Forbes has confirmed it! I work for the most expensive university in the country, and likely in the world. How’s that for exciting?
My dear friend Erin recently ‘fessed up to a variety of embarrassing purchases and other closeted items that a woman of her age, gravity, intellect, and social standing probably should not own. This was a follow up to a post about embarrassing entertainment purchases, except Erin took it one step further, and I’m oh-so-glad that she did. This got me (and also Kasia) thinking about my guilty pleasures, the things SB can’t believe I own, and the things that I’m really a little shocked that I’ve kept despite moving at least once a year since 2002.
Without further ado:
- A subscription to People Magazine. I may be the only person you know who actually subscribes, but I can tell you that many others reap the benefit. I really enjoyed reading the trashy magazines that were left about when I was using the gym at UIUC, and the prospect of not being able to enjoy them in our building’s gym made me very sad.
- Not one but TWO Ace of Base albums. Not just the stolen mp3s – entire albums. Which I listen to without irony.
- A plaid button-down shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch purchased in Washington DC in the spring of 1993. It’s threadbare and huge, but I love it.
- A box of totally embarrassing notebooks ranging from notes exchanged between me and Sarah in high school to mortifying journals that I never want to look at again, but somehow can’t get rid of.
- A soup tureen, brought home on a whim from my parents’ house. Who needs an effing soup tureen?
- An obscene amount of bath products and lotions. At one point recently I put all the lotions I owned out to remind myself that I didn’t need more lotion, and there were at least three fragrance options, several unfragranced options, as well as several options for specific body parts (hands, feet). This doesn’t include any facial products.
- Several boxes of art supplies, which I haven’t used in at least two years, and also several boxes of letters, which I haven’t revisited in several years but am keeping for posterity’s sake nonetheless.
- Nursing bras, not because I’ve ever been pregnant or have nursed, but because for 18 months I failed at every attempt to buy bras, and so had to buy multiples of the first thing that fit.
- Holiday dishes (Christmas) and cat napkin rings ($1.50 at a yard sale!).
- Lots of scarves. Winter scarves. Decorative scarves. Neckerchiefs. Sitting in a drawer.
OK, so few of these things are actually embarrassing – most of them just fall into the category of “seriously? I own this crap?”. Regardless, I’m amused.
Have I mentioned how much we love Cowgirl Creamery? Oh. Well, we love Cowgirl Creamery like Wallace loves cheese. Shane’s been on a cheese kick of late, having made a long list from the cheese book I bought him for Christmas last year. We’ve been going to CC on the weekends armed with the cheese list, trying new and exciting things on the recommendation of the fancy cheese people (do cheese workers have a name?) – one of whom, it so happens, worked for the guy who wrote the book! Their cheese selection is incredible, the fancy cheese people are very knowledgeable and patient, and sampling is encouraged. We’ve tried a number of new things and otherwise expanded our cheese noses and palates to include stinky, crumbly, rindy, and grassy things.
Since moving here, we’ve gone out less often – in part because it’s more expensive, in part because there aren’t any bars immediately close to our apartment, and in part because it makes us kind of sad to go to bars week after week, just the two of us. Instead, we’ve been spending our money on good cheeses, wines from the wine shop near us, and putting the two together with some fruit and movies on the weekends. It’s a really wonderful treat, and I’m looking forward to the choices for this weekend: a Portuguese white that we picked up at last night’s tasting, two new cheeses, and the last disc of Long Way Round.
So the LJ is all abuzz about Tumblr, which apparently makes posting all kinds of random web things incredibly easy. Having already fallen in love with delicious, embraced and abandoned Vox, and then jumped straight into Twitter, I think I already have enough places to post things, though the idea of a posting bookmarklet is pretty cool. Instead, my faithful readers, I’m going to be more steadfastly resolved to sharing ephemera here, rather than fattening your feed readers with another site to manage.
Speaking of which, how in the world did I ever manage my internetting before feed readers? The Google Reader feature set is my current best friend, especially the sharing options. Say what you will about Google – I’m happy to integrate my reading, my email, my document composition, and my calendar, and then also have the option to highlight text and send it to my phone.
Last weekend we were wandering around after stocking up on fancy cheese, and I was trying to tell Shane about something that (1) I saw while in NYC or (2) saw on Law & Order. I’m sure the anecdote was very enthralling, but that’s neither here nor there. I couldn’t remember the actual name of the neighborhood where I saw (or saw on TV) the thing in question, so for the sake of argument I made up a name for a New York neighborhood. One thing led to another, which led to a great deal of silliness as we came up with the following:
- Little Turkmenistan
- WeHo (alternately, eHo)
- The Haberdasher District
I’m sure there were others, but we can’t remember any of them. You’ll have to trust me that it was hilarious.
Have I mentioned how much I love canteloupe? Because it just may be my very favorite fruit.
