really bad at this

In news that will surprise no one, this did not end well for me. Well, scratch that: the night ended well (videochat and drinks with A Lady, which was lovely), but the date itself mentioned below was high-school-dance levels of awkward.

A Lady:
Are we both dating because we feel required to do so?

D: Hmmm, possibly? Though I catch myself cruising HARD lately. I'm giving myself whiplash with all the head turning. I think I am mostly dating because I want to get laid.

A Lady: Yeah.

D: Also: makeouts.

A Lady: Oh, mutual attraction. How elusive you are.

D: Hell. Seriously, hell.

So, yes, my date this week: I need a comfy-hot-bikeable-sweat-mitigating outfit.

A Lady: Cutoffs with a loose top might be ideal.

D: Hmmmmmm, cutoffs could do. I need to acquire jeans to cut off. Promising.

A Lady: Legs, but roomy.

D: Yup. Legs, always good.

A Lady: And probably less sweaty than a dress.

D: I like this. To the thrift store tonight!

(Later that day)

D: Pah. The Jewish thrift shop is closed, and I am too tired to walk to the Mexican thrift shop. I settled for $10 jeans at the Russian thrift shop.

A Lady: Ha. I love that your thrift shops have ethnicities.

D: They totally do. Hmmmm. There’s a fine line between Too Short and Awesomely Short shorts. I’m not sure that I care about that line, however.

A Lady: Daisy Dukes: which frankly, I feel are okay.

D: Agreed. I've got to work as much leg as I can, however I can.

A Lady: So. You excited for your date?

D: Actually, yes. We'll see. A text warning will be in effect from 7:30-10 pm Central, with a chance of moderate to severe self-doubt.

A Lady: Due precautions will be taken.

D: The National Date Warning Service suggests that those affected by this alert have a plan for shelter and gin.

A Lady: In case of emergency, seek shelter in front of a computer.

(the next evening)

D: OMG. The date was so bad. So, so bad.

#1: wore her retainer ON A DATE.

#2: lives with her parents.

#3: oh fuck number three, it’s time for wine and takeout.

…Well, at least I have cutoffs now. So that's something.


drumroll please

All it took was two simultaneous and wretched dates and, er, three years of build-up. Ladies and gents, our first videochat, featuring cabernet and scotch. A match made in heaven.


soup of the day

I was out of town for work this weekend in Our Nation’s Capitol, which was a pleasant 97 to 102 degrees the entire time, coupled with crippling humidity. At one point, my job entailed doing some damage control that left me standing outside for two hours in direct sun, which instantly swathed my entire body in sweat. I attempted to sit, but heard my dress rip the moment my sweaty body tried to move. Naturally, I was sans underwear and fervently praying that the rip didn't include both lining and dress. Ughhhhhh.

D: Oh my lord, L. Ughhh. The dress-ripping incident made me poke my fat after work. NOT GOOD. It is time for watermelon and grapes and gazpacho. And serious yoga.

A Lady: Watermelon and grapes are about all that sound appealing in this heat. Yoga...not so much. But mad props.

D: I shall rest up and hit Sunday with newfound vigor! and plates of fruit! and... many batches of blender gazpacho!

A Lady:

D: Ooh, maybe watermelon gazpacho.

A Lady: Better. I have never ever liked gazpacho. Too watery.

D: Really? Oh man, I can practically drink a gallon of it. I don't put bread or water in mine, though, just vegetables and vinegar.

A Lady: Tomato juice yes, gazpacho, no.

D: Hmmmm. You have specific tastes.

A Lady: Very. But we knew this.

True to my word, I spent a bunch of quality time with my blender today, in the hopes that I will stop ripping dresses each time I move.

Pour vous: watermelon gazpacho!


about 1/3 of an overripe watermelon that has been sitting in my fridge for, um, about two weeks now

two tomatillos

a bunch of green grapes

a huge seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks

a yellow bell pepper, seeded

an orange bell pepper, seeded

the juice of a lime or two

some yellow tomatoes

olive oil


apple cider vinegar

Wash the grapes and vegetables, and remove their stems and leaves. Put the green stuff in the blender.

Blend. Pour out and set aside.

Put the pink stuff in the blender.

Blend. Pour out and set aside.

Put the yellow and orange stuff in the blender.

