The Underdog Triumphs

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Chopping Veggies with Al Green

I like to cook. Partly because I really love chopping vegetables. For some reason it calms me and I practice fancy techniques I have seen on TV. I blare Al Green and swivel my hips around the kitchen, glass of wine in hand. While balancing the cutting board between the stove and sink in my 3" x 8" kitchen, I imagine my future life where I am making a great feast for a hungry hubby and I get to dance in a kitchen filled with stainless steel and marble counter tops.

Sometimes I cook meals, like I did tonight, that were so good I wish I had someone here to attest to how good my cooking can be. I now understand how the chef's on TV mmm and ahh into the cameras how delicious their own cooking is and now I feel it necessary to cease snickering at them.

I made a tofu and vegetables stir-fry with brown rice. I varied the recipe slightly--instead of vegetable oil I used toasted sesame oil, and used a Korean zucchini "the sweetest variety," and a sweet pepper. It is the same shape as a red or green pepper but is white and actually very sweet for a pepper. (Farmer's Markets rock!)I have never made my own stir-fry marinade before, and now I will never buy one in a bottle again. This is the perfect sweet and tangy sauce.

Just like a book, CD or movie, I believe that when you find a good recipe it must be shared.

SIDE OF SUGGESTIONS for the best food related films:

1) Mostly Martha
2) Big Night
3) Like Water for Chocolate

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Difference Between Mom and Dad

Last night my mom called me after she watched the ABC show about internet dating, Hooking Up. She said a little softly into the phone, "did you know shagging meant having sex?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

To Thong Or Not To Thong...

Last night, while talking to a male friend, we strangely got on the topic of thongs. (First it was what males wear under bike shorts and next thing you know women's under garments.) He claims that all his girlfriends in the last 10 years have only wore thongs.

I was puzzled.

Really? Really? No way...I don't actually own a pair of course I started the whole self-doubt thing...Could this really be that all young women around me are wearing thongs while I sit day after day in granny panties? What is wrong with me?


And I know this, because then he said something to sort of, read those women's magazines, they should be able to tell you what women are doing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Life With Father

So it's been brought to my attention that the Octopus quote was strange...Especially coming from my dad. And I can totally see how that would be really strange. But then again, you didn't grow up with him.

You didn't get to experience the way burnt tongue smelled up your living quarters for a week. Or how we were always the last kids to be picked up from anywhere. You didn't get to sit through 2 marriage ceremonies, or at 15 years old have condoms left on the dining room table for you because weeks before his wedding he said, "I don't need them anymore." And you really don't know humiliation until you're at the corner video store trying to rent a movie when the kid behind the counter tells you you have a fine for a very engaging film called "Humongous Hooters." And for some reason in my family, all of our nicknames are "dick." Not in reference to human anatomy, but it's what you call one when they say spill a glass of water or forgets to get an oil change.

So now that I've dysfunctionalized my father even more--let me tell you why the comment wasn't too strange.

If wasn't for him I wouldn't have a sense of humor. Growing up on SNL and old Belushi and Chevy Chase movies raised the funny antennas and taught me how to laugh. I wouldn't know that he sacrificed a lot to send us to camp, private school, and trips to visit our friends. I wouldn't know what a strong work ethic was. I wouldn't know anything about cars. I wouldn't know how to give and expect nothing in return. I wouldn't know that hours of research and talking to people helped form decisions he influenced us to make.

I remember he used to have folders for each of us kids. Each was filled with fliers and newspaper articles about things that we were interested in. When I was suffering through horrible jobs and unemployment, he talked to people, scoured job bulletin boards everywhere he went, and he believed, when I knew better, that I was qualified for jobs I really wasn't. He had confidence in me when I had none.

And that's what a father should be. He should be able to pick you up and bandage your knee when you fall. He should provide strength and help build your character. He should be able to accept you and listen with out judgment. He should constantly ask "how's the car?" And that's all what mine is. Inappropriate humor is just something I've learned to live with--and I just have to roll my eyes and laugh at how lucky I still am.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Octopus Garden

This is what my dad said as we went through the car wash today:

Now I know what it's like to be inside an octopus when it orgasms.

Friday, July 15, 2005

One is the Loneliest Number

I sit in my apartment on a quiet Friday night. All I hear is the hum of the air conditioner, it is around 7 pm and I just got home from my long day, from my long week of work. Actually, I left work at 3:30, the perks of working for a Jewish organization. I went for drinks with a friend from work.

Over martinis at the South Loop Bar Louie she told me more about the man she is going to marry. She is genuinely in love with a man who currently resides in Arkansas, he is divorced, age 37 and has 3 kids. He is her soon to be sister-in-laws brother, who she just met about 4 weeks ago. I remember the smile on her face the week they met and how they stayed up every night to the wee hours of the morning just talking. She told me that week that she was going to marry him. She just felt it, he was the one. She will sacrifice a lot to be with this man--and understands that when she takes him, she takes the whole package. And she's more than open to it.
She was amazed at how well her son got along with his children.