DCist reports that the World Bank is closed today after receiving a bomb threat in the last couple of days. This is noteworthy because I work about four blocks from the WB, and my bus stop is directly across the street. This is also noteworthy because unless I missed it, the university didn’t notify us that there had been a bomb threat in the neighborhood.
I suppose after living in a city for a while, these things stop being strange, but it’s still awfully weird to me.
– Red Ink, a soft grassy sheep’s cheese, Appenzeller cheese, and jamón ibérico (!!!!!!). The jamón was a birthday gift from Shane, and oh what a gift it was. We have a bit more in the fridge, and I plan to savor it at some point this week. Some girls get chocolate for their birthdays – me, I get expensive Spanish ham.
– brunch at the Corcoran, which wasn’t all that exciting in and of itself, but it was a very nice atmosphere and I enjoyed the souffle.
– the always reliable veggie options at the Hut.
– one more opportunity to see the Annie Leibovitz exhibit at the Corcoran. Our memberships paid off today when we didn’t have to wait in line for the sold out show. The galleries were packed with people, so the exhibit lacked some of the intensity of our first visit, but I’m awfully glad we went again.
– staying in to watch Helvetica and Paris, je t’aime, two very different films but both quite good.
– our new sofa arrived on Saturday and promptly exerted its dominance over our living room. I showed it who’s boss by taking a nap on it later.
– meeting a new friend at the Arlington Animal Shelter. She can’t possibly replace Sid in our hearts or memories, but she will Basil on his toes and the two of us in stitches. We’re hoping to bring her home in a few days, once she’s healed from her spaying and they’ve made sure that no one is going to come claim her.
– lots of quality time with SB. The last few weeks have been very hard, and very tiring, and it was wonderful to have a lot of lazy downtime together.
Despite the day’s sad events, Shane and I decided to continue with our plans for New Years’ Eve, which is also our anniversary. We had dinner reservations for at Tallula in Arlington – for the holiday they featured a special menu with wine pairings which, while expensive, seemed like an ideal way to have a laid-back, not overly social evening. Our menu, along with impeccable wine pairings (not listed):
quail egg, cinnamon guanciale, Perigord oil
Trio of Oysters
Oyster Stew w/ sherry froth, Fried w/chipotle aioli, Raw w/chile & lime granite
Shane had the soup, which was rich and flavorful, with the egg adding an extra amazing something. I had the oysters – the stew was served in a tiny espresso cup, the fried one reminded me of a clam strip from White Castle except much, much faster, and the raw one was, well, awesome.
Seared Foie Gras
quince, Concorde grape syrup, star anise
5 spice, lobster claw, mango, paddlefish caviar
Shane was disappointed that the ravioli was less than perfectly formed. The sauce was delicate and delicious, as was every other aspect of the ravioli – except for the fact that everything came squishing out with the first bite. I had the fois gras because I’d never had it before and it’s illegal in Chicago and I figured I’d only want to try it once, so might as well make it NYE. It was VERY rich and not something I’ll probably eat again, but it was an interesting experience, a little bit overwhelmed by the sweetness of the quince and the paired wine.
Pan Roasted Cobia Fillet
preserved lemon, lobster, tarragon
Seared Diver Scallops
celery root, leeks, vanilla-saffron butter
We both opted for the scallops, which were absolutely perfect in every way – delicate but flavorful, rich but not overwhelming. I could have had five courses of this and been entirely happy. I was also very tempted to lick the plate. The scallops were scored on the top and lightly seared, and the vanilla-saffron butter sauce was just incredible.
Smoked Venison Loin gruyere potato gratin, chanterelle mushrooms, thyme sabayon
Braised Beef Cheeks
Perigod truffles, Yukon potatoes, braising jus
Shane had the beef, which I didn’t try because the last time I had beef was February of 1996. He seemed pleased with the beef, but disappointed that he didn’t get the venison. Oh god, the venison. It was rare-ish and incredibly flavorful, melting in your mouth, with the sabayon providing a mild savory counterpoint. The gratin was perfect, as were the mushrooms. Unfortunately for me, I was pretty full by this point in the meal, so Shane benefited from my lack of hunger.
I can’t remember the specifics of the fifth course, unhelpfully NOT described on Tallula’s website, but I had a chocolate mousse with blood oranges and a bit of Creme Anglaise, while Shane had a mango (and/or passionfruit) tart with meringue and a bit of coconut ice cream on top of a pile of dark chocolate shavings. Both were delicious, though the mousse was a bit overwhelming after the four previous courses.
All in all, it was a wonderful dining experience, and I’m looking forward to going back for brunch or drinks.
I knew it was unseasonably warm, but when I walked through Dupont Circle just now, the time and temperature reading on the SunTrust bank said that it’s 68F out. That’s just a little ridiculous, Mother Nature.