Category Archives: Humor

The waffle iron

Last night before bed, O asked me if I’d get up early and make waffles before school. Waffles are a weekend ritual around here; I have made them so many times that I don’t need a recipe and can pretty much eyeball the ingredients without measuring tools. O was giving me his Big Blue Eyes look when he asked, so of course I said I’d jump out of my warm bed a little early so he could be sent off to school with Mom’s good cooking in his tummy.

I go to bed before anyone else around here. As I was saying my goodnights last night, I noticed the smell of meat coming from our kitchen. Not surprising since my husband likes to eat late. What was a surprising was that he was cooking hamburger in our waffle iron. Or, I should say, he’d attempted to cook hamburger in our waffle iron. I say “our” waffle iron because it was a wedding gift we received from our friends Chris and Melanie seventeen years ago, a gift that we’ve often remarked has been the most-used wedding gift in our household.

I bit my tongue as I watched my husband (sheepish expression on his face) chisel bits of burger out of the iron. Then I said goodnight, too tired to observe his cooking escapades any longer.

So…I get up this morning, eager to make my son happy, and bounce into the kitchen. The waffle iron is still out and looks surprisingly clean. I plug the appliance in to heat up while I gather ingredients, and that’s when I smell … meat. Then I hear sizzling coming from the iron, which I can only assume is sizzling meat.

Undaunted, I smooth waffle batter over the heated iron and tell myself I’ll do what Julia Child used to do with her first crêpe of her batch … toss it out. I’m confident this first waffle will absorb any beefy flavor leftover on the iron, and the remaining waffles will be fine.

Except, as you can see, they weren’t.

The timer went off and as I lifted the top of the iron up, the waffle pulled in half. Normally the waffles just slip out of the iron as easily as silk slips across skin. But not this morning. I reached for silicone tongs, hoping that a little force would help the remnants un-adhere. No dice.

My son walks out into the kitchen, takes one look at the mess, and says, “Oh, Dad was trying to get the hamburger out with steel wool last night.”

As my friend Gwen said after seeing the picture above and hearing how my husband attempted to clean the iron, “Well, who doesn’t like waffles with old hamburger, bits of steel wool, and Teflon dust in them? Maple syrup is for the weak.”

I’ve left the waffle iron on the counter, waffle still adhered, with a note that says, “Please order a new waffle maker AND a George Foreman Grill.”

I’m beginning to think there’s something to this whole “Mercury is in retrograde” business everyone’s talking about.

 

 

Hello Ladies

hello_ladiesI was thrilled to read the first positive review of HBO’s “Hello Ladies” this morning. Dade Hayes, a columnist for Forbes.com, writes, “Over the winding course of its flinty, eight-episode run, the show has blossomed, becoming at once antic and deeply felt, an unusual mix of sharp wit and melancholy.”

At last, a critic gets it!

If you haven’t seen the show, it’s the brainchild of Stephen Merchant, a frequent collaborator with Ricky Gervais. (He was Gervais’s sidekick in this hilarious skit with Liam Neeson I wrote about here last year.) Merchant plays the lead, a socially awkward British web developer named Stuart Pritchard whose main goal in life seems to be scoring with a supermodel in his adopted town of LA. Critics have lambasted the show, calling it “cringeworthy” because of the outrageous and uncomfortable situations the supremely self-unaware and often unlikeable Pritchard gets himself into: telling homophobic and racist jokes during a hot tub party whose guests included a gay couple and a black editor from Vanity Fair and demanding that a bouncer return a tip when Pritchard doesn’t physically step into the club.

Basically Stuart Pritchard is an English Larry David, but for some reason the critics who loved “Curb Your Enthusiasm” can’t stomach “Hello Ladies.” I fear it’s a case where the more acidic British sense of humor is a little tough for some Americans to swallow. Case in point: “The Office,” which Merchant co-created with Gervais. I know Americans who adore Michael Scott on the U.S. version of the show, but they watch an episode of the original British version with Gervais playing David Brant, and they sit there with stony faces, occasionally shifting in their seats with physical discomfort. (I happen to like both versions for different reasons.)

