Category Archives: Javy

Ode to Jonathan on His 30th Birthday

Oh, my beloved Jonathan, you’re one of my favorite people and when you turn 30 it’s a really big deal; but what can I do to honor you and accurately portray how I feel?

I wish I could have hopped on a plane to see you in Atlanta for the real celebration; but, sadly, I’m broke and we live in entirely different parts of this great nation.

So, stuck in Brooklyn, I pondered, “What’s a girl to do?”; and that’s when I realized my only choice was to compose an ode to you…:

We didn’t have much time together in high school before we graduated in 1998; but we kept in touch — even though we went to college far, far apart — which surely must have been FATE.

I have fond memories of the 69 Boyz blaring from Javy, which is what you named your car; and you said it hurt your heart when pictures of me surfaced at a Florida Gators bar.

(I swear I didn’t know they were playing UGA that day!; I had a homesick friend from Florida, but felt like a traitor and wouldn’t have otherwise been compelled to stay!)

You were mesmerized by the Wall of Lisa in Auntie Leslie’s hall; and a waiter called me “jailbait” when I was dining at Chevy’s with y’all. (…that’s you and Katie…)

You listened to me freak out in a parking lot when a teetotaler caught me with a bottle of wine; and you helped me unearth a pink bikini in Miami that — shockingly — looked fine.

You were my date to a wedding when there wasn’t a straight boy in sight; and then I bowled barefoot and passed out on you in the car home that night.

My own father joked (to you!) that I’d have to be tackled and sedated on *my* wedding day; and, if anybody understands what that truly means, it’s you, my friend who’s gay. (I’m sorry! Bad rhyme!)

Bring it On always makes me think of you; and one of my favorite text messages of all time was when you wrote, “Wisconsin smells like poo.”

You’ll always be my buddy Jenelope; even though (or directly because?) you’ve never big-worded me.

So here’s to another decade I know will see you in good stead; Love — one of your biggest fans! — LaFred.

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Filed under baseball, birthdays, Javy

Sad(der) Lisa and the Case of the Missing Books

I’ll preface this by saying I know everyone is sick to death of hearing about the Bartender. And I know I need to figure out a way to finally, officially let go and move on with my life. And — other than the fact that his bar is right around the corner from where I live and I have to walk by it/him virtually every day — I don’t know why it’s over two months later and I’m still struggling. I guess part of it is that it was the first time I really thought I was on to something good in a long, long time…and he’s somebody I care about. A lot. It’s hard for me to just turn that off and pretend it never happened.

But…I bring him up again — for what I will (try to) promise will be the last time — for two reasons: (1) It always makes me feel better to write things out; and (2) I have found no one really gives a hoot when I blog about food anyway.

My oldest childhood friend will be here tomorrow…and we have several days to pal around in New York before Costa Rica on Thursday…and I am hopeful I will return from this adventure with a new lease on life. Maybe we can perform some sort of ritualistic exorcism that will make me forget he exists. And/or maybe the guy who cut my hair was right and in another week, my life will change forever — even on the man-front.

Until then, I will write, I guess.

There were MANY things the Bartender and I did not have in common. Politics was one of them. He claimed to be a Republican…but I think he was much more moderate than he let on. Let’s face it — I have pretty strong opinions about woman-y things and I really couldn’t stand to be around somebody who told me I should be seen and not heard and the like. Granted, he had a McCain/Palin poster in his apartment, but I think part of his conservative fervor was also that he wanted to set himself up as a counterpoint to the young, urban, liberal hipster archetype.

The Bartender was also very opinionated and liked to talk a lot. In fact, once he told me on my little red couch that he liked our conversations because we didn’t argue — we had friendly debates that made him think about things in new ways. (But I will have to watch myself when it comes to making comments like that or I’m going to get nostalgic.)

