Another Awkward Week [6.14.13]

Gooood morning! Listen, I know that nobody likes the person who complains about the weather all the time, but I'm just going to pop on my unlikeable hat and be that person for one hot second. And by hot second I mean cold, grey, rainy second because what. the. WHAT are you doing right now, Mother Nature? Is this all a practical joke? It's mid-June and we've had more 60 degree days than 80 and enough dreadful precipitation for twelve lifetimes. This isn't April, girlfriend. Step it up! My company is supposed to be doing this walk for charity today for this organization called Girls Write Now and I believe strongly in this organization and many generous friends and family donated and I'm so grateful...but the thought of traipsing along the Hudson River Path at 10 AM in the cold, blustery rain is...unappealing. I mean, how important is literacy anyway? Not that important right? It's not like reading pays my bills or anything.

Ohhhhhh wait.

#Grrrrr

Anyway! Let's try to get positive, shall we? What's everyone up to this weekend? Don't forget that Sunday is Fathers' Day! Call your dads, kids.

I'm wishing a very happy Fathers' Day to all the Baby Daddies reading this. I hope you get all the grills and tools and red meat your manly hearts can handle! My relationship with my own father is complicated in a way that's too personal and delicate and serious to get into on this here blog about farts and food spills, but I feel like we are moving forward in a positive way, reminding me of the power of second chances and unconditional love. So wishing an especially happy Fathers' Day to my old (very old!) (just kidding, I'll be nice today) (you're only regular old) man.

And now, without further ado, why don't we take a look back at what was keeping it awkward this week.

This Frisbee:

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So let's just start this week at the very beginning, shall we? Sunday I was in the park, with George, which is what I call Brian when I'm feeling particularly Sondheimy, and we decided to toss the bee around. WELLLLL I don't know what happened, if like, my arm chemistry changed or something but I could not throw this stupid frisbee for the life of me. I've never been great at what you'd call 'hand-eye-coordination' or "athleticism' but I can throw a frisbee pretty well. Or at least OK. Let's go with OK. Until this week when I could not get the disc to leave my hand in a normal fashion. It's like it was glued to my hand or my arm lost the ability to properly release objects. I'd give it a toss and it would swerve to the right, then to the left, or just flop right in front of me. I threw it straight up in the air. Side to side. Basically anywhere but in the direction of my target. The more this went on the more self conscious I got and thus the worse I got at throwing until I somehow managed to tomahawk the frisbee straight down into the ground in front of me and just quit while I was ahead. And by ahead, I mean very, very behind.

We then sat down for a leisurely game of cards until I threw a dramatic tantrum when Brian had the audacity to question my authority on the rules of Rummy 500 and I self-diagnosed myself with a very dire condition known as Hangry which is when you are so hungry you become angry and fly off the handle for little to no reason.

For the record, I was, indeed, incorrect about the rules of Rummy 500, a fact which I conceded graciously...after stuffing my face with a burger.

That said, it might not have been pure Hanger poisoning my mood that afternoon. It miiiight have also been due to

This Sunburn:

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Yeah. Remember when I said I was "diligent about sunscreen?" Well, what I meant was that I am diligent about applying sunscreen to some portions of my body while leaving others entirely unexposed or even worse: splotchily covered.

I went to the park in shorts and a tank top and I started with the SPF, I did.

Face: check

Shoulders: check

Arms: check

Legs: check...minus

I just plain forgot to lotion up my bare legs, but did seem to possibly wipe my hands on them, leaving a delightful pattern. Let's take a closer look...

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here on my outer leg you'll notice a wavy pattern of white that I assume is from the swipe of my sunscreen covered fingers and what's this white blob, glowing in the middle of my thigh?

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It appears the very size and shape of a thumb.

Of which I would give two, way up, to this hack job of a skin safety course.

Monday it was raining and freezing, because when isn't it, these days, so I wore the loosest, softest pants I could find and at regular intervals throughout the day would shut my office door, pull down my pants, slather my legs with aloe and then sit there for a while, with my pants around my ankles, workin' away.

If you've ever thought "wow, email is so impersonal, you have no idea what the other person is doing, they could be pantsless." Wahellll my friends: I'm living proof that they probably are.

Later that night I returned to my palace and wrapped my charred stems in cool wet paper towels like a sad mummy.

