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Posts from October 2004

Whew

It's been another too-busy week, so tonight is my designated night in.  Of course, I have no food in the house, and am trying to save up some money for my vacation, so I get to play pantry chef -- what do I have in the pantry that I can toss together and eat?  Looks like it's going to be a variation of pasta all' amatricana -- tomatoes, bacon, onions, some crushed red pepper.  Not bad, if I do say so myself.

The weekend was a bit of a whirlwind -- starting with a Thursday night visit to Otto with folks from the beach house, the late arrival of my weekend visitor, a fantastic dinner Friday night at Strip House, a beautifully plated, delicious brunch cooked just for me, the Romare Bearden exhibit at the Whitney, a (sadly) rather mediocre dinner at John's Pizza, a party in a spectacular duplex, brunch in Brooklyn with my Dad, stepmom, brother and sister, several naps, and rounded out with another visit to Otto to celebrate Augie & Lauren's return from their honeymoon.

124_2418_r1With no rest, I started the work week with dinner with Dad at Union Square Cafe on Monday, led my self-defense class graduation/open house on Tuesday, and just returned today from a day-long meeting in Albany. 

One of the many highlights of the weekend was our dinner at Strip House, where Rene and his staff gave us the royal treatment.  I had never been before, and was very impressed -- my filet was perfect, and I swooned over the goose fat potatoes with their crisy, flavorful crust.  How can you go wrong with goose fat, really?  And I had more foie gras that night than I have had in the past two years combined: the seared foie gras with peaches and green tomatoes followed by the foie gras meatball.  Rene rounded out the evening by sending out a piece of chocolate cake the size of my head -- we had some difficulty determining whether it was twelve or fourteen layers, but regardless, it was decadent.  Plus, we had leftovers to take home!  Thanks to all for a great weekend, and after some rest tonight, I'll be ready for the rest of the week.


Laren is . . .

I went to the WYSIWYG talent show last week to see Alizinha perform in "Psychos I Have Dated or Worked for (or Both) . . ." She told a great internet dating story, which reminded me of my own psycho internet dating story, but we'll get into that some other time. Chris Hampton, who introduced everyone that evening, used Googlism to create bio paragraphs about each performer. I hadn't heard of Googlisms before, but essentially you type your name into it, and it comes up with a list of sentences about you, based somehow on Google's algorithm. Of course I had to run home and plug in my name. I have to admit that the list that came up paints a fairly accurate description of me:

Laren is nice
Laren is in a better mood another day
Laren is out to kill him
Laren is my friend
Laren is a writer for objectivism today
Laren is situated in an area of great natural beauty in the east of holland
Laren is not the editorial columnist for the new york daily news
Laren is trying to do something about that
Laren is a beautiful young woman
Laren is a shit
Laren is just really bad in group situations
Laren is highly intelligent
Laren is so passionate about what she wanted to do
Laren is thinking about something
Laren is hot
Laren is an original character
and, one of my favorites:
Laren is a restaurant i can recommend to anybody


Choose or Lose

This article on the potential effects of the rollback of Roe v. Wade is a good illustration of why the upcoming election, and the general mindset/ignorance of most of the American public, scares the living shit out of me. Until recently, the Supreme Court was not even raised as an election issue by the candidates, and it is certainly not in the forefront of most voters' minds, but it is clear to me that the composition of the Supreme Court is clearly at stake on November 2nd. The right to choose is, and always has been, my key issue when it comes to voting. Yes, I realize this is somewhat narrow-minded, but that's the way it is. After reading in college about the decades of struggle involved in making abortion safe and legal, I remember distinctly the day that the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision came down. This was one of the decisions that permitted fairly burdensome restrictions on access to abortion, like 24 hour waiting periods and spousal and parental consent provisions. Essentially the Court held that all of the restrictions at issue were constitutional with the exception of the spousal consent provision and further held that the right to an abortion was not "fundamental," as it had been defined in Roe.

