Ernest Hemingway:

As Ernest Hemingway once said...
'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'

Friday, June 29, 2007

party like it's your birfday

Yesterday was my birthday. Yes, the big 3-0. No, I don't feel any different (does anyone on any birthday?). My sisters and brother-in-law decided to fork my yard in the shape of a big '30' with an exclamation point, which was funny when I saw it the next morning. The neighbor kid across the street told Q the forks looked like graves. They did.

It was a nice day. I went to lunch with friends from work, got some nice gifts (including a gift cert to one of my favorite places, Square One), and, best of all, got to spend the afternoon/evening at the hospital while my sister underwent an emergency appendectomy. Karma for the forks/graves, perhaps?

I did get to go to dinner at a yummy Mexican place near the hospital and got a good margarita while we waited for her in recovery. So that was nice. It was funny - after she went to her room and was all drugged up and cottonmouth, balancing a barf tray on her chest, she said she wanted to hear about my birthday. I told her she was looking at it! Really though, I'm just glad she's okay. Word of warning - when your stomach feels like it's going to explode, go to the ER. It might be about to do just that.

As my mother said last night - at least it'll be a birthday I won't forget.

Monday, June 25, 2007

six years and beer

On Saturday Q and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary in true 'us' style. Before eating dinner at Kobe Japanese Grill in Westport (a tradition as this is where we ate the night of our wedding, though it was Robata's then) we went to tour the O'Fallon Brewery.

O'Fallon is a small microbrewery in, you guessed it, O'Fallon, Missouri. It's actually a small pre-fab building buried in some industrial park off the highway. But when you walk in the first thing that hits you is the smell of brewing beer...possibly one of the best smells in the entire world. The tour is actually given by one of the co-owners, Fran. She and her husband own the brewery and call themselves co-owners - so cute.

Anyway, you actually get to see how the beer is made, though Q and I already know a lot about that from brewing our own. But it's cool to see how a small brewery does the same thing we do on a larger scale, but not as mammoth as Anheuser Busch. Plus we got to ask questions, taste the malt, see how they bottle, and sample each of their beers plus a few seasonal beers. Yum. I highly recommend the pumpkin beer when it's available in September. I don't usually like pumpkin beers, but this one is subtle. When the beer hits your tongue you taste a bit of pumpkin, then after you swallow you're left with cinnamon. Delicious. And we got to talk to one of the brewers who explained the process of making cask ale, and told us their cask ale is available at the Iron Barley, one of our favorite restaurants. I can't wait to try it.

It was a lot of fun. I highly recommend going there and doing the tour. The Anheuser tour is fun, of course, and it's cool to see some of the insides of a huge brewery, but this one is so neat because you have the opportunity to really see and understand how beer is made and actually talk to the people who make it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the horror


Q and I watched Babel last night. I was excited to see it, especially after it won so many awards. I should know better by now. What a horribly depressing and sad movie. It was well acted, I suppose, and well done, but crap - talk about getting smacked in the face left and right with sad. There wasn't a moment where I wasn't wondering what horrible thing was going to happen next, or that I could even sit and relax and watch the movie - I was tense the entire time.

I just don't find that enjoyable anymore. I don't handle very well movies that deal with such tragedy. To watch the Mexican woman in such pain over not being able to see the kids, kids she's probably had more of a hand in raising than their own parents, was borderline unbearable. I almost got up and walked out (of my own living room) during the scene in the police station. Not so bad on it's own, I suppose, but after she was forced to leave that adorable boy in tears and his sister half dead under a tree in the desert, it was too much.

And the little boy being killed in the desert. Shit. That was awful. I kept waiting for the police to shoot the youngest one as he surrendered. The movie did end on a somewhat positive note, I suppose, for the Asian and American families, but even so. Life for them will never be the same.

I think I have such a hard time with movies like this because they're so real. I somehow internalize what's happening, and it literally makes me sick to my stomach to imagine that happening to me or my loved ones. It's just too painful to watch. I wonder afterwards, why did I sit there for well over 2 hours feeling tense and depressed? I do that for 9 at work every day for the love. That's enough for me.

I know there's probably some deeper meaning that I missed, some political spin, but to be honest, I don't care to think about it any more than I already have. If only all movies could be as great as Knocked Up - oh Judd Apatow, how you've spoiled my movie and TV watching experiences.

Friday, June 15, 2007

my dad

Sunday is Father's day. In the spirit of the times, I decided to write about a few of my favorite memories of my dad.