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I can't wait for this to turn to tan so I can have brown spotted legs all summer.

S to the E to the X-X-Y.

Then next morning I made...

This Smoothie:

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I know, you're thinking like, how many times can one adult human ruin a smoothie? And the answer is: MILLIONS. Watch me.

I usually make my smoothsters using banana as a thickening base + some kind of fruit + almond milk but on this particular day I was fresh outta nanners and remembered I'd read on the interweb that one could exchange avocado for the banana for the same effect + xxxtra health benefits. Lucky me, I had an avocado! I was all aboard.

I chose this recipe because it seemed the easiest, except I didn't have any vanilla almond milk so I just tossed in a few droplets of vanilla extract. The result was...grotesque.

It looked, smelled and tasted like vanilla flavored guacamole. And no matter how much I tried to liquify it by adding more milk or water, it maintained the same semi-solid state of matter, like sucking a  big cup of lime green, vaguely grassy tasting pudding through a straw.

HO-RIFFIC.

Still with me? GREAT. Let's skip to Wednesday when I took an evening bike ride through Prospect Park onnn...

This Bike:

apple bike

Yes, the same godforsaken bicycle I keep writing about week after week. Love her but she don't make it easy.

What, exactly are we looking at here? Allow me to explain. So, like I said, I decided to take Saucy Sally out for a spin around the park, it was a beautiful evening, I needed to get my blood flowing, and what a better way to see the world than on two wheels, am I right?

Eh.

First, I was forced to face the Hard Truth of just how out of shape I am. Like...very.

Out of Shape

Cool diagram, bro!

The park has this great 5K pavement loop that ends with a big hill, so whenever you run or ride you have to end by hauling tail up this mother flipping mountain. Yes, a mountain.  I'd like to meet and murder whoever came up with that genius idea. And just like the last time, I could not get myself up this hill without stopping. I made it roughly 2/3 of the way up, pedaling my darndest, before screeching over to the side of the road where I rested, sagging, heaving for oxygen until this short, fat little Hasidic Jewish boy who could not have been more than seven years old or weighed less than one hundred and seventy pounds, no offense fat people OR Jews, just setting  the scene here, whizzed by me on his little ten speed like it ain't no thang and I was MORTIFIED that this little chubbster could bike better than I could, so I hopped back in the saddle and wearily pedaled the rest of the way home.

BUT FIRST I stopped off at the local delicatessen to pick up a few apples to juice the next morning (along with carrots, beets and a hodgepodge of random greens I got during this week's CSA. It was...interesting. Apparently I had already forgotten the perils of haphazard breakfast beverage concoction experienced nary 48 hours prior) and the guy at checkout asked me if I needed a bag and I said "no, I live right around the corner!" and proceeded to shove two large apples into one very tiny purse.

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I knew there was only one way for this to end.

I walked my bike the rest of the way to my home and took my customary 14 minutes to get it through the front gate + 7 more minutes to enter the vestibule + 11 more to get into the hallway and as I leaned over in an attempt to pick up the bike to haul it up the stairs, my purse caught on the handlebars (P), knocking one of the apples across the hallway floor (A) and causing me to drop my keys (K).  As you can see above. Getting untangled from the handle and picking up my stray belongings while still holding my bike upright is one of my new Top 15 Greatest Life Accomplishments.

Seventy three hours later, I arrived at my third-floor apartment door, near dead from exhaustion and dehydration. Where were the stray apple and my keys? In the only place I could think to store them: my brassiere.

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Um, guys, does this shirt make my hooters look lopsided?

I was starving, naturally, so I whipped up...

This Tasty Egg: 

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My riff on Smitten Kitchen's smashed egg toast, but with broccoli raab instead of spinach, because I'm risky like that. But before I made this delightful egg I made

This Disgusting, Undercooked Egg:

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and

This Egg That I Broke In The Pot So Then Egg Whites Started Bubbling Around In The Water And Weirding Me Out:

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Too runny. Too yucky. Just right. And totally exhausting. Now I know why Goldilocks needed that damn nap.

I mean, I could have stopped after the first egg but that's not my style. Did I quit the soccer team after being relegated to the bench? NO! Did I stop watching How I Met Your Mother after the seventy fifth terrible season? NO! Did I give up on these eggs? HELLLL NO.