Other things I love about the show: the rest of the cast! Especially the character of Jessica, Stuart’s pool-house renter and aspiring actress, who is just dorky enough that you can’t help but root for her. (The actress Christine Woods deserves kudos here. She plays Jessica with such nuance.) If you’re an “Alias” fan, Kevin Weisman‘s face will be familiar to you. He plays Stuart’s foul-mouthed frenemy who uses his disability to charm the pants of beautiful girls, much to Stuart’s annoyance. I haven’t spent a lot of time in LA, but its portrayal in “Hello Ladies” feels right to me: Like some of Merchant’s characters, I feel invisible there because I’m not blonde, buxom, and Botoxed. Bonus: soundtracks include Hall & Oates, Gerry Rafferty, and Al Stewart. Remember “Year of the Cat“? I hadn’t heard that song in years until watching “Hello Ladies.”

HBO hasn’t renewed “Hello Ladies” for a second season, and I’m nervous because critics were so hard on the first two episodes. I won’t give anything away, but last weekend was the first season finale and for those critics who thought Stuart Pritchard was entirely too self-obsessed, well … there’s a heart beating in that pigeon-chest of his. I hope the network that gave us TWO seasons of the dreadful “Mind of the Married Man” will give Stephen Merchant another year to develop this very funny — and yes, oftentimes uncomfortable — comedy. If they renew it, I’ll definitely pay Verizon for the HBO upgrade.

What do you think? Have you seen the show? Thoughts?

Flora Poste’s hat

One of my favorite rainy day films is Cold Comfort Farm. It’s funny, the dialogue is a treat for the ears, and it’s just one of those movies that puts me in a good mood.

In the scenes where Flora Poste (played by Kate Beckinsale) travels to the farm from London, she’s wearing a jaunty cream-colored knit cloche:

flora-poste-train

This summer Churchmouse Yarns & Tea released a pattern based on this hat and sponsored a knitalong on Ravelry. While I completed the cloche in record time, it took me a few months to photograph the final result:

Flora Poste's hat

Full Ravelry details here.

I purchased the yarn at WEBS this summer, fully intending to select the cream-colored Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, but in hand I felt kind of meh about it. This lovely grapey purple spoke of fall to me, so I went with that instead. The hat’s a little snug–my noggin’s on the large side–but I’ve also had my hair cut since the summer so I’ve got some reduced bulk to fit under there when winter comes. It’s not my warmest cap, but it’s certainly my most elegant knit topper.

September is kicking my butt, thus why I’ve been so quiet. O is slowly easing into middle school, although the transition hasn’t been the smoothest. He’s not a morning person, nor am I, so the 7:15 a.m. bus arrival has been a trial by fire for both of us. Luckily the school is an easy bike ride on the trail, unlike his elementary school, which was a good four miles on the other side of town. O also has a lot more homework, and with my studying for nursing school I’m exhausted by 8 or 9 p.m. Everything has suffered–blogging, housework, keeping up with family and friends–but this week feels a little more settled. Fingers crossed!

 

 

Olympic Fever!

Friends and family keep asking me, “Don’t you wish you were in London right now?” Guess they don’t know me very well because my idea of hell is being stuck in loud, sweaty crowds with no easy means of escape. Not to mention if you want to watch the Olympics, the best seat in the house is usually at home where you can see everything much better thanks to network cameras. I’ll save London for another day. I’m content to see the sights from this side of the ocean.

I did stay up last night to watch the opening ceremonies. Well done, I thought. Not much of a surprise there as I like Danny Boyle, but I did find it odd that it overly emphasized British literature, film, and music over than sport and athleticism. I’m not going to complain, though, because the soundtrack was outstanding: the Clash, Bowie, the Sex Pistols, the Chemical Brothers, the Pet Shop Boys, Clapton, and more. We did not see Elton John or Coldplay. And I loved that when Queen came on, their music got an extra cheer from the crowd.

Speaking of queenly matters … did you like the James Bond short? I thought it was fun. And good for the Queen for playing along, although she looked rather glum all night.