She said that she just can't wait until he moves here so that she can go home to him. Sometimes, on a night like tonight, I feel the quietness in my life. I walk into to the cramped apartment, observe the mess that is always accumulated by Friday, the one chair in front of the window, the fixing a meal for is the loneliest number.

I am envious of her love for this man because it is so genuine--so un-forced. I have no idea how this feels and I want to know what it is like. I want to know what it is like to have someone to come home to.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Icy Truth

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
-Carl Jung

Sometimes people know us so well that they deliver us a truth about ourselves and it's like we just got slapped in the face with a bucket of icy water. It is suppose to wake us up and we are suppose to realize it so we can change our actions.

So why don't we?

Instead when truth is pointed out to us--and we agree with it, we feel small and vulnerable and strangely compulsed to do it more until something or someone else changes. It becomes a game of "want," "what if," or "my way."

I am one of the most self-aware people I know, ironically I even know what I keep blind to myself. And yet I make the same mistakes, tell myself the same lies, and drive myself crazy about things I can not change. I'm really good acknowledging these things, but not at accepting them.

And when I do, I hope to Learn to accept that "what is" is. (C. Smith Summer)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Past, Present, and Future

Ten years ago: July 1995-Summer before my Senior year of high school. I spent 3 1/2 weeks of the summer living in a tent at a Jewish camp in upstate New York. It was a special program where you lived like Socialists and had jobs and made your own rules. It was a mock Kibbutz, or socialist movements they have in Israel. Ah, what a summer. Got high in the woods, smoked a lot of cigerettes around the campfire, badly sprained my ankle, got felt up. It was a summer to remember.

Five years ago: July 2000. I was home interning at a company who did public relations for motion pictures studios. It was an uneventful summer, with the exception that I got to be on a float in the gay pride parade and toss out Legally Blonde packs of pink glitter and tank tops. Then I mourned having to go back to Kansas to finish one more semister.

One year ago: July 2004, let's see, I was working full-time at a social service agency and part-time at a Borders Bookstore. Yep that's about it.

Yesterday: Woke up at my mom's house to see that London trains exploded. Got really depressed at the state of the world, especially how the media Americanized the story by trying to scare us into never taking public transportation again while saying that it's still okay, instead of just expressing our empathay and condolences.

Then I went bra shopping with my mom and found out I've decreased a cup size. I never thought these suckers would shrink. Amazing. Had lunch, came back to my city, did pilates, went to babysit for a new family who had the cutest 9 month old, which made the clock start ticking. Shit.

Today: Had breakfast, watched Ellen at the gym, writing this, thinking about buying new sneakers and treating myself to sushi for lunch (I did make $45 last night...) then meeting up with ACat and C. for Chocolate at Ethels Chocolate lounge.

Tomorrow: Hitting the Farmers Market for more fresh berries, lunch with Dad, a little reading at my favorie park off the lake, then I guess we'll see...

Five snacks I enjoy: ice cream, cheese, grapes, pita with Hummus, and bubble tea lattes.

Five bands that I know the lyrics of MOST of their songs: Wilco, Coldplay, Rolling Stones (okay, they have A LOT of songs, I'd say I know half), U2, and R.E.M.

Five things I would do with $100,000,000: buy a house in Italy, buy a house in Israel, set up funds for my family, set up a chaitable foundation of some sort, and invest in commercial real estate.

Five locations I’d like to run away to: any city in Italy, selected cities in Israel, Alaska (supposedly 5 men to every 1 woman--may have a shot there), Greek Isles, and Arizona or Vermont (never been to either, but are both appealing for different reasons).

Five bad habits I have: negative thinking, emotional eating, the occasional cigerette, waiting for rain to clean the car, and waiting to so my laundary until the hamper overflows.

Five things I like doing: sitting by lake and reading, seeing movies, talking to close friends on the phone, going out for breakfast, and drinking coffee and perusing bookstore.

Five things I would never wear: 3-6" heels, halter top, scunchie, mini-skirt, and leotard.

Five TV shows I like: Conan O'Brien, Reno 911, Amazing Race, Friends, and Becker (ya know, that old show with Ted Danson, it's been my 9:30, channel 26 obession lately).

Five movies I like: Garden State, Hero, Cinema Paradiso, Talk to Her and Almost Famous.

Five famous people I’d like to meet: (I'm assuming this has to be people still living ?) Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama, Adam Sandler, Matthew McConaughey, and Bill Withers.

Five biggest joys at the moment: Having the week off work, the fact I have no one to answer to but me, the sun is shining, my plants are still alive, and looking forward to a fun weekend.

Five favorite toys: umm, I don't have any...this thing I bought at this Bachorlette Shower/sex party sucked.

