Tag Archives: M Fox

Toothless in Seattle

This is a story about how my husband is willing to risk his sanity for my vanity.  There is quite a bit of preamble, but I haven’t blogged in awhile, so I figure I’m due for a long post.

When I was a little kid, I adored my dentist, Dr. Turk.  I named various toys after him, including a lion with wings and a crown.

May I present: Dr. Turk.
(Also, I CANNOT believe I actually found a photo of this toy.
Hot DAMN I love the internet.)

Dr. Turk’s office waiting room was literally a playground. (I am literally not misusing this word *snort*)  There were towers and slides and hidey holes, all encased in brown shag carpet.  His office was bright and open and you got to pick the flavor of floride, floss, and mouthwash used.  There were at least three flavor options for each.  On your way out, there was a gigantic white furniture wheel with dozens of compartments and drawers filled with stickers and little toys that you could choose as a parting gift.  Going to the dentist was AWESOME, plus, on the way home, we usually stopped by Nathan’s for hotdogs and sometimes we were lucky enough for Mom to drive us through the carwash (the height of little kid entertainment).  As you can imagine, while I have had some very nice dentists since then, none have really compared to Dr. Turk.

I remember one such appointment, in between obediently spitting out my apple candy-flavored toothpaste in a much-congratulated show of how well I knew how to brush my teeth, and skipping to the prize wheel to claim my door prize, when Dr. Turk mentioned to my mother how I had perfect teeth.  Of course, thought I, digging through the stickers, of course I should have perfect teeth.  I am the perfect child.

“But.

But,” said the kind, wise, and generous dentist, “because she has perfect teeth now, it means she may have some trouble when her adult teeth grow in.”

Fiddle dee dee!  Cobbswoggle!  Perposterosity!  I gave it barely a thought and we went on our way to Nathan’s to ride the ascending rocketship 300 times while my poor mother counted the holes in the ceiling (this was before smartphones, remember).  One cross-continental move, the rest of childhood, a harrowing teenage wasteland (as I watched others succumb to metal braces), and a rapidly disintegrating decade of being 20-something and useless, the chickens have come home to roost.

Dr. Turk, dear, dear Dr. Turk.  Your counsel holds true to this day.

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Neopolitan Cheesecake Ice Cream Cake

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Our tradition for M Fox’s birthday is that I make him whatever kind of cake he wants.  This sounds really boring except that M Fox has the cake taste of an eleven-year-old.  Usually the cake comes with a lesson for me.  One year it was chocolate chip cake with Oreo frosting: the lesson was if you don’t want all the chocolate chips to sink to the bottom of the cake, drudge them in flour before adding to the batter (also works for raisins, I’m told).  The next year it was a double layer cheesecake, one chocolate, one vanilla: the lesson of this cake was that Alton Brown’s cheesecake (the vanilla) is way more delicious than Martha Stewart’s (the chocolate).  Also, stacking cheesecakes is fricken scary business and also makes one slice so humongous that you want to die after eating it.

This year?  He wanted a Neopolitan cheesecake ice cream cake.  Bring it, said I.  It actually turned out pretty good, believe it or not.  I did a vanilla cheesecake bottom (thank you again, Alton), chocolate ganache middle, and strawberry ice cream layer on top, with an Oreo (or whatever the Trader Joe equivalent is) cookie crust.  The moral for this one?  Ganache freezes into rock.  If I were ever to make this again, I’d probably do a simple brownie recipe so that you could actually cut it (shout out to my Facebook baking friends for the great advice!)

So here is the recipe for this ridiculous cake I made.  What’s great about this cake is that because you have to freeze it, you don’t have to eat it all in one week — you can draw it out for as long as you want!

Warning: I am not a precise baker/cook/photographer/person/anything.  I’m just not.  I kinda just go with it until either I like the look of it or I ruin it.  That being said, I think this cake turned out pretty damn good and I can only imagine what it might be if someone who actually read all the directions first gave it a go!  Also, none of these photos are pretty.  I’ll leave that to the food bloggers.