Splash in whatever apple cider vinegar is left in one's cupboard, along with a few really generous glugs of olive oil. Add about a half-teaspoon of salt.

Blend. Pour this over the pink stuff and the orange stuff and mix, then use a colander and strain out most of the solids. (This is why I don't bother to peel the tomatoes or the peppers, or to seed the watermelon. Inertia is your friend! That's why you're cooking with only a blender, after all.)

Mmm, watermelon gazpacho.

we're bad at dating

A Lady: AHEM


A Lady: YES
Oh God. Will this be weird? Am I expected to be the dude?

D: This will not be weird. this will be TOTALLY CUTE.
What's the date plan, hmm?

A Lady: Drinks (typed drunks) at a bar around the corner, 8.30

D: Drunks works too.
(This weekend I was mid-whiskey flight when C.A. texted saying "what are you up to." Left in the typo after brief consideration; sent him a message saying "drankin' whiskey flights w houseguests")

A Lady: What to wear tonight...will it be weird if I've changed clothes from this morning?

D: No! She is totally gonna change clothes, too.
It's a Date, after all. An evening date.

A Lady: I'm thinking the Comme dress, with flat sandals

D: Ooh which Comme dress?

A Lady: The new one!
Black, strapless, long, casual.

D: Oooooooooooooooh. I vote yes.

A Lady: Earrings, bracelet, hair twisted to the side.
Minimal, in other words.

D: Swaaaaaaaaaaaank.

A Lady: But not too swank because it's West Philly, aka Park Slope.
Like, equal parts crunchy and Bugaboo

D: Heh. Vegans.

A Lady: Yup. Don't wanna overdo it, you know?

D: So hot-but-casual.

A Lady: Yeah

D: Hence the flat sandals

A Lady: Exactly.
Also, she's as tall/barely taller than I am.
And in very good shape.

D: Um, swoon.

A Lady: She's probably a pagan widow, though.
Or 20.

D: Ahahahaha

A Lady: Or lives with 10 freegans.

D: Or kicks puppies in her spare time.

A Lady: Exactly.

D: Or doesn't drink.

A Lady: Naw, meeting at a bar, remember?

D: ...where she will order a Diet Coke and say "oh by the way am alcoholic"

D: No, wait, diet SPRITE. Because she'll be allergic to caffeine.

A Lady: And wheat.

D: So really, if none of the above occur tonight: successful date.

A Lady: Standards at 50% and falling
Expect shitstorms late this evening
Possible hail of texts

D: A severe texting alert will be in place tonight. May be downgraded to a chance of hilarity with scattered horrors.


how to drink

I like booze. Obviously. And while I am un-snobby about a lot of it (my well-documented and abiding love for High Life Light is Exhibit A for the jury), I am insufferably elitist about cocktails. Personal favorites: scotch on the rocks (not so much a “cocktail” as a hobby), French 75, manhattan, gin gimlet, dirty martini, Hendrick’s martini with a cucumber slice.

I had a cocktail party some months back that devolved into me doing some light shaming of a guest who was baffled as to the proper ratio of whiskey to sweet & sour. (Hint: the drink should still look like whiskey, not lemonade.) I am still dreaming of the day I acquire a bar cart for my apartment--how civilized would that be? Oh so civilized!

The main calculus when thinking about stocking one’s home bar is defining the balance between cheap and good. Where can a lady cheap out a bit so she’ll have enough money to splash out for a good bottle of scotch?

A Lady: when (re-)stocking a liquor cabinet, what should every fine filly make sure to have on hand?
so far I have: scotch (Macallan 12), gin (Plymouth)

D: also, Hendrick's gin, bourbon (Bulleit is my jam. But I am experimenting with Old Overholt right now with an infusion of sour cherries, and may switch for thriftiness purposes), scotch (I am a devotee of Laphroaig- smokysmokysmoky), vodka –it can be cheap, Smirnoff is totally fine. And snobby homemade meyer lemon sweet & sour!

A Lady: how do you feel about brandy/cognac? I feel like Calvados is a must.

D: I don't do much for brandy lately
But Calvados is a good cocktail accoutrement

A Lady: and speaking of accoutrements: vermouth (Martini and Rossi, dry)

D: + sweet vermouth
And fee bros bitters

A Lady: argh, sweet vermouth. you would.

