Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Fleet Week: Start spreading the news

William Hamb, petty officer first class on the Kearsarge, said he did not need anything half that spectacular. "I don't have to do anything special. I'm in New York. Look at me, I'm in an elevator and it's in New York. I'm in a taxi, in New York. I'm in a subway and it's in New York. You can't go around the corner without bumping into a landmark."

It doesn't get better than that.

For Sailors, a Calmer Shore Leave in N.Y. [NYT]

Shuesday: Knit one

Continuing the naturals theme, Ralph Lauren offers crochet thongs, which I suppose one could wear anywhere but the streets ... unless they're hand washable? I love them, but they're like white pants, an accident waiting to happen.

And BCBG has woven leather pumps that resemble crochet. I think I'd like them better with out the MaryJane strap, but still cute.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Power of One

Tonight, three only children took the trivia crown. We averaged 10 correct answers apiece. In the Puppets category, Sarah predicted the question about the two old guys in the balcony on The Muppet Show, to which I knew the answer. Shockingly, we went 5 for 5 on Chemistry. Celebrity anagrams were challenging - we went 4 for 5, but no one cares about that actress anyway. Being a voice is not the same as being an onscreen actress, and she's so 1990's.

Post trivia, flush with our win, meta-conversation ensured. As only children, would we choose to have only children ourselves, or would we insist on having many? (All other things being equal, and many indicating more than one - the Cookie Monster's on course to rename those with siblings.) And there were three separate opinions. One was pro perpetuating the only child population, one was in favour of many children, and one would be fine with one, but would be willing to have two.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


The FG loves hot & spicy foods. She orders Indian food with 4-5 stars, asks for her Thai food well curried, and orders extra wasabi with her sashimi. This weekend, she made salsa she almost couldn't eat.

But let us begin at the beginning. As with many shopping stories, this one began with a surfeit of a single ingredient. In this case, there were tortilla chips in the house and nothing to eat with them. So the FG betook herself to her local Whole Paycheck, with a list, and purchased the following:
  • one shallot
  • two serrano peppers
  • one jalapeno pepper
  • one head garlic
  • cherry tomatoes
  • one red pepper
When she returned home, she minced the shallot, three large cloves of garlic, all three peppers, half the red pepper, and 10-12 cherry tomatoes. She added a tablespoon of lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and pulled out the tortilla chips for a sample. Hot hot hot. She took an unladylike swig of her Red Stripe. Ow ow ow. She remembered that beer just spreads the heat around, so she ate more chips, sans salsa. Much better. But now what to do? The salsa was made, but it was really too hot for human consumption. She added the rest of the red pepper, and 5 more cherry tomatoes, and plans to continue to add tomatoes to the salsa as she consumes it. In small portions. And she has learned to be a little more reserved in her pepper purchases. Hope you had a great long weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Funeral Feast

People always talk about what they'd have for their last meal (ok, not always, but bear with me), but until I read this in Dining & Wine yesterday, I hadn't heard a healthy discussion of what to serve at one's own funeral.

We're obviously not all grande dames of Southern cooking, who were cared for by a young, fabulous chef in our final years, (although that would be great), but I think it's worth considering. If your funeral is a celebration of your life, or at least held in your memory, why stop the planning with the music* and the flowers?**

The menu for Miss Edna Lewis was as follows:

Cheese Straws
Benne Seed Wafers With Shrimp Paste
Pimento Cheese and Celery
Buttermilk Biscuits Stuffed With Smithfield Ham, Sweet Butter
Strawberry Preserves
Southern Pan-Fried Chicken
Deviled Eggs
Asparagus Dressed With Cucumber and Spring Herbs
Heirloom Tomato and Field Pea Salad With Garlic Mayonnaise
Sunday Night Cake
Miss Lewis's Coconut Layer Cake
Cat's Tongue Cookies
Fresh Strawberries
Blackberry Cobbler With Fresh Churned Vanilla Ice Cream
Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes
Homemade Lemonade, Iced Tea

Now, if mine were held today, there'd have to be a martini bar, right next to the oyster bar. I do love cheese straws, and I also want these spicy shortbread bites. If it's hot, Viana LaPlace has a lovely unplugged gazpacho recipe that could be served in a punch bowl - ask The Blue Fairy, who cornered the Pacific NW market on punch cups a year or so ago.

