Category Archives: At Home

The Graduate, disintegration and some sort of paella

The Beast has really been pulling his own when it comes to week-night dinners. He made a great Bolognese last week. This week, it was paella, or rather his interpretation of it. He started with a Paula Deen recipe for “Mexican Rice” and then added peas, sausage and shrimp. If that doesn’t all add up to paella then I’m   my name isn’t Paula Deen.

Add to this authenticity watching The Graduate, and it practically felt like we were in some tiny Valencian town eating our meal. The Beast had been eager to re-watch the film ever since Mike Nichols passed away. It was a night to remember.

In the kitchen:

Foodie: Is that Leonard Cohen playing?

Beast: Yes.

Foodie: It’s so lovely. You haven’t played it in a while.

Beast:I listen to him when I’m depressed.

Foodie: What was the name of that music you were playing this morning when we were getting ready for work?

Beast: I don’t remember.

Foodie: Sure you do: it was like all instrumental and you told me about how this guy found these old tapes and they were disintegrating but he liked the sound of it so he recorded it or something?

Beast: I forget.

Foodie: As if! You never forget this shit. You’re turning into me right now. I’m really concerned.

Beast: [pause] Did you ever consider that I was going to buy the CD for you for Christmas?

Foodie: Don’t buy me a CD! Get me an iTunes gift card.

Beast: Are you kidding me?

Foodie: What’s wrong with a gift card?

Beast: For starters, we’re not fucking cousins. [Pause] It’s called the Disintegration Loops by–wait. What are you doing?

Foodie: I’m writing down that cousins joke. That was really funny.

Beast: Don’t put that in your ‘blog.’

Foodie: Why not?

Beast: Because Sasha Frere-Jones wrote about the Disintegration Loops and people will think that’s where I heard about it.

Foodie: Did you know before you read about it in the New Yorker?

Beast: What do you think? OF COURSE I DID. This paella is ready. Could you please open up the wine?

Foodie: Already done.

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On the couch, post-paella, mid-movie:

Foodie: Did you notice in the opening shots at Dustin Hoffman’s parents’ place how the camera was so up-close, in everybody’s grill? Like it was mimicking his clostrophbia about being home?

Beast: I though I turned the director’s commentary off.

Foodie: And when Mrs. Robinson starts coming on to him that’s totally how I was with you! LOL.

Beast: No it wasn’t. You weren’t nearly old enough–she’s your age now and he’s my age then. That’s an extra 10 years.

Foodie: [Mrs. Robinson is taking off her dress] She’s not my age! Look at her!

Beast: Maybe she’s 10 years older.

Foodie: I’m a bad example of a typical 40-year-old because I’m 15 lb. overweight so my body looks so young. It really messes with your head how good I look. If Anne Bancroft was 20 lb. heavier, she’d look 20 years younger–guaranteed. Lainey talks about this on her blog all the time–the choice actresses have to make to be skinny or to look young and keep some extra padding on them. Toni Colette, for example. I think she got too skinny. She looked better and younger with a little meat on her bones.

Beast: Well, the only actress doing interesting work right now is Kathy Bates so think about that.

Foodie: Are you kidding me? That is the most absurd statement you’ve ever made.

Beast: You’re right. I’m probably just remembering her from About Schmidt and wanting to watch Misery again because it’s winter. But she’s still better than Meryl Streep. And please don’t say I don’t like Meryl Streep on your “blog.” I’d rather be portrayed as a racist than a Streep-hater.

Foodie: Well then don’t say bad shit about Meryl. You are so wrong. She is gracious and the best actress this age has ever know. Do you need you to watch Sophie’s Choice again?

Beast: Do I need you to watch The Iron Lady again? She can’t even act humble when she’s getting one of her obligatory Oscars that they hand out to her like candy when she shows up every year like a kid at Halloween with a pillow case waiting to be filled with accolades.

Foodie: Unbelievable. Anyway, I was looking in the mirror the other morning when I was getting dressed and I thought I saw my ribs protruding from my skin.

Beast: [Silence]

Foodie: And I was all like, I better not lose any weight because that doesn’t look healthy.

Beast: [Silence]

Foodie: And then I realized that it was actually cellulite. Under my ribs. Is that even possible?

Beast: [Silence]

Foodie: I actually can’t be certain what it was. Maybe it was the way the sunlight was cascading into the room because it’s not there now.

Beast: I support, honour and love you in any shape or form.

After we finished the movie, we turned on the National and despite the bleak and cheerless news that didn’t seem to dissipate as the week trudged along, we fell asleep on couch under a big wool blanket. Embers glowed in the fireplace, lights twinkled on the tree and we were safe and sound.

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Live-blogging the Bolognese, in non sequiturs

Beast: I think I’m going to start a Twitter account called @QuestionsForChanning.

Foodie: Channing Tatum?

Beast: Obviously. I’d ask him how to get a thicker neck.

Foodie: [Silence]

Beast: I’d also ask him what kind of milk he drinks. Like, 2% or homo?

Foodie: May I ask you something?

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Around the world, turning 40

The Beast and I were reunited late Friday night after being apart for two weeks. (I was half way around the world on a work assignment.)  As I walked up our stairs, he grabbed my bottom, as couples are wont to do after being separated  for so long, and felt something unusual.

Beast: What the hell is that?

Foodie: It’s a maxi pad.

Beast: [Silence]

Foodie: Can you believe that I got my period right before having to take three flights and crossing the International Date Line to come home?

Beast: Why didn’t you buy tampons?

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Strada and steaks: the cottage edition

On a recent Saturday afternoon during an autumnal walk at the cottage:

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Beast: Let’s talk about your birthday.

Foodie: Uh, okay. But it’s still a bit away.

Beast: I’ve already got you your present.

Foodie: This was my present! All I wanted to do was visit the cottage before it was closed for the winter.

Beast: Well, I got you something else. [Pause] It’s a House of Cards-endorsed rowing machine.

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Cheap eats: chicken fingers and poutine (on sale)

I took my mom to Costco in London, Ont. on Saturday. As we walked the aisles I saw her smiling at everyone she passed. This is typical behaviour. She’s a very amiable woman. But this time, something was different. It was as though she was attempting to will people to acknowledge her intense gaze, not so that she could share her enthusiasm over the contents of her shopping cart–“the shepherd’s pie is to die for!“–but so she could say, “Yes, yes this is Jess from The Social. And she is my daughter.”

Someone finally bought into it, and my mom couldn’t have been more thrilled. “I saw you looking at her,” she whispered to a  lovely young woman who was  picking up Thanksgiving provisions along with the rest of the city, “and I wanted to tell you it really is her. She’s my daughter, you know.”  The woman smiled, told us about the Brie on sale in the next aisle, and was on her way.

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The trips to Italy and lemon pasta

I leave for Italy in 10 days. I will be away for just over two weeks. It will be, by far, the longest the Beast and I have ever been apart. He keeps joking that he’s going to move back in with Marg and Dave, his parents, to get him through the separation, so he won’t starve.

This will be my sixth trip to Italy. The first time was a 1992 high school trip with Becky, Julie and my mom, who came as a chaperon. It was one of those whirlwind rides through Venice, Florence, Siena, Assisi, Rome and Pompeii. I remember listening to Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints over and over again on my walkman on that tour bus.

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Project home decor, plus pork chops

There has been a lot of home decor improvements going on in this house. Or, as we’ve been calling it,  project #homedecor.

We cleaned out the sunroom and moved in two new reading chairs that the Beast brought home from work.

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