D: for manhattans! It’s necessary!

A Lady: tequila: Don Juan?

D: My bar is understocked at the mo’. And I have zero tequila knowledge.

A Lady:
I also like something unusual. Like pisco. Mine's lemon-infused.

D: Mmmm pisco! Yes! And maybe cachaça?

A Lady:
mm, yes

Apparently we cheap out on vodka (quite possibly because both of us like our martinis with gin, and vodka is pretty much limited to mixing for others in my apartment, or for my own bloody mary slushies) and just go with Smirnoff. I’m eternally in love with Hendrick’s gin, but since that cucumbery-rosewatery flavor is not good for everything, I will also note that New Amsterdam is cheap and yet good. Not the best gin of all time, but my corner bodega stocks it for under $15, and it’s not discernibly cheap when one drinks it. I don’t have Plymouth around at the moment, but if it’s good enough for A Lady, it’s most certainly good enough for me. (Oooh, now I want gin.)

Bourbon: I am highly opinionated on this. Bulleit, in my estimation, is the superior bourbon. But Old Overholt has been recommended to me as a fiscally-responsible alternative, and thus far, I’m not totally horrified by it. I’ve got a batch of Old Overholt being infused with fresh sour cherries, and when I crack that open, I’ll report back.

Scotch: A Lady goes for Macallan 12-year; I go for Laphroaig and as old a bottle as I can afford. (Right now that’s 10-year. Sigh. Someone could buy me a bottle of Laphroaig Cask Strength, hmm?)

Tequila: opinionate with A Lady and educate me.

Rum: Hmm. No idea. I don’t drink much for rum. I think everyone I know drank one of those dorm-room concoctions of Captain Morgan and Diet Coke in Nalgene bottle at age 19, and then we quit drinking rum because of that, save for the occasional mojito when we want to torture a bartender by making them muddle mint leaves and sugarcane and have to spend 8 minutes making one damn drink.

Others: Pisco, Calvados, vermouths (sweet and dry), cacha
ça, bitters. And if you’re willing to juice a million meyer lemons and some limes by hand, I highly suggest making one’s own homemade sweet & sour mix. It’s so, so good. And after you juice all that damn citrus by hand, you will most certainly want a cocktail.

I am also of the belief that one must always keep a bottle of cava on hand, just in case. In case… you are thirsty? (Cristalino: cheap but good. And it makes a damn fine French 75, friends.)

Addendum from A Lady: a decent bottle of rioja, at least a couple years old. It’s the kind of wine you can splash out into little juice glasses or re-purposed votive candle-glasses and slam on the table emphatically when needing to make a point at 1 a.m. on a hot summer night.


act 1, scene 1

Setting: Miami International Airport. Terminal D, Gate 28. International Departures.

A Lady: Heheheh white people who are Lima-bound have a uniform
Hiking shoes/Tevas
Cargo/ripstop pants
D: North Face jacketsPolo shirts/Greenpeace tshirts
A Lady: Hair that screams "Greenpeace"
D: (Jinx)
A Lady: Backpacks
Indian-print tees
Like, for serious. And they wear this stuff around Lima.
It's a metropole.
There are casinos and (cheap!) five-star restaurants.
Don't be a colonialist fuck.
D: Oooh, I bet there are ankle bracelets made of hemp, too
A Lady: Also: pith helmet. Gah.
I need to take a pic of this dude sitting across from me
sweet baby jesus on toast
Sidenote: whyyyy are my lips so chapped?
A Lady: Because you have been making out too much with unsavory characters?
D: Nah, sadly. have not made out in LIKE A WEEK
A Lady: Womp womp
D: Ooh maybe sunburned from this weekend
A Lady: Too many ginsicles?
D: (No such thing as too many ginsicles.)
A Lady:

D: OH GOD THAT PHOTOA Lady: Are you impressed? Am v. undercover
D: Ninja-worthy photo skillz
You KNOW that dude eschews Christmas presents every year and just asks for a donation to the World Wildlife Fund.
A Lady: In Ling-Ling, his panda adoptee's, name.
D: YES. And it's not a Christmas gift, it's a "winter holiday donation"
A Lady: God am being catty D: It is too, too easy to be catty in an airport. All those people lined up, just ASKING for snark.
A Lady: Ugh, weather is awful, wish you were here.


naming rights

It is so very unfair: A Lady has a namesake cocktail that’s all delicious and classic, and yet my best shot at imbibing my own eponymous cocktail is to frequent the same bar often enough that the bartender starts referring to a glass of whiskey as a “D”. I feel left out.