Mini round sandwiches with thinly sliced smoked salmon and a thin spreading of cream cheese, on pumpernickel if you can find it, Kate's onion tart, a salad by Kay, any one will do, and grilled scallops on skewers. For dessert, Lisa's chocolate chip cookies, homemade bread pudding - my fav recipe includes currants, homemade creme anglais and spreading the bread with butter and apricot jam - and my mother's pound cake. And I think that will do.

* Would Death Cab for Cutie be too precocious?
** Peonies, please & I'll do my best to leave this world in May or June

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dance with the one that brought you?

Is it sadder to watch two couples dancing, when one partner in each pair is gazing longingly across the dance floor at one another, or to watch two people choosing not to dance at all?

Yeah, I've got questions.

Grey's Anatomy
The White Countess

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Shuesday: Au Natural

Raffia is showing up on summer sandals - despite the rain this week in the Emerald City. From Manolo to Franco Sarto, and in its most extreme form, Robert Clergerie, it's out there - be sure to check the weather report before leaving the house.

Because it's not just packing material anymore.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Grow up already

We (still) like to keep our understanding of masculinity connected to our understanding of maturity. We’d never had a female anchorwoman deliver our news until recently, we don’t often let female columnists explain the news, and we’ve never had a female president to make the news. For many Americans, being a real grown-up requires a penis.

I'm tempted to initiate a poll - Do those you know with said appendage act like 'a real grown-up' more than those without (the penis-free, if you will)? Or is there just an assumption of maturity regardless of anecdotal evidence to the contrary?

The real story here is that Katie Couric will be flying solo at the CBS newsdesk in just over three months. She doesn't exude the gravitas of Diane Sawyer, but perhaps she'll transition to a less flimsy/folksy style with the change in audience. The FG can only hope that the years Katie spent at Today will mitigate the shredding other women who've stepped into that spotlight have experienced.

The quote, incidentally, is from an article on adult women who, depending on 1) your perspective, 2) which studies you've read, and 3) consent laws in your state/province, rape/seduce teenage boys.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Road Rules

"Her inexperience at the age of 18 makes her feel by turns freakish and amazing, as if she should be placed under glass and observed by scientists. Also, in times of danger — turbulent plane flights home, say — it makes her feel immune. She thinks that it must be impossible, against the laws of nature, to make it through high school and then die before kissing another person."

- The Man of My Dreams Curtis Sittenfield

This is all I'm saying. There are laws, rules, reasons and Fates, damn it, and you'll never be able to tell me otherwise.

Of course, the Renaissance Man had the gall to tell me I was arrogant for thinking I knew what the Fates had in mind ... I hate it when he's right. Fortunately, I seem to be able to throw his entire world off kilter with an innocent question once or twice a month - reciprocity, baby.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Can you hear me now?

The UN's Committee on Torture is calling on the US to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay:
the United States should clearly ban interrogation techniques like "water boarding," in which an inmate is held under water to create the fear of drowning; sexual humiliation, and the use of dogs to induce fear. It said that detainees had died during interrogation involving improper techniques.

The BBC reports that prisoners attacked guards who were trying to prevent an inmate from committing suicide:
The military says there have been 39 suicide attempts in the camp since 2002, and hunger strikes have been common as detainees protest against their continued detention without trial.

What is it going to take, exactly?

Amnesty International Toolkit

ACLU Torture Documents
Human Rights Watch Campaign

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Still with the shoes

I'm starting to think she's got a problem. Should we be grateful they're not Crocs?

Previously: Feet of Clay, Crocalicious

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Don't let your babies grow up to be Pussycats

Further tales of inappropriate parenting:
Watching burlesque-troupe-
turned-pop-group the Pussycat Dolls prowl around the stage's cage-like scaffolding in garter belts and see-through half-shirts for a bunch of 8-year-olds and middle-age men was kind of like attending a peep show with your niece. Only not "like" that so much as actually that. While listening to the little girls in the next row cooing along to lyrics like "don't cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me" was a decidedly unnerving experience, there's something refreshing about a group that is so open about the more pornographic elements of their songs, so brazenly honest about the pop-and-thrust that pervades contemporary pop.

Who takes their children to these things? Oh, right, the same people who take their kids to Hooters for dinner (where kids eat for free on Sundays). Are these the family values we hear so much about?

