Archive for December, 2007

Happy New Anus!!

This is the time of year when the importance of the tilde (otherwise known as the “~”) in the Spanish language cannot be overemphasized. It makes the pivotal difference between wishing someone a Feliz Año Nuevo (Happy New Year) and a Feliz Ano Nuevo (Happy New Anus)…and I suspect that, barring rather specific clinical contexts, one would much prefer the former greeting to the latter. I know I would.

So, as you ring in 2008 tonight, I hope you all drink responsibly and use your tildes with reckless abandon!

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Writing frantically…just not on this here site!

If there’s anything that could get in the way of my blogging groove, it would be a 12-hour drive up to Mamacusa’s house in Oregon, followed by a week of paralyzingly delicious, home-cooked Cuban food, followed by a 12-hour snowy, rainy drive back down to SF, topped off by a last-minute January 4th deadline for not one, BUT TWO, medical journal publications handed to me by my boss just this morning! For Christ’s Sake!?! I mean…Merry Christmas, Baby Christ!

For the three of you still following along here, I’m sure I’ll get my blooove (blog + groove = blooove) back soon. Til then, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmukkahkwanza!! If you’re feeling at all like I am, you’re THIS CLOSE to wringing Bing Crosby’s Holiday song singin’ neck!

Which I’m totally cool with, just as long as the Precious Moments aren’t taking up my space in the hot tub

Hark! I have been slacking in my blogging lately (both the blog reading AND the writing)…but it’s been for good reason! I have been trapped for several days, without food or water, under my car, which has a flat tire! For the third time!

I exaggerate! But only about the being trapped part…the having a flat tire for the third time bit is no joke. (Which is good, because it’s not all that funny.) Yes, apparently, my front passenger side tire much prefers the deflated state to the inflated state, and he insists on torturing me with his slow leaking! What’s with all the leaking, young man??? I say. And all he does is stare back at me in flat defiance. And then I drag him by his ear to the tire professionals and right in that instant, just to make me look stupid, he STOPS LEAKING. And, of course, the tire professionals cross their arms, roll their eyes, and silently imply that I’m crazy. Yeah, sure there’s a leak, lady! they think. And then they reinflate my tire and send me along on my crazy way. Well, this time, crazy lady here is REPLACING THE FRIGGIN TIRE. So there.

So, aside from dealing with vehicular misbehavior, another reason I’ve been a bit distant is because I spent most of last week smooshed into a big auditorium in San Antonio, Texas with lots of other people talking about breasts nonstop. I know this sounds like it might be fun (because let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to talk about boobs?) but after about five solid days of mammary talk, breast conferencing, tata panel discussions, and boob research poster sessions, I can assure you that even the most avid Breastbeterian, would have a touch of The Boob Fatigue. It was an interesting breast cancer research conference, though…I learned a lot. And on my downtime, I got to visit the Alamo!! I can now confirm that Pee Wee was correct; there is, indeed, NO basement in the Alamo. Just to be sure, though, I asked the Alamo Park Ranger on duty. I could be wrong but I got the strong impression that he’d probably been asked about a basement before. He did not seem amused.

Back in SF, I’ve been trying to squeeze in some Christmas shopping when I can…but that hasn’t gone too well. I brought Dochechka along for help one day and we ended up in H&M trying on coats. The good news is, Dochechka and I bought each other snazzy coats for Christmas this year. The bad news is, noone else is quite completely shopped for yet. Next year, to prevent this sort of thing from happening again, Dochechka and I plan to just write each other checks for $100 and not cash them. It’s for the best.

Hopefully The Brit and I will be ready for our drive up to Portland for Christmas. We’re headed up there this weekend to visit with Mamacusa and The Love Muscle! They purchased a new house recently (and installed a hot tub!!) which we have yet to see. They say they moved to have more room for us when we visit. But everyone knows the move was really just to make room for Mamacusa’s limited edition Precious Moments and Hummel Nativity dioramas and her expanding collection of Christmas angels.

We’re still trying to lick those shoes clean…the balls, not so much

Considering at least one random couple usually has raucously audible sex in the upstairs bathroom at some point during our holiday party, and the fact that there was no evidence of such activity having taken place this year, I’d say our holiday party this past Saturday was quite tame in comparison to years past. Which is to say that maybe all of our guests are just that much wiser and more mature. Which is to REALLY say they’re probably sneaking down to one of the four downstairs bedrooms for more discrete tomfoolery. (Which is probably for the best given the fecal atrocities that are perpetrated against the porcelain in that bathroom, what with four men in the house.) I just don’t want to know which room.

I’m also happy to report that the three solid days of baking leading up to the party went off with but one minor catastrophe. The Brit discovered, rather suddenly and inconveniently, that one of our oven mits is more than sufficiently worn down in all the important places. (Like where your fingers go.) So he had just enough time to take the honey caramel tart with apricots out of the oven before the synaptic signals made it from his exposed fingertips up to his grey matter and told him to drop the molten hot dish all over his shoes. This made for a few blisters and some rather delicious Skechers. I constructed a second honey caramel tart which landed better.

Lastly, it can’t conceivably go without documenting that this year, several of our friends took our suggestion to don their “Christmas Best” to mean that they should wear “Cliff Huxtable’s Christmas Finest”:

christmas-sweaters-07.jpg

Charmingly enough, this meant there were Christmas balls on more than just our tree…

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In which he reveals that it’s not just the Spanish language he has an issue with

We’ve already established that The Brit hasn’t gotten very far in his Spanish language lessons. But this weekend, as we were preparing the finishing touches on the desserts for our holiday party, I discovered that his English is struggling as well. We were listening to an 80’s compilation and Elvis Costello’s “Every day I write the book” came up.*

I give you The Brit’s version: “Every day…Every day…Every day I ride the bus…”

* Check out this video, by the way…I love the sort of epileptic moonwalk Elvis Costello attempts immediately before the second verse. I’m caught somewhere between wanting to dance right along with him and wanting to prescribe him some Carbamazepime.