I have become the queen of food wasting around here lately and I'm mortified at the thought of it, but everything I've been whipping up has been terrifying. I then, offff course, convinced myself I was pregnant, what with all of these food aversions, before reminding myself that it's likely more a matter of weird jars of butter and vanilla guacamole shakes and raw eggs being disgusting than me being hormonally repulsed by foods.

So! Was this dinner worth the 2 wasted eggs + 15 minutes of pregnancy terror? Eh. It wasn't not worth it, it was actually pretty delicious, but I'm sure there were multiple dozens of equally delicious things I could have cooked up for half the effort and 100% less intrauterine paranoia.

Aaaand there you have it my friends. Another week, a whoooole lot of drama for very little reason. Thass the way I do it!

And how was your week? Plans for le weekend? Adventures? Challenges? Potential moments of glory? Tell me everything!

xoxo Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [6.7.13]

Hello, old friends! Have you missed me? I've missed YOU! I am so sorry for being away so long, I was sunning myself on the shores of St. Lucia and just plain lost track of time! Just kidding, I've been here. Working. Like a dawg. Here's a question, what is up with that expression? Except like, sheepdogs and police dogs, do pups actually work THAT hard? I think no. Ok, I guess there are also seeing eye dogs and huskies who have to pull sleds and rescue dogs and Clifford, he's got that sweet mascot gig for Scholastic...so, fine, dogs work hard I guessss. But don't you think there are harder working animals out there we might give a little credit? Lions prowling around on the hunt? Bees making honey. Woodchucks chucking all that wood, could those woodchucks chuck that wood?

Poor woodchucks!

Me, I've been working like some kind of exciting animal, busy with an author in town and that horrendous publishing conference I mentioned, and a bigbigbig launch of a very special book I've been working on that's really been a labor of love for me, you can read the rave New York Times review here. #Humblebrag. No, just #Brag. I've worked hard and I'm proud of myself and the author and the rest of my team and I'm just going to Own. It. Gurl.

Snap, snap, swish.

So that's what's the what on this end of the world! Tell me - what's new with you? Heard any good gossip? Read any good books? Tripped and fell in public? You know I want to hear about it!

Now! Why don't we take a look back at what was keeping it awkward this week  these last two weeks, whoooops:

These Galoshes:

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Pictured last roundup in a deep puddle of rain water and this week in the blinding sunshine. Um? Yeah. One of the terrible things about rain is...well, pretty much everything. With the exception of it's role in the growth of new life and how the sound of it hitting a tin roof inspired that one great Norah Jones song, I think we can all agree that there are verrrryyyy few good sides to rain. Am I missing something? But one of the worsticles is when old Sally Rainstorm doesn't hang around all day and you can't get a solid read on what sort of apparel to wear and have to dress for any possibility and end up clomping around in the bright sunshine in your even brighter galoshes.

I need to move to somewhere with a more predictable climate. Any suggestions?

This Bike:

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(The one on the left. My left. Well, everyone's left unless you're someohow viewing this photo from behind the screen, in which case, what are you, a wizard?!)

One of my favorite things about my pal Brian is that he's always up for trying new things and likes to be on the go and explore and have adventures. It keeps me on my toes. He's fun. Last weekend's adventure was a casual 17 mile roundtrip bike ride to Coney Island. It was a delightful little jaunt but possibly a little advanced for me, who's only just hopped back into the biking life. It turns out I live on top of a gigantic mountain that is so steep, it is basically just a 90 degree angle right into the air. TRUTH. My 'hood is called Crown Heights and I've just realized, the hard way, where they got that "Heights" from.

B & I biked most of the way back together, but parted ways at the end of our trip, me to my home, he to his, leaving me at the bottom of  this Mount Vesuvius of a hill. I, of course, chose the busiest street possible to ride up and, you guys, I thought this was going to be the end for me, I really did.

I stopped four times on the ride up to catch my breath, dreaming of the water bottle I'd left in Brian's backpack. I could have easily dismounted and walked my bike up the hill on the sidewalk but GOD DAMN IT, I had not rode this far to quit. And plus, I thought it would be more embarrassing to be seen walking my bike than to be seen stopped dead in the middle of a busy road,  hunched over the handlebars, panting for mercy and oxygen, as cars swerved around me.