And…one of my J-school professors is really into social justice-y topics and wrote a book called, “Denison, Iowa,” on — you guessed it — a year in the life of this Midwestern town. I’m not Amazon, so this may not be an entirely accurate recollection, but, basically…my memory of it is that Denison‘s claim to fame is that it’s the birthplace of Donna Reed and so for many, many years it was this wholesome, traditional Midwestern town with wholesome, traditional Midwestern people and wholesome, traditional Midwestern values…and then a bunch of meatpacking plants popped up and immigrants started moving there for jobs and the social dynamics of the town changed considerably. So…my professor spent a year living there during this period of flux and sort of sat back and watched all these changes and the related drama. He illustrated it all with a number of characters in town like the young Latino guy who wanted to start his own business — and so there was all this intrigue about whether he would qualify for the loan in the end…and there was, like, a retired schoolteacher who had lived in Denison her entire life and who started teaching English classes at night…and there was also, like, the crooked cop who hated everyone who wasn’t white. That’s basically the gist.

And so — because the Bartender and I were allegedly on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I was curious what he’d think about this book. So…I let him borrow it. But…when I gave it to him, I said, “My professor wrote this, so I’d really like it back…” and then, half-jokingly, I added, “So, you know, if anything happens while you’re reading this and you decide you hate me and never want to see me again, will you please just, like, leave it in my mailbox or something? I really want it back.” And, of course, he looked at me with a big frowny face and said, “Nooo! That’s not going to happen! You worry too much!”

But sometimes the worrier is right and — sure enough — something happened and he decided that he hates me and never wants to see me again. But not before I let him borrow yet another book…which I’ve been saying is one of my favorites, but I’m not positive that’s entirely true. I just like it a lot and would like it back, too. And you’d better believe that even in the middle of our hours-long, tear-filled, “I don’t understand why you ‘can’t'”-goodbye, I let him know that I wanted those books back. He promised he’d get them to me. That was August 20.

I sent a reminder or two. Nothing.

Then…there was the whole end-of-birthday debacle in September.

So. I decided I would give him a good month-long cushion of no Lisa and then I would make one final plea for those books.

And — this is how crazy I am — both our final fight and my birthday are even-numbered days, so I thought, “Maybe if I wait until an odd day, I’ll have better luck!” Plus, November 5 is Javier Lopez‘s birthday and I figured I could, like, channel Javy for strength.

But before I actually had a chance to send him anything that day, lo and behold, I was on my way to meet the Greeting Card Emergency guy and I saw a man walking towards me with a Yankees hat and a cigarette and I thought, “Ohmygod, is that the Bartender?” and then he adjusted his backpack and I realized that, yes, it *was* him and so I got out my phone, but I had no new messages and then we passed by each other and had an eight-word conversation — “How are you?” “Fine. You?” “Fine.” “Books?” “Okay.” — and I turned the corner and my legs turned to jelly and I hyperventilated a little.

I got a new phone post-Bartender and his number is not in it. I had all these messages from him on the old one that I couldn’t bear to delete, but…my memory was full and so every time I’d get a new message it would say, “Memory Low! Delete messages now!” and I would say, “I don’t want to delete any messages!” and so my solution was to just get a new phone. No messages from him in there. No reminders of him.

But I still have that old phone. So…I figured there was no harm in retrieving his number and using the “use once” feature to send a message to that 347-number that I cannot save again. It was perfectly friendly — just to acknowledge that we’d seen each other and it was fine and — I know this is beating a dead horse, but — I’d really appreciate getting those books back.

So, later that very same day, I wrote him something along the lines of…”Hey — I hate to be a pain, but my professor wrote one of those books and the other is one of my favorites and it would mean a lot if I could get them back.” And that’s probably all a normal person would write, but I went on to say that besides making me really happy, I would imagine getting rid of the books would be cathartic and then he’d be free of it all and wouldn’t have any reminders of anything unhappy…and I said that I hoped all was well and that I seriously meant it because I never wanted anything but the best for him…and to prove that very point, I told him how happy I was that Pettitte pitched such a good game and that Matsui hit so well and the Yankees won, in part because I knew how happy it must have made him.