The Cookie Crust

It’s pretty simple.  I food-processed the hell out of about 25 cookies, mixed in about 3 tablespoons of melted butter and pressed it to the bottom of a wax paper-lined pan.  The wax paper is important — when you freeze this baby, it will make it easier to actually get it out.  If you want more cookie, use more cookie.  If you need more spackle (butter), add more spackle.  Then I baked it in a 350 degree oven until it was more solid — not burned, but the butter wasn’t so wet.

Science, people.

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Layer 1: Cheesecake

I pretty much followed Alton’s recipe because the man is a genius (if you haven’t ever brined a turkey Alton-style, you really really really should).  The only thing different is that I made the cake in a regular brownie pan instead of a spring-form because it would be easier to deal with and would make the portions less insane.  Because of this, I obviously didn’t use any of the graham cracker crumbles for the sides or the crust.

Alton Brown’s Cheesecake Recipe

Filling:
20 ounces cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 yolks
1/3 cup heavy cream
Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Brush some of the melted butter around a 9 by 3-inch cake pan. Adhere parchment to the bottom and the sides. (Didn’t do this in cake or spring-form pan, just a brownie pan)

In a mixer with a paddle attachment (I don’t have a mixer, so I just did this in my food processor), beat sour cream for 10 seconds. Add the cream cheese and sugar and mix on low for 30 seconds and then turn up to medium. Scrape the bowl. In a separate container, combine vanilla, eggs, yolks, and heavy cream. With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the liquid mixture in. When half of it is incorporated, stop and scrape. Continue adding the mixture until the rest of the ingredients are incorporated.

Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust.  Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Place cheesecake into a preheated water bath, in the oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and open the door for one minute.

Close the door for one more hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.

No, but seriously:  Watch his video about the bath thingie — it’s on the recipe link.  It’s totally worth it.  It seems stupid, but just do it.  You can’t tell in the photo below, but there is water in that bottom pan.

Confession:  I wasn’t paying attention to the directions and I ended up leaving the oven door open for the first 20 minutes or so after turning the oven off.  Oops.  It still seems fine, but probably only because the layer isn’t very thick.
While the cheesecake was in the fridge for the allotted time, I prepared the other two layers.
Layer 2: Chocolate Ganache
As I mentioned, I would highly suggest doing a brownie layer instead unless you like chiseling chocolate through ice cream and cheesecake.  I ended up just eating around it.  That being said, I’m not really a dark chocolate person to begin with and I also avoid chocolate chip ice cream because I hate eating chocolate ice rocks in the middle of my sweet, sweet creamy goodness.  I think a brownie layer would be better, although getting it out of the pan might prove a little more difficult.  Anyway, here is what I did.
Ingredients:
-One of those big honking 1 poundTrader Joe’s chocolate bars.  I used very dark chocolate to counter balance the sweet
-Butter
-Milk or Heavy Cream (I think I used heavy cream)
Directions:
1) Chop up chocolate so that it’s in smaller pieces and put it in a metal bowl.  I’m sure there’s a perfect size, but I just hacked at it.
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2) Put the metal bowl with the chocolate over a sauce pot of water and let the water boil.  Add butter and a couple splashes of milk/cream until the mixture is melty enough to spread.
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Did I mention science?  I think I did. . .
I poured the chocolate into a wax paper-lined cookie sheet of the same size as the brownie pan I used for the cheese cake.  I let that mutha cool in the fridge.  IMG_0993
Once it was a solid item, I took it out of the pan, peeled off the wax paper, and just let it hang out on the counter for awhile.  I used the same cookie sheet for the ice cream.
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Layer 3: Strawberry Ice Cream
Obviously you can use whatever ice cream you want, I just grabbed Haagen Das because it’s a pretty dense ice cream.  I let it melt in its little canister to make for easier spreading and then started spreading into my cookie sheet.
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And then I realized that I had not put down a layer of wax paper.
And I dug it all out, washed the pan, lined the stupid thing, and started over.
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LINE IT WITH WAX PAPER, for God’s sakes.
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While the ice cream was soft, I put the layer of chocolate on top and then returned it to the freezer so they would meld together.
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Construction

I literally just put on layer on top of the other.  You can think of a better way to do this, go nuts.