My dad was the sole bread winner in our family, which meant he worked a lot. So the times we shared with him were special. My mom dealt with us (my little sister and I) all day long, so pawning us off on Dad on his day off was a welcome change for her I'm sure. I remember Dad taking us (me and Cootie) to Wet Willy's, the coolest water slides of all time. The slides still exist (though are horribly run down) in Fenton, right at the intersection of 141 and 44, on that huge hill above the Steak 'n Shake. There were three slides (or two? I can't remember), and you went down them on a raft of some sort, and it was most fun to see how much weight you could pack on the raft to go as fast as possible. We'd go down, get out, run up the countless stairs, and repeat over and over until our little bodies couldn't take it anymore. We loved it.

Dad took us first to Naugles, the old taco joint (which I think has subsequently morphed into Del Taco, but I could be wrong), which seems now like a bad idea (tacos then waterslides?), but we loved it. Mom doesn't eat mexican, so for Cootie and I this was a special treat. Then we'd head down to the park, pay our money, and slide like banshees. We'd take turns going alone, or going with Dad, or just us girls. Cootie and I would go first, then wait excitedly at the bottom for Dad to fly out of the slide like a bullet into the pool below, always with a huge smile on his face. I remember Cootie and I being so excited about the prospect of spending the day with Dad. We always had fun.

Another favorite memory is waiting for Dad to come home from work. Cootie and I would hear the garage door open, and we'd take our usual places just behind the utility room (or junk room, as we called it) door and wait. Dad would close the garage door, come in through the heavy outside door, and we'd wait for him to emerge from the junk room then shout 'Surprise!' He acted surprised every time. Of course he knew we'd be there, but that didn't matter. His reaction kept us doing it time and time again. I remember so well the feel and smell of his trademark suits against my cheek whenever we hugged him afterwards.

My dad is a special guy, and I hope he has a great day on Sunday.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

thoughts on plastic

This is a picture of a sea turtle nearly cut in half by plastic. His body has literally grown around it. This is what's happening with our plastic products nowadays - they're wreaking havoc in the sea, on land, and everywhere, and not just to animals, but to us as well.

This is from a great article called 'Plastic Ocean' in Best Life Magazine. Plastic never goes away. Every ounce we manufacture is here to stay. And recycling doesn't even help much since only 3%-5% of plastic is ever recycled, and it's actually much cheaper to make new than to recycle it, and everyone knows our big companies are out to make a buck and not to worry about how they might impact the world.

And there's no telling how it effects our food and our bodies. Studies have linked it to cancer (I know, like everything else, even delicious barbecue char) and even the obesity epidemic. Scary.

So read this article and think about it when you're out shopping. When you make your next purchase take it without a bag. Even more importantly, think about it at the grocery. Think about all the foods that come packaged in plastic, and about what alternatives might exist. Think about the environmental footprint you want to leave behind. Get your produce without the plastic bag. Opt for paper at the check out line. It's actually easy to find products packaged without plastic if you take an extra minute to look, and I think you'll find these products usually are of better quality and taste better. It's worth spending an extra quarter or so.

Also consider what you put into your trash can. Could it someday cause a world of pain and suffering to an animal? Take the time to cut your milk rings, or six-pack rings. One thoughtless toss into the can could change the life of an animal forever. Or in the case of the ocean, can produce more plastic than plankton for the fish to eat. If we're all a tiny bit more aware of how our actions can impact the entire world it'd make a ton of difference.

I'll leave you with this last picture, taken by Gregg Segal, a man who has dedicated his life to spreading the word about what we're doing to our oceans and animals. Our seabirds are eating things like lighters, tampon applicators, and bottle caps, and each and every one of us is partly to blame.

Monday, June 04, 2007

a very long year and a half

CNN apparently has changed their site to include a banner that says 'CNN ELECTION CENTER 2008' across the top. Are they seriously going to leave that up for a year and a half? That's ridiculous. Talk about extreme overkill. I'll probably have to change my homepage now. It'll annoy me too much.

Q and I went to the Tower Grove Farmers' Market on Saturday. We got some yummy bratwursts and pork steaks. They were more than we'd spend at the store (if we actually bought meat at the store), but it was well worth it. Not only are we getting good quality, hormone free meat, but it's raised by local farmers. A win-win situation. They had lots of other great things too, like cheese, lots of different lettuces, and even bison. Very cool. We're definitely going to go back. And the new grocery store, Local Harvest, opens up on Friday, so I can't wait to go.

We also made another batch of beer, this time an English brown ale. It'll be ready just in time for our annual trip to the lake over the fourth. It's bubbling away, which it did with the second batch but not so much with the first, so here's to hoping it turns out good. I'm sure it will. Now if July 3rd would just hurry up and get here, that'd be great. A whole 4 days at the lake, not including drive time. Fantastic.