I sat on my bed crying out of sheer frustration, realizing that those nine people -- the Justices, sitting up on high -- had the power to determine whether or not I, or others like me, would have access to a safe, legal abortion if I wanted to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. I realized that they had the power to determine many things about my life, which is ultimately what piqued my interest enough to send me off to law school in the first place, but their ability to impact my reproductive freedom, or lack thereof, was devastating to me.

I spent the one summer in college and a year after I graduated working in a social service organization in Boston that offered, among other health services, abortions. I walked past protesters three days a week at the clinic around the corner from my apartment, my teeth clenched, wanting to scream at them to leave these poor women alone -- they were having a difficult enough time without being called murderers as they tried to walk into the clinic. I went to law school with hopes that I would someday run Planned Parenthood. And although my career path has shifted, my convictions have not. To me, this election is not primarily about terrorism, or even the war in Iraq, but about our day-to-day lives, the role that government can and should play in improving our society, and the impact that a more conservative court could have on the rights and freedoms to which we have grown accustomed.

BsipcvI'm no activist. Never have been. But I decided that given the issues at stake here, I might as well put my law degree to some practical use. I just signed up to monitor the integrity of the upcoming election through the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Program. For all you lawyer types out there, it's easy. They provide you with training on how to staff a hotline; I'll be working a five-hour shift on November 1st or 2nd. It's the very least I can do. I am constantly impressed that people I know from all areas of my life are making the extra effort this time around -- what are you doing? Send a donation, go to a swing state, participate in a phone bank, convince someone to vote, just do something. Our future is at stake.


Ah . . . Fall

123_2388_1

So last weekend was our 8th annual OJ, and like others before it, this one was filled with friends, food, wine, and junior high potty humor.  Unlike past years, however, we were in a super-duper-kickass house in Vermont, thanks to the hard work of our man Sco.  We all plan to chip in so that we can ultimately buy it. 

Highlights included:

  • Leg of lamb stuffed with wild mushrooms and greens and "OJ Potatoes" by John (and his assistants, for when he was, um, indisposed)
  • Delicious desserts by Doug, including deep dish apple pie with a cheddar crumb crust, strawberry struessel cake, and pumpkin spice cake shaped like a pumpkin123_2391_r1
  • Squash risotto adapted from this dreamy fall recipe (in veggie and decidedly non-veggie, i.e., with bacon, versions) by yours truly (thanks to Katie from the beach house for this one)
  • bacon with just about every meal
  • wine, wine, and more wine
  • soup, soup, and more soup
  • beautiful foliage
  • punkins!
  • "look at the pretty!"
  • "Lever 2000 Fuckface - ask for it by name"
    and, of course,
    "P.S. -- doody." 

    You can find the pictures here.



  • Welcome to the Working Week*

    123_2371_r1Back from a completely relaxing weekend in Kismet. Not as many pictures, or as many people as last time, but once again, I am so happy that I got a chance to escape a bit this weekend. I even got in a beach day -- yes, the weather cooperated enough for us to have a beach day in October. Fantastic. I met a new batch of people, who were all interesting, smart, fun, and had a shared passion for food. We had several amazing feasts, including a squash, chestnut, bacon and sage risotto that was perfect for fall, and a leg of lamb, infused with garlic, thyme, and rosemary, done on the rotisserie (damn, I need one of those), and talked everything from politics to our first music purchases (for the record, my first two 45's were "I Will Survive" and "We Are Family"). Strangely enough, the five of us had a number of "NYC small world" coincidences, including sharing former employers, knowing various people in common, and being kick-ass Scrabble players. Oh wait, that wasn't me. Argh. Note to self -- must improve vocabulary before next Scrabble tournament.

    Thanks to John for being an extraordinarily welcoming host -- for giving me a ride and letting me stray in, even as an "outsider," and he gets extra bonus points for introducing me to my new favorite cocktail, the sidecar, which I believe is long overdue for a comeback. It was wonderful to meet you as well, Jenn, Jay & Katie -- hope to meet up with you soon, perhaps at my neighborhood joint.

    You can see the photos here. I particularly like the fact that I was able to capture one of the alien deer that lurk about the island (yes, I know it's the flash, but humor me, dammit):

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    * A tribute, of course, to my boy Elvis. Costello, that is.