bell Peppers

1 Tomato (extremely optional)

½ a large onion

Mushrooms (if you have some, I did…)
2-3 Cloves of Garlic (sub powdered if necessary or you feel like it)

Steak Seasoning

Chili Powder


Sriracha or Ceyenne Pepper or a fresh Jalapeno or canned jalapeno (something spicy for crap’s sake)

24oz tomato sauce (or a reasonable mixture of tomato paste and water)

Cup or so Soy Curls (Pre-Hydration status)

2 cans of beans (Pinto, kidney, navy…you choose it’s your freaking chili. Do I have to do everything?!)

Brown Sugar


Cut stuff up while your pan gets hot; add a smidge of oil (medium heat)

Sautee onions, mushrooms and minced fresh garlic (if using powdered add with other spices) Make them sweat, if needed add a TBL of water to aid in the steaming sweaty process.

Add rehydrated soy curls

Add some chili powder…I’d say I use appx. 1.5 TBL to start.
Add powdered garlic to taste (if using), and a reasonable shake of cumin
Stir it up.
Add Bell peppers, Jalapeno (if using) and drained beans
Pour the large can of sauce and stir, add more if needed…should be slightly soupier than your intended final consistency.
Add the tomato (mostly it makes it look like you made your own tomato sauce, haha tricky.)
Smell it.
Determine if you think it has enough chili powder. I almost always decide HELL NO and add at least a tsp more.
Cover and let it simmer…While you make cornbread



I always make the recipe in the picture. I go full on vegan imitation ingredients…egg replacer and Earth Balance…It is not rustic. It is cake like and sweet…retardedly moist.
This piece of paper has traveled across the USA

I throw everything on the recipe in a bowl. (I don’t mix the wet and dry ingredients separately. Just toss them in a large bowl.)

Stir the chili

I added a cup or so of frozen sweet corn too, b/c I felt like it.

**Secret ingredient: Heaping tablespoon of brown sugar. I like when it is sort of clumpy b/c it creates delicious pockets of sweetness in the cornbread, so don’t worry about whisking it up too much.

Grease a pan of your choice. Here I chose my tiny loaf pan, often I make muffins, or I have a “Bakers Edge” pan, or I’ll kick it old school with a 9x9…there are so many options…variety is, after all, the spice of life…live a little.

Put the pan in the pre-heated oven.
Stir the chili

Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Edges should start to brown up and look irresistible, that is pretty much how I know they are done

The chili should be pretty well simmered and have thickened up a bit. If not to your liking/expectation, add a bit of flour or cornstarch and bring it up to a boil to thicken. If you are like me and kind of don’t care because it is Tuesday night and you just rode your bike for an hour home and are too hungry to wait, then ignore this suggestion.

My favorite way to eat chili and cornbread is to split the cornbread in the bottom of the bowl, schmere some butter **on it, add a few drips of agave and top with chili. The cornbread gets all melty and soaked with sweetness and the tasty goodness of the spicy chili…gahhhh…drooooollllll…..

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. As always, DON’T BURN YOUR MOUTH.
Yep...This is real.

**Vegan Buttery Spread…duh.

Bridal Showers

No Pictures...Must Protect the Innocent...and Guilty...

Don’t get me wrong; I love my family and friends and when I find out they have found the [first] ‘one’ I am ecstatic, overwhelmed with joy and well wishes for their marriage that has half a chance of working out...Yeah, I am not in a relationship, if you couldn’t tell. Not to mention I am a horrible person.

When the initial excitement has worn off I realize what comes next—engagement parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties, receptions and DUN*DUN*DUN* BRIDAL SHOWERS. The undeniably worst of all wedding related parties.

Typically an afternoon affair with food and beverages provided all of the attendees eat the tiniest bits of food and let on that they are “watching their weight.” Guests young and old are mingling with each other and making nice with their friend’s crazy in-laws to be, cooky aunts and weird friends from high school. Not ONLY must you meet these people, often times, teams are formed to play shower games…horrible, terrible, very bad unreasonably silly games.

List of Ree-donk-u-lous Games:

Toilet paper dress design

Guess what is in this paper sack

Love/wedding word scrambles

Blissful advice (this is where I write something vulgar and obscene on a scrap of paper and the bride has to read it out loud…and then the grannies and family usually write something heartfelt and useful.)