Another thing I enjoyed about Boyle’s direction? The homage to Britain’s sense of humor. The Brits just don’t take themselves so seriously, unlike Americans. (A huge generalization, I know.)  I doubt you’d see the likes of an American director let someone like Rowan Atkinson goof around with a renowned orchestra. I mean, look how offended we get when Ricky Gervais pokes fun at Hollywood celebrities? Wait — I guess it’s the Hollywood celebrities who get offended. But I stand by my original assertion.

I loved the look of the Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms for the U.S. athletes, though I was dismayed to find out they were made in China. Grr. And while I’ve seen the athletic wear that Stella McCartney designed for Team UK, I wasn’t thrilled with the look of the uniforms they wore at last night’s opening ceremony. (Those gold patches under their arms? Yuk.) I also liked Canada’s outfits — they were simple, but really stood out.

Anyway, it was a pleasant way to spend the evening and I managed to get a good bit done on my 2012 Ravellenic Games entry, my Go America! socks:

socks for Ravellenic games

I had to rip them back a bit after I’d discovered I’d cast on an extra stitch, but otherwise good progress. This morning I manged to add another two inches to the leg, and I suspect by the end of the weekend I’ll have the heel turned. My son is down in Connecticut this weekend, so I have some extra free time.

Are you watching the Olympics over the next several weeks? Are you participating in the 2012 Ravellenic games?

We sound that bad? (Friday funny)

I’m not sure how I found this video, but it’s both fascinating and hilarious. Have you ever wondered what American English sounds like to a foreigner who speaks no English? I have. This video reminds me of when my younger brother and I were kids and we’d pretend to speak German or French, making up Teutonic- or ou-la-la-sounds and stringing them together. Yeah, we were short on entertainment in the day.

 

I also found this skit quite funny. I believe it’s from an Australian show, but it looks like the skit takes place in London. Enjoy!

Deep romance?

A couple nights ago, my son and I were watching television and my attention was drawn to this commercial:

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said. “A cheap necklace to commemorate the sinking of a ship, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 people?” (The Sterlington Collection, the purveyors of this fine silverplate necklace — and if you order now, a ring, too! — calls them “souls aboard.”)

The commercial is ridiculously hilarious — from the photocopied Titanic tickets to the watery background behind the jewelry being showcased. What is romantic about a steamship filled with passengers sinking in the middle of the night in the cold north Atlantic? I think they’re thinking of Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet smooching on a soundstage. And frankly, I didn’t think the movie was all that romantic. I’ll take a Merchant Ivory production, thank you.

Perhaps the Sterlington Collection has a long-term plan to develop jewelry to commemorate tragic events in human history. What’s next? A bracelet called Waves of Desire, which honors the people who perished in the Boxing Day tsunami? Towers of Power, a faux onyx brooch that recalls the deadly September 11 attacks? Or maybe they see the romance of Pearl Harbor? Perfect, because they don’t even have to think about the right fake jewel.

So yes, I will be passing on the Deep Romance necklace, matching ring, and photocopies of the doomed Titanic’s last menu and a boarding pass, thus depriving my descendants of this classic heirloom. My loss could be your gain, though.

A fall cardigan

I don’t know what it is about spring that makes me want to knit sweaters. This year I’ll blame it on a solid week of cold, gray rainy days.

This is my first attempt at knitting a cardigan and I’m pretty happy with it. I looked long and hard for a pattern and finally settled on The Pure and Simple Neck-down Cardigan by Diane Soucy. I really dislike seaming, and the thought of knitting three separate pieces, plus arms, put me off traditional cardigan patterns. The yarn, my favorite Cascade 220, I bought in April at WEBS at great discount. (Hint: Cascade 220 is still on sale this month.)

I’m so glad I made a small; I’m at my heaviest weight right now since I haven’t been able to bike as much this spring, and there’s plenty of room for layering underneath.

I have more pictures and details on my Ravelry page.

Here’s something else I got today:

My son urged me to buy it as a Mother’s Day gift for myself. How could I resist? It has a. kittens b. American flags c. flowers d. glitter (which, sadly, doesn’t show up in the photo) and e. high tackiness factor, something I look for in a t-shirt I wear to bed.

Happy Mother’s Day!