No response. No books.

So…I waited for another odd-numbered day (I hope I do not get, like, institutionalized for admitting that) and sent another message: “Please, T, please? Those books? I’m leaving the country on Thursday. Can I have them back before then?” (If I have to go pick them up at his bar, it would be great to have my oldest childhood friend there with me to figuratively hold my hand…)

But, again, nothing. Radio silence.

And, okay, I guess I have a reputation for being a clingy girl and understand that maybe he’s worried that responding will only fuel the fire and it’s easier to just press “delete” and pretend it never happened. But…it seems to me that the nice thing to do would be to say, “Okay,” or “Sure,” or SOMETHING — even leaving the books in my mailbox in the dark of night. After all, he gets off work at 4:00 AM on the weekends…

And I know I threw a lot of crazy his way, but I was also really good to him — I dropped off pie on National Pie Day because he had to work and couldn’t come to my celebration and I made him cheesecake and planned an elaborate dinner (with meat!) when he was hurt and out of work and poor and sick of eating rice and beans…and I sent him postcards from all of my travels this summer and I spent a small fortune on Yankees tickets for his birthday because he turned 30 and I wanted to do something big and because he hadn’t been to the new stadium and I wanted him to see it. And, you know, I did those things because I care about him and wanted to make him happy, not for future leverage in case I didn’t get my books back…and I was really happy to have somebody to care about and to be able to do those things for, you know? But I don’t understand how it could have devolved into this. My worst nightmare is someone saying, “I can’t love you,” and walking out the door and disappearing forever…and that’s exactly what happened.

I’m not holding out hope he’s going to knock on my freakishly small door and say, “I made a huge mistake!” But it seems pretty rotten to me to just ignore me. I could understand if I was texting him with, “I miss you! Please take me back!” or “Screw you, you manwhore! And give me back my goddamn books!”

But I’m not. I’m trying to be civil…and since I was the one who was so horribly hurt in this escapade, I thought being friendly and nice now would be kind of olive-branch-y, you know? Like, saying, “Yes, I know I was a huge mess the last time you saw me, but I’m basically okay now!”

So…last night, I was debating what to do…and then I got a call from an old coworker saying, “Hey! I just had dinner in your neighborhood — are you around?” So…I met him around the corner from my apartment and he said, “Where should we go?” and I said, “Anywhere but here!” and nodded toward the Bartender’s place. So…we walked up the street to another place…and we talked and caught up and drank…and he really likes my stories, so he always laughs and tells me how funny I am (last time he praised my comic timing — how about that??)…and I hadn’t seen him in awhile, so it was really nice. And…I don’t know how many beers later, I was telling him about trying to get my books back and we had already been out for a good, long time, so we were getting ready to leave…and as I was pointing him to the Subway, the neon lights at the Bartender’s bar shone brightly in the distance and I got all nostalgic and my old coworker said, “We should go in and have one last drink there!” and I said, “Oh, I don’t know…bad things happen when I go into that place…” and he said, “Come on — it’ll be good for you. And I’ll talk to him! I’ll help you get your books back!” And whenever I’m willing to go there, I should always remember that it means I am in no shape to be making decisions like that. But I agreed to go.

It wasn’t particularly crowded…so we were able to get two seats at the bar. The Bartender was behind the bar, but he wouldn’t have anything to do with me. He’s a pretty jealous guy…and, in hindsight, I realized I’ve always gone in there with girlfriends…and so I guess it could have looked like I was on a date or something and that I was rubbing it in his face.

He was wearing a Yankees World Series sweatshirt…so — see? I was right. He *was* really excited. And his stupid boss came out at one point and saw me there and was LOVING the fact that I was there with some guy and that the Bartender wouldn’t acknowledge me.