Groom/Bride Trivia

Don’t say the secret word-clothespin game

Wedding bingo

The list goes on…

If you are ‘Lucky’ you WIN. There is generally a ‘prize’. It is not the kind of prize any reasonable human would want, such as, oh I don’t know…$money$, gift cards, new shoes, a car…or anything I would ever actually use. You will however, receive lots of smelly candles, jars of candy, neckerchiefs, and really anything that will fit in a small gift bag and not cause the maid of honor to go broke. When I win (this happens a lot) I often ‘forget’ my ‘winnings’. Nonchalantly leave them behind like a doggy bag from a sub-par meal.

After super fun games the bride usually opens gifts while the shower go-ers look on; like a small child at their first birthday party. YEEHAW!!

“Oh more dish towels, thank you Gramma!” “YES! New pots and pans! Mom, you’re the best!!”—These brides always register for gifts that I don’t understand how they have lived without up to this point. “Really bitch?! You are pushing 30, you have lived on your own since college and you don’t have forks?!?! What the fuck? What do you eat with now?!”

SOMETIMES your friend’s slutty friends are organizers and they aren’t smart enough to Google what a shower is and end up combining skanky bachelorette traditions. Just what I want to see on a Sunday afternoon: my friend’s grandmother wearing her cross necklace while sipping out of a flesh colored cock straw. Granted, sometimes it is your friend’s slutty grandma putting you in awkward situations sipping dick straws and guessing how many inches the groom’s cock is, either way…I’d rather clean a bathroom at a frat house the morning after the annual toga party.

The food is ‘fun’…Showers are typically held in the afternoon at a weird time like 2 or 3. So you are either full from an amazing lunch or starving and dehydrated because you woke up with barely enough time to dress yourself before you ran out and bought the gift and the bag you brought it in.

Typical shower food includes fruit and veggie trays, the tiniest sandwiches you have ever seen, green salads, mayo salads, cheese platter, hummus, chips, salsa, and other miscellaneous dips. It is entertaining to watch your friends, family and strangers pass by or take the smallest amounts of food because they are pretending they live a healthful lifestyle. I refuse to give into this.

If sandwiches are cut into 4’s I take 4. I need a whole sandwich. I liberally add hummus to my raw veggies, tong-fuls of salad and as much fruit as possible. The largest hurdle for me is the plate size. Bitches are always putting out plates with a diameter smaller than the smallest boner you have ever seen. It takes planning to overload a plate like that without spilling.

When you are done standing in line to eat and the plate has been masterfully piled or sparingly used (depending on your method) often times you sit in a chair…but not at a table. This is a paradise for a klutz. Drinks on the floor to kick over, evasive foods that slide off the edge of the plate, hard to reach napkins while trying to balance your plate with food for and all while sitting in a circle judging each other based on the choice of food and beverage and style with which you opt to ingest. Men have no idea how hard it is to sit in a circle of your peers and eat while stock piling bitchy comments to share with people later…being a woman is exhausting. *Fart Noise

The way I usually choose to ingest my food is: as fast as humanly possible. Other styles include: intermittently taking the tiniest of bites during conversation, whenever wine/champagne is not being guzzled, quickly and semi-secretly so when you go off to the bathroom to puke few people notice.

No matter what your style cake is almost always next. And yes every bitch in the place just wants “a tiny sliver.” I personally like “the biggest piece without much frosting.” It really is the best way to enjoy cake. If the entire side of any cake didn’t become totally dry and inedible I would frost mine only on the top. Only kids eat edge frosting.  No matter what the approach the result is plates schmered with frosting and/or half eaten pieces of cake.

These events wouldn’t be the interesting experiences they are without all of the characters: 2 Grannies, Mother of the Bride, Groom’s mom, miscellaneous close ‘normal’ friends, cooky aunt or 2, siblings, weirdo cousins, lushes, skanky hos, that one bitch who has to leave in the middle because she has somewhere else to be, random kid someone brought, uber competitive person who wants to win every game despite lack of interest in prizes (THAT’s ME), irrelevant old high school friends and a myriad of other skanks. It is a Mecca for female style competition; with dirty looks, fake laughs, “potty pow-wows,” and the ever important “I’m the bride’s best friend competition.”

By the end guests are tired from drinking too much booze, eating very little and throwing it all up. Everyone is out $20-$50 for a gift, (not included in the wedding or bachelorette gift), probably spilled on their shirt/skirt/pants and need to go home and enjoy some carb and fat heavy meal to comfort themselves while facing the reality that they will never marry, their wedding sucked, their marriage sucks, and the only reason they went to the shower was to avoid doing laundry.