Saturday, April 25, 2009

To my loyal reader(s?): Go eat at Ngon's

I always feel torn suggesting a place to eat. Part of me LOVES sharing a great place because I like the idea of someone else appreciating what I enjoyed in this lovely world of those who love and appreciate good food. But then the selfish, jealous part of me rears its head and I worry that my new-found joy will be ruined by being too busy for me to get in again. Add to that the fear that someone will hate what I recommended, you can imagine the neurosis that ensues. What's a girl-obsessed-with-food to do?

Share, of course. I can't shut-up about food, so I'm my own jealous-self's worst enemy in this instance. Luke and I tried Ngon's Vietnamese Bistro in Frogtown (University & Avon) tonight (it was "date night") and we both loved it. Started with the rabbit dumpling and pork fried eggrolls (I had their cask-conditioned ale - Luke had a Surly Furious). Delish.

I had the Oxtail Pho and loved it - rich, complex, fresh flavor that can't be beat. And even though I at like mad, I brought home nearly a full pint of Pho to be consumed as a yummy lunch tomorrow.

Finished with chocolate ice cream cheesecake and Vietnamese coffee - neither of which we were really hungry for, but we just couldn't resist. The cheesecake tasted like light, creamy, chocolate ice cream with a touch of "tang" and a lovely sweet crunchy graham crust.

In addition to the delicious food, Ngon's appeals specifically to the locavore in us all (at least I hope we all have a locavore inside of us): they use organic and local food whenever possible. Go social-conscientiousness!

An aside: So sorry for the lack of posting. This is why blogging and I aren't close friends, I neglect her and she gets all moody and withdrawn from loneliness. Don't worry though, we went out for coffee and patched it up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Meme

Why are these called "meme's?" Anyone? Bueller?

Borrowed this from Jen's blog.....

1. Which do you like better: Cooking at your house, or going elsewhere?
I love to cook, but I've never hosted/cooked a Thanksgiving dinner. So, I'm not sure if I'd like that endeavor. By default, I must say going elsewhere.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird?
My mother does frozen, Luke's grandma does fresh.

3. What kind of stuffing? I don't go for the sausage stuffing, but I like pretty much anything else.

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie? Pumpkin pie.

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing? Love leftovers. I've been known to have a stuffing, turkey and gravy sandwich. Yes, that's right a sandwich with a bread component as the filling.

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu? I would riot if there were no stuffing or cranberries.

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock? My mom does, and I would, too.

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier? I don't think it could get any easier than having it made for me. Maybe if it was brought to my house and was prepared here.

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour? "Dinner" for my good rural Minnesotan family is the mid-day meal (the evening meal is supper), so Thanksgiving dinner is at 1 p.m.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring? Mom and Grandma discourage visitors from bringing food - I think it goes against the rural farm thing. Who knows? But, I typically bring a snack/gnosh food (this year sausage, cheese and crackers) or a dessert. Something to nibble on.

11. What do you wish one of your guests wouldn't bring to your house? I wish all dinner guests would leave their issues and drama at the door. Better, yet - back home.

12. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you're happy to see? There are certain dramatic elements - but most of us keep it cool.

13. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu? Didn't I already answer this above? See, this is why I can't do these "meme" things. I have too many opinions. Oh, the answer is STUFFING.

14. What are you thankful for this year? Luke and my good jobs/job security, good health, happy home.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How to date yourself and reveal your musical tastes in one fell swoop

Fun little game below from my friend Chris. What did I learn from this exercise? There was A LOT of R&B in '96 along with the beginnings of emo-rock and some sap thrown in for good measure. I can't say I really HATE any of the below...I don't if it's indifference or I dislike too many of them to start to decide if it's hate or not. I mean, these were the TOP songs in '96?! Perhaps I belong to an emotionally stunted generation. Or maybe I was born at the wrong time.

The Rules:
A.) Go to Music Outfitters.
B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year (the top link).
C.) Bold the songs you like, italic through the ones you REALLY hate.

1. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio
2. One Sweet Day, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
3. Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
4. Nobody Knows, Tony Rich Project
5. Always Be My Baby, Mariah Carey
6. Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman
7. Tha Crossroads, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
8. I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis
9. You're Makin' Me High/Let It Flow, Toni Braxton
10. Twisted, Keith Sweat
11. C'mon N' Ride It (The Train), Quad City Dj's
12. Missing, Everything But The Girl
13. Ironic, Alanis Morissette
14. Exhale (Shoop Shoop), Whitney Houston
15. Follow You Down/Til I Hear It From You, Gin Blossoms
16. Sittin' Up In My Room, Brandy
17. How Do U Want It/California Love, 2Pac
18. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion
19. Change The World, Eric Clapton
20. Hey Lover, LL Cool J
21. Loungin, LL Cool J
22. Insensitive, Jann Arden
23. Be My Lover, La Bouche
24. Name, Goo Goo Dolls
25. Who Will Save Your Soul, Jewel
26. Where Do You Go, No Mercy
27. I Can't Sleep Baby (If I), R. Kelly
28. Counting Blue Cars, Dishwalla
29. You Learn/You Oughta Know, Alanis Morissette
30. One Of Us, Joan Osborne
31. Wonder, Natalie Merchant
32. Not Gon' Cry, Mary J. Blige
33. Gangsta's Paradise, Coolio
34. Only You, 112 Featuring The Notorious B.I.G.
35. Down Low (Nobody Has To Know), R. Kelly
36. You're The One, SWV
37. Sweet Dreams, La Bouche
38. Before You Walk Out Of My Life/Like This And Like That, Monica
39. Breakfast At Tiffany's, Deep Blue Something
40. 1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New), Coolio
41. The World I Know, Collective Soul
42. No Diggity, BLACKstreet (Featuring Dr. Dre)
43. Anything, 3t
44. 1979, The Smashing Pumpkins
45. Diggin' On You, TLC
46. Why I Love You So Much/Ain't Nobody, Monica
47. Kissin' You, Total
48. Count On Me, Whitney Houston and Cece Winans
49. Fantasy, Mariah Carey
50. Time, Hootie and The Blowfish
51. You'll See, Madonna
52. Last Night, Az Yet
53. Mouth, Merril Bainbridge
54. The Earth, The Sun, The Rain, Color Me Badd
55. All The Things (Your Man Won't Do), Joe
56. Wonderwall, Oasis
57. Woo-hah!! Got You All In Check/Everything Remains Raw, Busta Rhymes
58. Tell Me, Groove Theory
59. Elevators (Me and You), Outkast
60. Hook, Blues Traveler
61. Doin It, LL Cool J
62. Fastlove, George Michael
63. Touch Me Tease Me, Case Featuring Foxxy Brown
64. Tonite's Tha Night, Kris Kross
65. Children, Robert Miles
66. Theme From Mission: Impossible, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen
67. Closer To Free, Bodeans
68. Just A Girl, No Doubt
69. If Your Girl Only Knew, Aaliyah
70. Lady, D'angelo
71. Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First), John Mellencamp
72. Pony, Ginuwine
73. Nobody, Keith Sweat
74. Old Man and Me (When I Get To Heaven), Hootie and The Blowfish
75. If It Makes You Happy, Sheryl Crow
76. As I Lay Me Down, Sophie B. Hawkins
77. Keep On, Keepin' On, Mc Lyte
78. Jealousy, Natalie Merchant
79. I Want To Come Over, Melissa Etheridge
80. Who Do U Love, Deborah Cox
81. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton
82. This Is Your Night, Amber
83. You Remind Me Of Something, R. Kelly
84. Runaway, Janet Jackson
85. Set U Free, Planet Soul
86. Hit Me Off, New Edition
87. No One Else, Total
88. My Boo, Ghost Town Dj's
89. Get Money, Junior M.A.F.I.A.
90. That Girl, Maxi Priest Featuring Shaggy
91. Po Pimp, Do Or Die
92. Until It Sleeps, Metallica
93. Hay, Crucial Conflict
94. Beautiful Life, Ace Of Base
95. Back For Good, Take That
96. I Got Id/Long Road, Pearl Jam
97. Soon As I Get Home, Faith Evans
98. Macarena, Los Del Rio
99. Only Wanna Be With You, Hootie and The Blowfish
100. Don't Cry, Seal

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wow, I'm bad at blogging consistently.