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I put the whole thing back in the freezer and took it out about 15 minutes before I wanted to serve it.  The first piece looked like a horrible accident, but after that it cut very nicely!  I was going to experiment with putting popsicle sticks in the top so that they could be little pops, but, meh.  Next time :)

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Happy birthday, M Fox!

Honey Boo Boo don’t care

Alright.  So here’s the thing. I don’t watch reality TV shows.  There was this one time when I watched an entire season of “Hell’s Kitchen,” but the charm of Gordon Ramsey screaming at a bunch of poor idiots wore off.  When I think of reality TV, I think of the worst stereotypes of humankind starved for attention and thrown into a room with a camera.  I know there are the “Amazing Races” of the world, which are cool, but I’m not a “ZOMG IT’S BACHELORETTE NIGHT EEEEE” person.
(You’ve been waiting for it. . . here it is. . .)

BUT

Then came the show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

Now, now, now.

At first, I was horrified.  “Toddlers and Tiaras” is one step above evil in my book.  Don’t even make me get on my gender normativity soapbox, because I’ll do it, damn it.  A SPIN OFF of T&T sounds like it not only made the step up to insidious, but then pooped on it.

But here’s the thing.

Alana, age 6, Miss Boo Boo herself, is fricken incredible.  This.  Girl.  Is.  AWESOME.  She is Honey Badger Boo Boo.  She doesn’t give a shit.  She is so stoked to be Alana and, you know what, GOOD FOR HER.  Honestly, I wish *I* were that stoked to be me. ::sad violins::

Now, granted, most of its viewers are probably in it to make fun of them rednecks, hyuk.  And, granted, my middle class, full seta teeth, college-educated ass was intrigued by this cultural train wreck, thinking that perhaps I could feel assured that I am not a total disaster as I sometimes feel I am.  Hooray!  I watched the trailer and the clips of Alana being a sassy little tushie, rubbing her belly and shakin’ her thang without shame and without apology.  I was charmed.  And I was bored.  And a little frightened.  So I watched an episode, which streams free on TLC’s site.

It’s like reality TV got its Christmas present early, y’all.  Alana’s coupon-obsessed mother is over 300 pounds and farts maybe 3-4 times an episode, the father is constantly chewing cud and I’m pretty sure has maybe one chomper left in his head, her sisters are depicted as ignorant savages, the oldest of which is pregnant with nary a dad in sight, and they have a “teacup piggie” that lives in the house, squeals constantly and actually shit on the table.  Most of the show is in *subtitles* because their accents are so thick you can barely understand them (at first I thought this was just Alana being too little to enunciate. . . nope).

And you know what?  They’re comfortable and, dare I say, proud of who they are.  And they love each other.  I mean, really, actually love each other.  The daughters talk back to their parents, but their parents kinda give it back to them and it’s one of those “all’s equal in love and family” sort of vibes.  One of my favorite family moments is where one daughter says, “We’re not rednecks,” the father nods calmly and says, “Yes we are,” to which the daughter responds “We have all our teeth, don’t we?”  All in all, they seem to be damn decent people.   Not even the editing can hide that (although boy they do try).  I can forgive that one of the daughters bobs for raw pigs’ feet in the first episode.

So here is the jist, a practical list of why while I may not RUN to catch the next episode every week, I may keep tabs on Miss Boo.

1) The entire family’s irrepressible self-assurance, Alana’s especially, made me a champion for these people.  Obviously her parents are doing something right.  The women decide to do a weight loss competition and weigh themselves on TV.  I lie about my weight to pretty much anyone, myself included.  That takes some serious ovaries, my friends.  The mother is hilarious — I think that the editing is supposed to make her look stupid and slovenly, but honestly, you get the feeling that she is well aware of how this all looks.  And you know, so what?