And, really, I’ve made a complete fool of myself at that place SO MANY times because of him. So they’ve  probably come to expect it of me. And, really, comparatively speaking, this time wasn’t that bad. I didn’t talk to the Bartender. But my old coworker did. And he came back to me and said, “You’ll get your books on Monday. But we should probably go now.”

And then I wanted to know what my old coworker had said and what the Bartender had said…and my old coworker was saying that, you know, he’s no good and I need to move on…blah, blah…and somehow I ended up crying on the sidewalk outside again and blathering on about how I don’t understand how you can just throw somebody away…and that he was always so good with my cat and that even when the little monster bit him, he’d be so patient and kind and call them “love bites,” and I feel like I’m depriving my cat of a father figure now…(see how much sense I was making?)

I’m very stubborn. I need to just accept that I’m never going to understand this and that I’ve already wasted too much energy trying to figure it out. And, I mean, some good came out of the Bartender situation — I was finally able to look at my life and what I actually have control over and realized how important it is to me to finish my book…and I’m so close! I’m almost there! And I know my poor little heart can’t go through something like this again…so next time I have to be really, really careful and — like my friend says — protect it.

I just feel a little more sad than usual today about the whole situation. And it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t get these books back. But I don’t understand why things are the way that they are…and how caring about him became this horrible, unforgivable thing…for which I have now been banned from his life.

So…even after that makeover, I’m not sure if I really am New Lisa after all. I am hoping that Costa Rica and my oldest childhood friend will change that. (And, if nothing else, I will try to find solace in knowing that my hair looked damn good last night.)

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Filed under Alaska, baseball, birthdays, books, Brooklyn, cheesecake, feminism, Iowa, Javy, Palin, pie

Freelancers = Cheap Cows?

Okay, I’m probably going to get myself into a lot of trouble for this, but…as I sat in my little Brooklyn studio this morning, ever the diligent worker bee for a number of different outlets, I couldn’t help but think of the age-old adage, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

That’s kind of how I feel about my career these days. And I guess it’s not a *completely* accurate analogy as I’m not writing for free, but, I mean, think about it: The milk is cheaper.

And I’m not sure if it’s a function of the economy and that it’s REALLY that there are TONS of places out there that would love to hire me full-time if only they could (but they just got out of a serious relationship? And are just not in the right place right now? And are incapable/unable to give me what I want/need? Or have had plenty of long-lasting, meaningful relationships with writers who are comfortable with non-exclusivity?)…OR…if it’s really that these places like to get together every once in awhile but are really not looking for anything serious…and are happy to string me along as long as they possibly can until the next poor chump comes along.

And, I mean, who are we kidding? A girl’s gotta pay her rent and a girl’s gotta eat, so…until Nora Ephron turns my book into a screenplay (or Mr. Wonderfulpants falls from the sky), I don’t really have a choice. But it did sort of hit me…in a kind of Carrie Bradshaw-esque voiceover with a closeup of typing across a Mac screen: Are freelancers the trollops of the media industry?

I don’t have a ton of time to expound upon this right this red, hot minute (as noted above — I’m a working girl!), but I feel like the past couple of days have been full of epiphanies and whatnot, so let’s maybe push a giant metaphorical pause button and revisit this after my deadline?

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Filed under baseball, feminism, Javy

Pie News: #4, Sniffing Around, Scary Crocs, BS Down Under, REALLY Fresh Breath, Sex on Skates, & Flying In for Some Crab Cakes

Hi! I’m back! More Pie News! *Slightly* dated, but still totally worth it.

First up: Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize gay marriage. So…surely some wedding pies are in order! Taste of Home — which the aunt-who-taught-me-everything-I-know-about-pie-baking says is gospel in the Midwest…(and *that* is perhaps apropos with Iowa’s recent change of heart as well) — suggests Bride’s Peach Pie for those who aren’t that into cake (or, I suppose, who are *really* into pie). Or! You could go with something slightly more exotic like Hawaiian Wedding Pie. Just think! It could taste like you are already on your honeymoon while you’re still at your reception!