So if you find me unconscious on the kitchen floor with a Kussmaul breathing pattern, a mixing spoon clutched in my hand, and egg whites in my hair, you’ll know why

I’m not sure what compels The Brit and I to do this, but every year around the holidays, we invite a hundred or so of our, and our roommates’, closest friends over to the house for dessert and wine. And not just any desserts…ten gourmet desserts that The Brit and I have hand selected from the bowels of our several year running Bon Appetit subscription (plus the annual staple Cuban Flan). The list is selected, usually, after moderate amounts of contentious debate…often in which I argue that we canNOT under any circumstances NOT do the Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake. His typical response is that he could do just as well without it if it meant trying something new. Considering he deems it adventurous to eat battered, deep fried bee larva from street vendors in China, I usually demand to stick with my Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake, thank you very much. And while I often win, this year he saw my Peppermint Ice Cream Cake and raised me Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake AND a different version of the Peppermint Ice Cream Cake….so I lost. But, not to worry, some part of me will gain. (Most likely the gluteal part.)

We’ve done this together three years running now and, truthfully, we do it because we love cooking and we love company. So there you have it. But that doesn’t mean that every year I don’t get to the point, roughly one hour before guests start showing up, when there’s still a flan in the oven and ice cream truffles to be dipped in chocolate a second time, and think to myself that maybe next year we should just hand everyone a fudgesicle and a candy cane at the door and call it a day. Dude, I’ve seriously considered it.

Here’s our list of desserts for this year (many of these recipes can be found on the Epicurious website, by the way):

Peppermint Ice Cream Candyland Cake
Chocolate Panna Cotta Layer Cake with Cocoa Nib Praline
Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
Orange Cheesecake with Candied Kumquats
Smores Coffee and Fudge Ice Cream Cake
Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie in Toasted Pecan Crust
White Chocolate Tiramisu Trifle with Spiced Pears and White Chocolate Leaves
Cranberry Eggnog Tart
Honey Caramel Tart with Apricots
Lemon Creme Brulee with Fresh Berries
Cuban Flan

Party’s on Saturday. We start cooking tonight. If you think we’re effin’ crazy…I whole-heartedly agree…

And then, when it was all over, we went back to the hotel for Story Time and Cookies

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about primary school teachers…apparently the academic rigors of teaching phonics for hours on end to a group of miniature people who would rather be picking their noses is enough justification to really let their hair down when they are off-duty. Actually, more like let their hair down, have a big ol’ glass (or several) of wine, and then dry hump a pleather seat inside a limo to the tune of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On. Or at least that’s the general impression I got when I went wine tasting in Napa this weekend with a limo full of Little B’s teacher friends.

All I can say is THESE ARE THE PEOPLE SHAPING THE IMPRESSIONABLE MINDS OF OUR YOUTH!! And we should be very thankful for that, for these crazy bitches can DANCE! And I’m sure that, if pressed to do so, they’d be able to simultaneously give a great addition/subtraction lesson as well…I don’t know why I think that…something about the way they were able to gyrate their hips while chugging sparkling wine implied multitasking capabilities.

Yeah, so. Wine tasting! With teachers! FUN! We went to several different wineries, the first of which was Mumm. And, apparently, my whole life was leading up to that moment when I tasted the Blanc de Blanc because I was suddenly overcome with cosmic certainty that I was led to Mumm to become a Member…to pay a small fee to receive reasonably priced shipments of champagne every two months…and then to coerce Little B to sign up for membership as well (there was only a minimal amount of arm twisting involved, for, though she is hard as nails when sober, she is quite docile when quaffing The Bubbly) so that I could get a 50% discount on a case of champagne at a later, as yet to be determined, time. All this means is that The Brit and I are going to have lots of Bubbly around the house…so much that we will now be able to celebrate even life’s wee moments. Hey, look, I’m home from work! Let’s have some champagne! Dude, check this OUT! I just blinked! Like TEN TIMES IN A ROW! Bust out the champagne flutes! Oh, you just made a poo Dear Brit?! YES! CHAMPAGNE IS IN ORDER!!!

Celebrate life’s small moments, people, that’s all I’m driving at.

So, anyway, it was a grand and debaucherous time. Though I did think the pop quizzes were a bit much…

“Ok, ladies, who here can name one of the organic greens that the lovely winery docent mentioned they plant in between the vines as cover crops to maintain a healthy microbiotic environment in the soil during the off-season?” one of the teachers in attendance prompted after the docent mistook our inebriated inability to stand up straight for “not listening” and left us to our own devices out by the oak barrels.

And, of course, there I was, jumping up and down, with my hand thrust impatiently in the air…all while speaking out of turn, “Oooh, oooh! Mustard greens!!  MUSTARD GREEEEENS!!!!”


Hark!

The madness featured here is mine and mine alone. It does not, in any way, reflect the madness of my employers, colleagues, patients, nutty family, or my colorful friends. The privacy of my employers, colleagues, patients, nutty family and colorful friends is sacred & deeply respected, so no names. All words Copyright © la cubana gringa, no method, just madness 2006-2010. All comments © their authors. Don't steal; it's not nice. (And my Grandfather knows people.)

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