2) Alana wanted Glitzy, her pet pig, to be a female pig, but, alas, he is not a female pig.  Regardless, she says she will dress him up like a girl pig and he can be a gay pig, an announcement met with derision by one of her older sisters.  Without skipping a beat, Alana snaps back, “It can [be gay] if it wants to, you can’t tell that pig what to do.”  Sing it, sister!

3) The coup de grace.  Following a pageant defeat, Alana is crushed (momentarily) and cries.  To make her feel better, not only does her daddy buy her a pig, but during one of his very very few confessionals, he says with the most earnest and heartfelt face a man can have, “I know that if she works very heard, she could be Miss America.”  He didn’t smile, he didn’t say it with hubris.  It was the quiet conviction of a father who loves his Honey Boo Boo.  And because I’m a notorious Daddy’s Girl, I wept.  Yes, dear readers, I actually whimpered, I was so moved by this father’s love for his youngest and his unshakable belief that this sassy little tushie could go all the way.

So go ahead and judge.  Honey badger don’t care.

Sidenote: And whiiiiile I’m on a rampage here — what is with the obsession of the mom’s sneezing?  Whenever the mother sneezes, the cameras are there.  Zoomed in. SOME OF US sneeze a lot.  Some of us have friends who count.  Some of us have an average.  (6.)  Some of us have friends cheer me on when I’m going to break my last record. (Which is 11.)  Ain’t nothin’ wrong wit sneezin’ a lot.

I’d like to thank all the little people

I knew someday the press would be after me to get the dirt.  I just didn’t think it would take me fleeing the state to make the media realize that I am a veritable treasure trove of tantalizing stories just waiting to break over Bay Area audiences.

I just got off the phone with a reporter from a small weekly paper from where I used to live.  Back in the day (aka two months ago), I routinely pitched this very same paper to cover a couple of my theatres.  I got quite a lot of coverage, God bless them, but mostly they would copy-and-paste a portion of my (extraordinarily well-written) release and reword a few sentences, although sometimes not even that.  They never sent a reviewer and they never wanted to do a feature or an interview.  It’s a very small paper with an even smaller staff, and with print coverage shrinking even with the major dailies, I was pretty stoked.

It’s sort of a less insidious drug deal.  I provide the (brilliant, engaging) goods, they deliver it to the masses.  Sure, I would have liked to set up an interview, but meh, I got ink, they got content, the theatres got coverage, the readers get told. Everyone walks away happy.

I hate to ruin the magic for y’all who still read newspapers (it’s where they print words on physical paper, like those packing slips you get in the mail when you order online instead of going into a store.  A “store” is . . . never mind), but, sometimes, you’re just reading my release.  A hard-nosed reporter didn’t go through eight pots of black coffee to write about a rollicking musical comedy or the hottest holiday ticket gleaned from embargoed information he dug up from an anonymous lead.  That was me.  You’re welcome.

WELL.

It turns out this paper is doing a big schmeary features on weddings in the area.  So they searched for celebrities who recently celebrated their nuptials nearby and, finding none, they called me.  Yes, *I* was interviewed.  I talked about all the important things, like my awesome photographer, the good food, the sexy corsetry that made my dress, how I was too cheap to drop $5k on a DJ to play songs I’ve never heard of — you know, 20 minutes of breaking shit, let me tell you.  And after I hung up, I was giddy, oh how pleased I was that SOMEONE still cares how I got my hair did.  And then I felt stupid that I was still giddy over my wedding from a year and a half ago. . . not over marrying my husband, although I’m sure I mentioned him in the interview somewhere (love ya, M Fox!), but over the actual wedding.  Stupid society, stupid gender norms.  Best day of my life, BFFs 4EVA!!!!!!!!!

But mostly I felt stupid because of this.  After three years of blatantly stretching the truth about where Ensemble Member #8 was from (“He grew up here, or his grandma did, or his babysitter bought coffee here!  I SWEAR his dog pissed on that one bush downtown, I was there!”) or finding some obscure angle that could force the show to be more locally relevant so that the editors would grant me the boon of an actual story instead of just printing my (delicate, yet powerful) release, all I had to do was get married in the vicinity.