And…a recent study finds that women have a better sense of smell than men do. (Insert obvious feminist joke here…) It goes on to say that this helps them find mates, etc., etc. So…what better way to acknowledge femalekind’s evolutionary gift than with a pie with harmonizing flavors (since superior sniffing is supposed to help women find, ahem, complementary partners)…like this Black and Blueberry Pie? (And…perhaps all the single ladies still out there can *make* one and it will help them get a ring on it?)

Bad segue, but…dying alone isn’t the only fear making headlines this week! A surge in the crocodile population has some South Florida residents concerned as well. If *you* are scared to go out, why not stay indoors and make Florida Pie? I hear it’s like key lime pie, but with coconut!

And…shifting gears from real animals to mythical ones: Our favorite pop tart continues her rise like a proverbial phoenix and may take her tour to Australia. To help her adjust to the way of life Down Under (don’t the toilets flush the other way?) I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest something I’ve never done before — a savory pie: Australian Meat Pie.

In other celeb news, not only did Javy Lopez‘s (two links!) former team beat the Yankees on Monday, they did so handily. Who knew birds could be that tough? “Never fear!” says one Cajun cooking website. You can actually make make Black Bird Pie with REAL birds if you want *and* you won’t have to worry about tenderness as long as you cook them long enough.

And…in odder news, in Germany, police are on the lookout for a man who tried to steal 68 tubes of toothpaste from a supermarket. A man willing to go to such lengths for dental hygiene deserves a one-of-a-kind pie! How about Guy Fieri‘s Breath Mint Pie?

And because no one cares about women’s sports and that is sad, I would like to point out that the Universities of Connecticut and Louisville were battling it out in the women’s national championship game last night (U-Conn won). And since I played basketball in Mississippi (or, rather, since I was on the team in ‘Sippi), why not make a Mississippi Mud Pie on behalf of female basketball players everywhere? Epicurious surprised me — it only has Mississippi Mud Cake…which got me thinking. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of Mississippi Mud as cake before…the phrase has always been followed by “Pie” in my head. Thankfully, FoodNetwork.com has a recipe: Mississippi Mud Pie.

And…speaking of lesser known parts of the globe, Wasilla, Alaska’s Levi Johnston appeared on Tyra (“Tyra mail!”) to tell his side of the preggers teen story and the Palin camp ain’t pleased. So, let’s throw another savory pie into the mix with some Alaska Salmon Pie (Aww…the Riverboat Discovery…) as we ponder what’s next for the guy New York mag called “Sex on Skates.”

And…speaking of not-so-far-off places, Southwest Airlines says it will begin service between LaGuardia and Chicago and Baltimore. So, while planning your next quick getaway from New York, why not prepare Southwest Zucchini Pie? (Just don’t drink too much.)

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Filed under Alaska, baseball, feminism, Food Network, Javy, Mississippi, Palin, pie, Sonoma County

Things I L-O-V-E on this Nauseating Day

Getting into my positive Valentine’s spirit, a list of random (mostly inanimate) things, in no particular order:

Javier Lopez
Burt’s Bees
Pyrex
Coffee
Pie
Greeting cards
The Gap
Chevys
Picture frames and throw pillows
Stella Artois (but not the stupid goblet they serve it in sometimes)
(…or PBR if I’m with another one of my favorite things)
Cats (any single women jokes and I will hire someone to bust your kneecaps)
London
Yankee candles
Giant purses
Lilies (or lilacs or hyacinths or jasmine…)
Refrigerator magnets
Listening to Hannah Montana (with my niece!)
Bon Appetit & Gourmet
FreshDirect (sometimes)
My apartment!