Well, here we are nearly a month and a half since my last post. There are reasons why past blogs have gone defunct and you, my likely-non-existent-blog-readers, have just caught a glimpse of one. My complete inability to keep up with writing and posting on a regular basis.

Here are some interesting things that have occurred since my last post, a measely copy-and-paste number, back on September 12th:

Luke and I had our first anniversary. Someone told me that once you've reached one year you are no longer a "newlywed." Yet, I still do not feel wise in the ways of marriage, especially when compared to mine and Luke's parents, married 51 and 32 (? I think 32) years respectively. We celebrated with a lovely dinner at W.A. Frost. The night ended strangely, however, when a man wearing a t-shirt and jeans and carrying a sleeping kid in PJ's, his (presumably) wife and other child (also wearing pajamas and crying lustily) asked us first if we knew how to get to Stillwater without taking the freeway (we did not) as he and his family needed to walk there, then if we could give them a ride to Stillwater for $20. We declined. I felt really bad later, because there were children and it was a chilly night (September 29th), but I have a thing against letting strangers in my car or even near me when I'm getting in my car, especially at 10 o'clock at night. Later, after thinking about it some more, I really wished I had thought of the obvious: calling the non-emergency St. Paul police line (which I have in my cell phone). I think they would have reponded since there were children involved and hopefully the wee ones would have gotten out of that scary situation.

The most prominent thought that struck me with our anniversary is that I cannot believe a year has past already, and that I cannot wait for more to come. Last summer, while in the process of buying our house and settling in and planning our wedding, we kept saying to ourselves how things would slow down once we had the wedding. It didn't. But I suppose it never does. :)

So we've had a busy autumn, which is my favorite season of the year, by the way. Aside from both of us being extremely busy at work, Luke took up the new hobby of bike-riding. No, not BICYCLE riding. I'm planning on getting my motorcycle endorsement next February so we can ride off into many sunsets together. In the meantime, I've reached back to my roots and been a canning queen this fall. I put to use the extra tomatoes in my garden (bolstered by some more from the farmer's market) and put up 17 quarts of tomato juice and a dozen quarts of stewed tomatoes. Not only THAT, but my friend Lynn was generous enough to give me some of her abundant raspberry crop, which I froze immediately as I was up to my eyeballs in tomatoes at the time.

Finally, I would like to point out how awesome autumn is. No complaining here about the crisp, cool air and the beautiful colors. I think my favorite thing about fall is stomping through the dry, crunchy leaves on the sidewalks while walking Howie. So satisfying; it makes me instantly break out into smiles. So if you see a short woman with an adorable white & rust beagle stomping through leaves with a goofy grin on her face, that's me. :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cream of the Crop?

From my friend Jen's blog. How many have you read? Mine are in bold.

On July 21, 1998, the Radcliffe Publishing Course compiled and released its own list of the century's top 100 novels, at the request of the Modern Library editorial board.
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
41. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
52. Howards End by E.M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Tokias by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Part 1 of Charles Gibson Interview with Palin

Un-bleeping-believable. This will either make it glaringly apparent that she is inept, or make certain demographics swarm around her in loving support. I shudder and worry.

Part 1
Part 2

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It's Only Been A Week, and Yet My Dislike For Palin Had Already Grown

Ugh. Aside from the immediate audacity of comparing herself to Clinton by declaring that she would "break the glass ceiling that Hillary Clinton cracked" - Palin (along with the entire McCain campaign) continues to talk out of her ass in efforts to cover end misrepresent her complete inadequacy as a potential leader on the national scene. From the AP:

Attacks, praise stretch truth at GOP convention

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Wed Sep 3, 11:48 PM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.


Associated Press Writer Jim Drinkard in Washington contributed to this report.