So, in my mind, the lesson is this.  California needs to get its ass in gear on gay marriage, because then my theatres will have no trouble getting coverage.

I’m the one in white

Autobots, Roll Out! Then Build My Ikea Dresser, Feed the Cats, Make My Bed, Go to Work, Put Gas in My Car. . .

I really should blog more. The issue is time. Which is probably the lamest excuse ever created. It’s the excuse that you tell an online date when you don’t want to see them again. Sorry, I’m reeeeeeaaaally busy specifically NOT being with you. Although I guess my excuse isn’t so much because I’m trying to avoid blogging, it’s more along the lines of “I spend most of my life in front of a computer and when I get home. . . I don’t want to.” Plus, now that I’m actually a more valued employee, I can’t actually blog at work anymore, which really puts a damper on everything (both work and blogging). Also, in the last two weeks since we moved to the new place (still in Mountain View except with natural light, a dishwasher, a washer and dryer and without the need to hide our cats from the landlord, whoohoo!) we haven’t had internet because M Fox is in charge of that and that means he had to badger every internet provider in the county into giving him the lowest price so he could compare. Gotta love a man who won’t rest til he gets the best deal (yes, I’m Jewish, what of it?), but it took awhile. We have Comcast now for those who are jut DYING to know.

As it happens, this morning my throat was raw and icky and my entire body had that wonderful Several Dock Thugs Beat Me With a Lead Pipe All Night and Left Me For Dead feeling. After croaking my predicament on the machine at work, I slept another 4 hours. Unfortunately I woke up hot and my ear had pasted itself to the side of my head. Stupid dock thugs.

Anyway, despite my noble efforts to suck it up, I was told that if I tried to go into work, I’d be unceremoniously thrown back out. So here I am on my couch, surrounded by tissues, orange juice and various pills, blogging.

When I first moved back up to NorCal to live in my mother’s basement while interning for Chronicle Books (*snort snort push glasses up nose snort*), she procured for me a little two drawer dresser that was about a foot and a half wide. One drawer barely contained all my panties and bras. All my bedclothes? Kind of a joke. I have that horrible disease where I feel guilty for throwing away any t-shirt that someone gives me, regardless of how ugly or ill-fitting. “I’ll just wear it to bed!” I cheerfully say to myself. And so my bed shirts are vast, both in size and quantity. Either everyone thinks I’m remarkably fat or that I’m a prodigy tailor. One is debatable, the other is an outright over-exaggeration. I’ll let the viewers figure out which is which.

That being said, this sad little dresser has been vomiting out bedclothes and panties for about a year and a half. I’ve schlepped this damn thing from my mom’s basement on Mt. Crumpet to Redwood City and now to Mountain View. And for some reason it took me until yesterday to be over it. So we decided to go to Ikea so I could get a Big Girl dresser and M Fox could look at lights.

M Fox and I agree on two very major points about the place were we live, wherever it may be: it must have plants and it must be well-lit. I hate dark houses. And plants are nice. We agree on many other things as well (obviously), but those are two pretty big deals. I would add “books, food, and pets” to that list, but that’s me. Just to clarify, M Fox has nothing against books, is pretty ambivalent to food (skinny jerk) and loves our cats, but I don’t know that they’re necessities in his eyes. Well, the cats are at this point. Gah, I’m losing control of this train of thought.

Anyway, my favored boyfriend does widen the concept of “well-lit” past my wildest imagination. You see, he has a vision. He wants to negate the current light switches in the house and set up every light on a remote control. This seems bizarre, but it makes sense, I swear it. Understandably, the apartment was designed in such a way that every convenient plug is attached to a light switch. That’s great and all, except that convenient plugs are often used for computers. And that got obnoxious really quick. So yeah, remote controlled lights, I’m on board, I can see that, whatever you want honey, you figure it out and let me know. But then I found out that this is only the first step to his master plan.