Five People to tag: Um, ACat, were you tagged? Fizz, ya interested? I don't have any more blog friends that that :(

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Dear Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,

My 12 year-old nephew just discovered the comic genius that was John Belushi. Excitedly he asked me if I had ever seen The Blues Brothers or Animal House, two comedy classics, that of course I had seen numerous times growing up. Then he asked me what else Mr. Belushi has been in and where is he nowadays? I had to break the news that he was dead, and my nephew was a little crushed questioning me "He's dead? I love that guy! He can't be dead!" And that's when I said, "But you know who's not dead? Steve Guttenberg!" Nephew said, "Who's that?" I said, "Who's that!? Haven't you ever seen any of the Police Academy movies? Short Circuit? Three Men and a Baby?

He had no idea who I was talking about--and then I was a little crushed. I grew up on Steve Guttenberg movies--the above mentioned plus Amazon Women on the Moon, the geriatrics comedy Cocoon, and let's not forget he is the king of "part two's," Short Circuit 2, Three Men and a Little Lady, Police Academy 1-4, Cocoon 2...

There is something about The Gutt (pronounced the g-OO-t; long O like MOO) that was, and I think still is, selling. He's goofy, sweet-faced and is cute in that next door neighbor or older camp counselor type of way.

All this adds up to one thing: bring back The Gutt! Hollywood, I beg you, he's hurting for that return role that will have people--and Comedy Central--re-running all 4 Police Academy films all the time. He needs that Bill Murray Rushmore career resurrecting type of role. He's not too old,(not that that matters for men in your Hollywood world). I mean isn't it time the "Little Lady" got married? I can picture the comedy that would ensue as Ted Danson, Tom Selleck, and The Gutt fight over who gets to walk her down the isle. It's time for a Three Men reunion. I don't think Ted and Tom are that busy these days. Call 'em.

Hollywood, you've rid this world of lots of great talent, where is Ralph Macchio? Where is the kid that was in The Neverending Story or the kid who played Sylvester Stallone's son in the classic arm-wrestling flick Over the Top ? There are a lot of important people from my childhood that are now M.I.A., and I want them back!

Now all you give me is Vin Diesel, Johnny Knoxville, and Paris Hilton? I mean she wants to retire and she hasn't even done anything! And please, Vin Diesel has already resorted to the "changing diapers as an undercover cop" role--what's he going to do next, run for Governor of California?

Now according to IMDB The Gutt has done stuff the last few years,, but where is he really? I beg you to give us another chance with The Gutt, did you not see Diner? The guy has got genuine talent!

It may not have been fair to compare him to the comic genius of John Belushi--but I think it's a sad, sad day when I say his name to a 12 year-old, mention his classic 80's movies, and he looks at me as if I was making up this once beloved actor.

Once again Hollywood, I beg of you, BRING BACK THE GUTT!

All my love,

The Underdog

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Great Happiness Debate

I had a debate last night with Mr. 007--that's double-O-seven, as in like "Bond, James Bond." I call him that for his similar sounding last name, and because he's sort of an(inter)national man of mystery--or is that Austin Powers?

So we debated love and happiness, as separate entities, and together. He doesn't think people are genuinely happy and that we are all broken in some way. Together we've been reading "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama, and he was comparing to that level of happiness--which according to the Lama is obtainable by training the mind. He asked me how many genuinely happy people do I know.

It's a complicated question and answer. A few people come to mind. But then again, I know that they have struggles, their lives are not perfect, and they--as we all--have had to perservere to overcome obstacles. Truth be told, I'm not in their mind, I don't know how truly happy they really are. But they have that something in their life--they are close to their families, have an active social life, generally don't "sweat the small stuff," and are just filled with goodness.

Maybe happiness is defined how we want it to be defined. For example, I want all the things I have just listed and assume, that if I had all these things, plus a mate, I would be happy.

And that's the other thing: are couple's really happier than the rest of us?

While finding a mate may bring us great pleasure, it is not a guarantee for lasting happiness. He kept reiterating that 50% of marriages end in divorce. He, like I assume most, is most afraid of what happens when you run out of things to talk about. And that's when the professionals would tell you to try and do things to "spice things up." But it's a perfectly valid fear as wires fizzle and connections sometimes break overtime.

We talked about the types of couples we know. The young 20-something couples I know are glowing and hopeful about what their future holds. 007's 30-something couples, have been married 5-10 years, may have some toddlers in tow, and the couple's have already lost their "mojo," or as 007 suspects, they may they never had it to begin with.

Life is all about perspective.

There are no right or wrong answers in this debate of love and happiness. But is 007 right, are we all broken in a way? We have all had to deal with shit. Deal with disappointments, rejections, loss, hate, loneliness--these massive life events have changed us at our core. Made us more suspicious, less open, plain sad--look at all the negative terms I've used in the last 2 sentences.

I do believe--or really want to believe that like the Dalai Lama, that with some mindful training, I can overcome the negative and turn it positive. I may be broken in ways, but I truly believe I'm not beyond repair.

And 007, he's not either.