A Lady: I'll mixologize a Horst for you, and we can toast with when we meet.

D: Yay! It needs to have gin, whiskey, or champagne, fo' sho'. Otherwise the balance of my humors will be thrown off.

A Lady: Exactly. The Horst it is. I'm thinking some kind of a champagne cocktail? Champagne over muddled blueberries and lemon? Or gin muddled with blueberries and lemon, topped with champagne? Or whiskey with bitters and soda? Or a French lemonade but as follows: juice of half a lemon, 2 oz pisco, served over ice cubes in a highball and topped with soda, with a twist.

D: Oooh, boozy. Very close to a French 75- perhaps some sort of German riff on it, as I am freakishly 100% German, ancestrally?

A Lady: Bärenjäger topped with champagne, with a meyer lemon twist. Notice how I'm insisting on champagne?

Oh, brilliant. Yes, I am using this as an excuse to buy vrai champagne, and be snooty about it. After all, the bartender demands this. And if this means that I must drink those two bottles of cava currently chilling in my fridge to clear out refrigerator real estate to chill that champagne, well, I’m willing to make that extra effort.


la belle dame avec bourbon

Okayokay, my turn. Readers, meet D. You might also know her as Nadarine. For Vicious intents and purposes, we'll call her D. D is fan-fucking-tabulous. She bikes in Potentially Inappropriate Outfits and doesn't give a damn. She knows how to wield a jigsaw (swoon). Her obsession with bacon occasionally concerns vegetarian me, but less for ethical and more for "I want to eat that stoppit" reasons. She fashions chandeliers, ginsicles, and stores her shoes more elegantly than you do. D introduced me to Mint.com and all its attendant guilt, viz., "Mint.com can be a cruel, cruel tyrant. But I DO love that it has a line item for weekly bar spending on my budget and does this without judging me." If you need someone to help you find a more discreet term for "drunk," D's your girl. She lets me harass her constantly, not minding when I text her at all hours about girl woes, girl triumphs, scale crises, and spending malaise.

Maybe, if we're very clever, we can persuade her to come visit me in Philthy. Or, at best, to meet up in New York and run riot. Shouldn't be too hard, no?


Now I shall, in my unprofessional capacity, introduce you all to A Lady. The Abridged Biography goes as such:

A Lady is smarter than you are, and craftier. (Behold: the reupholstered leather couch! Behold: the DIY dress!) She also has hooked me onto baked Cheetos and this lentil-avocado-greek yogurt salad thing she makes, and convinced me to watch the beyond-awful-into-hilarity Star Trek: The Voyage Home. ("But the whales! They'll drown!")*
If I am sending drunken text messages at 3:00 am, odds are that A Lady is the recipient. This is probably not very convenient for her, as she's one hour ahead of me in eastern time. Also, she has fantastically excellent hair.

*Further excerpts from our gchat during this movie:



D: Is that JIM BELUSHI IN THIS MOVIE? Oh wait no, just a random fat guy


Tragically, we have never met. I know. Wrongful, isn't it? In fact, I have no idea what A Lady's voice even sounds like, as our friendship has taken place between blogs and emails and gchat and drunken texts. How very 21st century of us, isn't it? But we swear- we promise! we vow!- that at some point soon we are going to meet up, drink too much scotch (mmmm, scotch), swap trashy novels from the summer reading piles, and compliment each others' shoes. You, dear readers, shall be the virtual witnesses to this quest! But for now: we're going to settle in with our respective cocktails, talk shit about Ayn Rand, and continue to bookmark things that create great joy when purchasing, and great sorrow when checking one's bank account balance.

Go be a dear and freshen up my drink, would you?

without further ado

Why, hello there.
You know what is delicious? Cocktails. Also, gossiping while watching bad movies. And popsicles. Definitely popsicles. Oooh, and nice lipsticks. This is essentially a compilation of Stuff We Like A Whole Lot: tasty, snarky, shiny. Cheers, darlings.