The next step is that he wants lights to recognize you when you walk in the door, know your exact lighting preferences, and turn on to that setting automatically. When there are two people in the room? The lights will adjust to the average of the two settings. Three people? TOTAL NUCLEAR MELTDOWN! Actually, I don’t know, maybe a poison dart will just take out the third person to avoid confusion. In the immortal words of Anthony Cohen, perhaps slightly rephrased, “Yeah, and I’d like a robot that eats garbage and farts perfume.” Except that the favored boyfriend has figured out a way to do this. No fucking kidding, folks. He has the technology. He has the dream. And now it’s time for the gathering of the parts to make his journey toward the Light Side complete. Ultimately, he wants also to program in personal temperature preferences. Whoa.

Maybe it’s because my dad is the kind of person who until only the last few years learned to trust email. Maybe it’s that I’m not as much of as technophile as M Fox. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve seen Terminator. What I know is this. However irrational as this sounds, I don’t like the idea of a light bulb knowing my lighting preferences. Call me crazy. Honestly, I don’t even know what a bulb could do with that information. Sell it to Google, start sending me spam about greener fuses or political rants about the irrelevant nature of candles, I just don’t know. But I’m deeply suspicious. I’ve told M Fox my feelings. I think he finds my concerns more cute than rational.

Seriously, though, I think that it’s more about how I watch technology strip people of the ability to think on a daily basis and I feel like I’m lazy enough without having a lightbulb pre-dimmed for me. For Mike, this is obviously about a new toy and the thrill of advanced technology, which I totally understand (hey, I just bought $90 worth of children’s books to read a week ago. . . so touche). But honestly after we had schlepped the 80 pound box of drawer parts (YOU READ THAT RIGHT!! 80 POUNDS!! WTF!!! FOR A CHEST OF DRAWERS!) up to the apartment where I painstakenly put the whole damn thing together, scraping off skin, hammering my thumb, putting the stupid fucking wooden dowels in the wrong hole and having to dig them out, etc etc etc, I have to admit that I was still glad that humans could still do this by themselves without assemble-bots.

Well, except when I hammered my thumb. Then I wanted a bot. Or at least for the favored boyfriend to do it.

Finding Matzo and Unexpected Maror on Easter Sunday

So today was absolutely gorgeous. I emailed an animal shelter to ask about fostering kittens (eee!), the sky is brilliant blue with patches of fluffy clouds, the breeze is crisp, clean and cool and colorful flowers are in bloom on every corner (what can I say, Redwood City citizens like horticulture). M Fox and I decided to get out of the house and run some errands.

Then we remembered it was Easter and nothing was open: two paint stores, Costco and Victoria’s Secret (I had a coupon, okay?). The only other two things left on our list were shoe polish and more matzo. Admittedly, I’d put off buying the stuff early this year, mostly because I didn’t want to buy the 5 box pack since I’m the only Jew I know in a 50 mile radius and I was too stingy to buy one box for $5. God, that looks so bad when I write it out. Oh well. I ended up with one box of whole wheat matzo the night before Passover started, which taste-wise wasn’t too bad, but only lasted me half the week. Breakfast was slightly confusing for my psyche this morning: leftover turkey, mashed potatoes and charoset. Good, but I was cravin’ some cardboard and peanut butter, so it didn’t hit the spot as I had wanted. ..

Anyway. This was the dilemma in trying to find a box of matzo on Easter Sunday. In general, asking for matzo in a predominantly not-Jewish area after the first day of Passover is a little like asking for a burger at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. No one’s really sure if you’re serious or not and they don’t know how to help you except to quickly answer your question wrong. My favorite experience of this was when I asked if the Safeway in Santa Cruz was going to be getting any more matzo. The friendly employee responded, “We don’t have any in back, but don’t worry, we’ll have plenty before Easter Sunday.” Awesome.