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Filed under Javy, pie

The Grandaddy of Mixers, A Deadly Orange Meatloaf, & Ruminations on Sports Allegiances

Well, it wasn’t *quite* as joyous as, say, the bundles that Christina and Nicole brought home this weekend, but…I finally joined the ranks of the KitchenAid mixer elite…(which is perhaps roughly equivalent in certain circles).

Yes, it’s true — I finally settled on a color. (Sorry, Anonymous…I did Empire Red. It matches a lot of the stuff I already have!) And as I was leaving the store with Big Red in tow, I was certain I was getting knowing glances from shoppers recalling when *they* first brought home *their* mixers.

Some of them just smiled…but others said things like, “I love mine!” and I felt kind of like I had joined a special foodie club.

I’d like to say that the inaugural run was something truly spectacular…but I was actually expecting to be snowed in today and was huntin‘ for some good, old fashioned comfort food when I came across a Paula Deen meatloaf recipe that is too embarrassing to name specifically. But maybe if I paraphrase her “I’m not your dietitian, I’m your cook”-quote, you’ll understand that this was one crazy meatloaf and I might actually have a heart attack and drop dead any minute now.

I also don’t know if it was the mixer (or maybe I was caught between the moon and New York City?), but I felt rather daring and didn’t follow the recipe to a T.

First off, I couldn’t find a can of fried onions. (Do they make them anymore??) But…it seems like every recipe I ever make always starts out with sauteing onions and garlic, so that’s what I did.

I also didn’t use mayo because I don’t really *like* mayo (my sister, who is the exact opposite of me in sooo many respects, liked it so much when she was little that she could eat it out of the jar with a spoon).

I also added a crapload of carrots and parsnips because I got to take some home from work the other day and I didn’t really know what to do with parsnips (despite the helpful winter veg section in Bon Appetit this month) and I wanted to test out Mrs. Seinfeld’s sneaky veg theory. There has to be something to the whole “Deceptively Delicious” (and the book that sued it) concept as I couldn’t tell there were parsnips *or* carrots in there…although my meatloaf was incredibly orange which made it rather difficult to tell when to remove it from the oven (Paula suggests to do so “when the meat is no longer pink”).

I was sort of watching the Giants game while all of this was going on…and for some reason I feel a certain allegiance to them. I’m not sure if this means that I’m becoming more of a New Yorker or if it’s because I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog. A friend IMed me during the game to ask the score and I told him that Dallas was up and he said, “Oh, good! You’re a Dallas fan, right?”

I asked him he would think that. His logic? Because Dallas is close to Sippi. I then explained that Atlanta, New Orleans and Tennessee are *also* close to ‘Sippi. Plus, I don’t have very strong ties to Mississippi anymore…and my sports allegiances are kinda screwy anyway. (Javy! Javy!)

I am a little nervous about next weekend’s game though. My family bleeds green and yellow. Although, then again, I suppose Eli & Co. could inadvertently avenge the Bruins in the ’99 and ’00 Rose Bowls (when UCLA lost to Wisconsin and my family rejoiced). It’s kind of funny — I had a Super Bowl “party” last year and everyone in attendance was rooting for the Bears and I felt sorry for the Colts, so I adopted mock affection of Peyton for a single night…and look what happened!

Although, then again, I suppose Wisconsin’s part of my life whether I like it or not…once upon a time, I had a cheesehead.

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Filed under appliances, cheese, entrees, Javy

Hey! Look what I found!

Remember when Javy rejoined the Braves on December 17 and I was really excited and I was looking for the photo from the Christmas in Atlanta when I gave my cousins and my sister Javier Lopez t-shirts? Well…I was cleaning my apartment today and found it on top of my refrigerator! I’m not *quite* sure what it was doing up there…unless I was planning to put it on my fridge and it either fell down or I just didn’t have enough magnets and I left it up there for safekeeping and forgot about it. But…all’s well that ends well, eh? And here it is! Look how young we look!

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