Stinky ... but still entertaining [Seattle Times]

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Shuesday: Crocalicious

Ella showed me a picture online of the clog things. The Caymans have an ankle strap and air holes for ventilation. The shoes looked like some weird cross between a rubberized swim sandal and nurses' clogs, if nurses went in for hey-ma-look-at-me colors instead of a soothing white.

I found the NYT Style article about these long before the recent alligator attacks in Florida - if you're wearing these shoes, it's no wonder you're under attack. I understand that there are people who spend all day on their feet - nurses, LMT's, teachers - but I don't think we're doing ourselves any favours by pretending they're fashionable. Ditto Dansko clogs - it's the reverse of the 1980's running shoes on the Staten Island Ferry rule. Wear these shoes ONLY at work, and change into these to go home.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

These are the people in your neighbourhood

The next time you're tempted to complain about your neighbours, consider the people on the block in a Supermax prison in southern Colorado.
Convicted Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui began serving his life sentence Saturday at the nation's most secure prison ... ammong the inmates are Ramzi Yousef, Eric Robert Rudolph, Theodore J. Kaczynski and Terry L. Nichols. Also there is Richard C. Reid, the would-be shoe bomber.

Moussaoui Begins Life Sentence [WA Post]

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Utah was beautiful, especially from our ridiculously fancy accommodations. The views of snow capped peaks! The endless railing against the insanity that is these United States! The dry dry dry air, the lack of sleep, the effects of altitude, the one ounce, six dollar martini! (At that price and volume, I stopped at one.)

It's strangely appealing to spend your days learning just how bad things are - torture- detentions- extraordinary rendition, the school-to-prison-pipeline, REAL ID - and your nights drinking with colleagues who are determined, in the face of ridiculous odds, to exhaust themselves fighting injustice on behalf of the weakest members of society. And each time there's a victory, the enemy opens an entirely new front.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;

We take solace in our numbers (500,000 and growing), our occasional victories, and in the knowledge that we will find ourselves on the right side of history. Sometimes that's enough.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Terra Incognita

Heading east (not far) for a conference with the Scottish Cowgirl, the Cookie Monster & Rainster for a few days.

The only book I've ever read about Utah was lovely, if a bit cloying, and I was spared all the preconceptions about the state that those raised on the West Coast seem to have been innoculated with at birth. Plus, I'll be surrounded by unapologetically liberal, highly intelligent and turbo principled Americans doing their damndest to save this nation from itself - it doesn't get much better than that.

Perhaps I'll bring back boots for Shuesday ...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

There were bells all around

I know I wasn't the only one ...
Others say they thought they heard phones ring while taking a shower, using a blow-dryer or watching commercials. What they are hearing is a barely discernable sound — perhaps chimes, a faint trill or an electronic bleat — that they mistake for the ringtone of their cellphone, which isn't ringing. This audio illusion — called phantom phone rings or, more whimsically, ringxiety or fauxcellarm — has emerged recently as an Internet discussion topic and has become a new reason for people to either bemoan the techno-saturation of modern life or question their sanity.

Some sound experts believe that because cellphones have become a fifth limb for many, people now live in a constant state of phone vigilance, and hearing sounds that seem like a telephone's ring can send an expectant brain into action.

"My experience has been hearing just a few notes that are similar to my phone's ring, my brain will fill in the rest," said David Laramie, a doctoral student at the Los Angeles campus of the California School of Professional Psychology, who is writing his dissertation about the effect of cellphones on behavior.

The funny sidenote here is that I forgot my phone at home yesterday and didn't miss it a whit.

I Hear Ringing [NYT]

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Catfights and ... Collagen

While surfing between Boston Legal segments ce soir, I happened upon a Dynasty reunion special on CBS - apparently they do have more to share than CSI spin-offs. While Joan Collins seems to have survived the intervening years (or at least knows enough to hide behind her hair), Linda Evans and Catherine Oxenberg look ... quite painfully unlike their former selves.

Let's age gracefully, along the lines of Candice Bergen, shall we?

Shuesday: Three units every 30 days, ladies

These delightful Gucci sandals are great, but what's with the ordering restrictions?

They only come in one colour. Do the people at Saks think women are going to order these for their wedding party? Or are they going to order 10 pair and wear them over the next 15 years?

Even the FG is confused. But she knows what she likes. And in the less shoe is more category, she likes these, also from Gucci.