We went to two Safeways (knowing that the Safeway closest to our house was out). The employee from the first one acted like I was speaking another language and fearfully shook her head, worried I might ask for goat’s blood next. Unsurprised, we left. At the second Safeway, located in a ritzy part of town next to Stanford (I figured there hadda be a bigger Tribe population near a university, right?), after finding the kosher section as barren as the water aisle during Y2K, I went straight for the manager, figuring that this person would at least know what I was talking about. The woman heaved a laborious sigh. Because, you know, I was BOTHERING her. Imagine. A CUSTOMER asking the MANAGER about FOOD PRODUCTS sold in her GROCERY store. In a voice tinged with the pain that I was clearly causing her by politely asking a question, she pointed back toward the kosher aisle and said, “Over there.” When I mentioned I had already been there, she interrupted me in a louder voice and said pointedly through gritted teeth, “OVER THERE BY THE WOMAN WITH THE BLACK SHIRT. MAKE A LEFT. Anything I might have left will be on the Customer Service counter.” The irony did not escape me as I made a beeline toward the counter, ignoring her rudeness and heading for the prize.

Stupid woman. It’s not like I was asking her how to preform a lobotomy, although her minuscule capacity for human compassion might have suggested she was acquainted with the subject.

There they were. The last two boxes of matzo in San Mateo County. Streit’s Matzo. Then I saw they did have two Manischewitz megapacks left. Remembering my “$5 off any Mani products” coupon, I thought, what the hell? Mani is good, it’ll only be $7. Let’s just do it. I get to the counter, racking my brain for how on earth I’m going to get rid of 5 boxes of Matzo in three days, and hand the cashier my coupon. Except it wasn’t a coupon. It was a “You COULD save $5 on Mani products, IF you buy another $25 worth!” piece of paper. I was annoyed. I was REALLY annoyed. Especially when the bagging lady said in a bewildered tone, “What the heck is this? Crackers?” Usually, I would use this as a “Teach the Gentile Something About Culture” moment, but I just glared at my PIN number as she continued reading the package and said in a hushed voice, “It says here these are for Passover. . . Oh.” I grabbed the huge orange box and my poor boyfriend and marched out of there. Twelve bucks for five boxes of matzo. It would be a deal, if I didn’t know I would only eat one before the holiday was over.

We went to a few other places looking for shoe polish. I bought an oven mitt (which we’ve sorely needed) at Rite Aid, but they didn’t have the kind of shoe polish M Fox wanted. Then we went next door to Lucky’s, our last shot to get something right.

He should never have pointed it out to me.

Mani Matzo. On sale. One box each. $3.50. And next to it (I kid you not)? The exact same oven mitt I had just bought. For 20 cents less.

I don’t know that anyone has ever been filled with the amount of self-righteous rage that boiled in my Chosen blood. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. M Fox wisely bought his shoe polish and ushered me out before I could create a scene. He kept trying to make it funny. “Isn’t this crazy? You couldn’t write this stuff! Oh man, what a silly thing!” He’s such a sweetheart and he was right. It would be funny. Maybe in a couple weeks after a couple of drinks, it would be funny. But not right then. The poor kid had to listen to me rant and rave and say unflattering things about uncultured human beings on the car ride home. As I took a deep breath to unleash some more, he cut in brightly, “Well, you said that you didn’t have the time to get the horseradish to represent the bitterness. So here it is! You got everything after all!”

That, actually, made me laugh. Yes indeed. Well done, my darling.

A few episodes of the Simpsons, some matzo pizza and snuggling later, I was in a good mood, but chagrined. Some more kisses later and I was just in a good mood. It would be bold of me to call it a Passover miracle, but I’m pleased nonetheless. Maybe the moral is simply, “Lucky’s Has Everything.”

I leave you with this touching, domestic scene that happened moments later:

The Dame sits at the kitchen table on her laptop, preparing to blog. She faces the large mirror that reflects their modest kitchenette behind her. M Fox walks to the fridge, opens it and takes out the orange juice. He removes the cap and raises the bottle to his lips before he notices that The Dame can see his every move. He smiles sheepishly and puts the juice back.  She laughs.

“Do you want me to pretend that I’m not looking so you can do it?”

“No. It’s alright,” says M Fox happily as he exits, his satisfaction renewed with a bubbly hiss as he pops open a can of Miller instead.

Kitty at My Foot and I Wanna Touch It

M Fox might get mad at me for this, but I think it’s a cute story. Also, it’s not nearly as embarrassing as the time I slipped in algae and fell on my ass whilst we were courting.

Recently M Fox and I reminded each other of a very funny incident that occurred one balmy September evening as he picked me up from the airport. I was still living in Ventura at the time. M Fox had invited me to be his date at B&L’s wedding, two of his friends whom I barely knew at the time (actually, I didn’t meet the bride until the day before her wedding!). I was excited to meet more of his friends and especially honored to attend the event since I was such a nube to the group. My anticipation was high; best friend’s wedding, new relationship, new dress, first impressions. Exciting stuff! I even bought a plane ticket instead of driving. Cus that’s what grown-ups do.

In order to get to LAX, I decided to not make my dad drive me all the way into Los Angeles. So I found a shuttle that would take me from a local hotel to the airport. I figured Dumpy Hotel Shuttle + Driving to LAX + Rush Hour Traffic = Leave Early To Avoid Missing Flight to Lover. Sounds reasonable, yes?

Oh man. The shuttle driver did not get on the highway once. Yes. That’s right. The guy took back roads from Ventura to LAX. I don’t know if people not from SoCal can truly appreciate what this means. For you NorCal folks, it would be like driving from Gilroy to SFO without getting on a freeway. Possible? Yeah, sure. But WHY.

We ducked down alleys, rumbled through weird residential neighborhoods, drove across parking lots; Santa Monica was the driver’s personal carnival. I’m surprised we didn’t use the Pier somehow. I swear to God the man had every streetlight timed so that we never once had to stop. And, dag nabbit, we arrived at the airport an hour and a half earlier than I expected. Which meant that after I had taken off my shoes and put them back on again, my flight still didn’t leave for another two hours. Lame. Even more lame is that I was slightly nauseous from sliding back and forth across my seat like an apple at the bottom of a ship and therefore didn’t have the mind to write down the route, as I would have liked to map it for future reference. Getting to LAX from Ventura in almost an hour is not only a miracle, but is practically magical.

Anyway, so after ricocheting around a bus, sitting at the airport for longer than my flight would last and then sulkily realizing that the final amount of travel time would actually equal more than it would have taken me to drive (sucks), I finally arrive in San Jose. (It was seriously the longest flight of my life and it only took an hour. Although, I was pleased that Southwest brought back peanuts). M Fox and I found each other at the baggage claim, had a little Lovers Meet at the Airport After Not Seen Each Other for Weeks scene and then got into his jalopy so he could drive us back to Santa Cruz. It was such a relief to finally be on the last leg of the journey.

Of course traffic getting out of San Jose Airport was hell. I fought feelings of guilt for making M Fox drive to get me as we inched our way out. We tried to make the best of it, awkwardly joking about the huge SUV in front of us with the word “Kitty” on the license plate. Suddenly filled with romantic giddiness, I leaned over the seat for a kiss as we rolled forward to fill in the gap. We neared Kitty, closer and closer. One of my eyes popped open, sensing something, and before I could disengage, we bumped the car in front of us.

A small Asian woman got out of the car, hair piled high, aqua stretch pants and pink lipstick shining in the light. I think her shirt was floral, as well. Her plucked eyebrows were extremely concerned. She looked at her car, then looked at M Fox’s and said reproachfully in an almost stereotypically high voice, “You hit Kitty. Why you hit Kitty?”

I was truly too busy trying not to burst out laughing to A) hear what M Fox said in response or B) to figure out whether Kitty actually did refer to the car or if Kitty was this woman’s name. There was no damage done to Kitty, fortunately, and M Fox’s car is so war-torn that we probably wouldn’t have noticed even if it had been crunched a little.

To sooth egos, we unfairly mocked the woman for awhile, giggling nervously at the close call and both feeling stupid that my wanton lechery had caused Mike to get in an accident and that Mike had gotten too wrapped up in the moment to push the breaks.

Needless to say the wedding was wonderful, our relationship blossomed and we all learned a valuable lesson about the importance of abstinence while driving. But there were definitely a string of nights where one of us would suddenly start chuckling and murmur, “You hit Kitty!”