Don't worry, I made it home, alive! Was it worth it? Aaaabsolutely not.

These Lanes:

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As should surprise zero percent of my readership, I am terrrrrible at bowling. A bunch of my pals and I hit the lanes the other weekend to entertain ourselves during a rainstorm and played two rounds of girls v boys. In an epic blow to feminism the girls team lost.

Both times.

I contributed a career high of 86 total points. Out of a possible 600.

I'm considering going pro.

This Sunburn:

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Just ignore my weird Harlequin Romance Novel pose and focus on the red and white racing stripes on my seductively bared shoulder. I'm diligent about sunscreen but every year manage to bust out at least one or two pretty solidly idiotic burns. Got this year's first one in before Memorial Day Weekend even came to a close. Summer is off to a great start, kids!

This Coconut Oil:

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My coconut oil above...and what it's supposed to look like:

(via theKitchn)

Ok, so, here's the story. As you knowwww I've been on a bit of a health food jag of late and all of the clean eating blogs I lurve are all UP ON coconut oil. So clearly when I saw it on sale at the Teej, I knew I had to have it. The thing is, I find it utterly grotesque to look upon. Unlike other oils which are liquidy and yummy looking, this stuff looks like lard in a jar and smells like Banana Boat.

Apparently there are all SORTS of benefits like it has no cholesterol and can be used as a hair conditioner or body moisturizer or even a healthy and natural sexual lubricant.   Brian and I did NOT test this theory out (or did we?) (we didn't!) but we have made zillions of jokes like "let's put on a little Barry White, light some candles, pour some wine...pop open that coconut oil...and just see where the night goes."

Really clever stuff over here. We need to get out more.

Anywhoo, really dumb story extra long and extra dumb: I finally got up the nerve to test out my C.O. last evening not as a food product but as a moisturizer for my dry feet (why do I feel the need to share these things?!), but when I went to the cabinet, it had somehow transformed from a thick, creamy, white substance (no one say TWSS, plz) into this weird, thin, clear liquid.

Did it melt?? Did someone eat all my coconut butter and replace it with water like cool kids would do with their parents' liquor while I was busy at home watching Touched by an Angel with my mom?! I will never ever know because I am too afraid to open the jar.

Gross.

Here's why I'm sharing this, though. Last time I had a food related mishap, with that fresh mango, my beautiful friend Mallory, who is adorable and lives in Mexico and has a truly fabulous life, dedicated a whole post on her blog to cutting and preparing fresh mangoes. So now I can do it right! What a pal!

So, I'm kind of hoping one of you delightful gems out there might clue me in on this whole coconut oil mystery. Why is it so great? And how do I use it? Is it supposed to turn clear like that?

Or, alternately, if one of you has a great story about at time you used coconut butter or any other sort of butter as a sexual lubricant, well, you KNOWWWWWWWW I'd love to hear about it.

And on that note, I'm out! I hope everyone has a most splendid weekend full of sunshine and butterflies and incorporating health foods into your lovemaking.

xoxo Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [5.17.13]

What's up, chicken nuggets? How was everyone's week? Mine was signifffficantly better than the last. Thanks to everyone for being so nice last week when I was so down. And belated thanks several weeks late to all who offered oh so helpful tips for hard boiling eggs. My egg eatin' life is bettah than evah. Y'all complete me. It's offensively early at the moment, but I don't mind it. I'm about to hop in a car to a plane to Chicago. My little brother is graduating from law school this weekend! Well, I don't know if he qualifies as 'little,' he's a six-foot-two, twenty-seven-year-old attorney, but I have to assert my older sister authority somewhere. I'm so proud of our Mikey boy, he's worked incredibly hard the last three years and landed a sah-weet job post grad. He's definitely a future Sandy Cohen or Jack McCoy so look out, criminals. I only wish Chicagy wasn't so far away!

You win some, you lose some. And now, quickly, before the sun rises, let's take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week:

This (Brand New) White T:

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Where my no-spill streak and Diet Coke cleanse came to a simultaneous end.

These Mangoes:

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You guys. This is a true story. So I'm still big into smoothies these days, now that I know how to freeze bananas (but I still prefer them regular, if anyone's curious) (no one is curious), and lately have been on a smokin' hot strawberry-banana-mango kick thanks to Trader Joe's handy and delicious frozen mango pieces. WELL. I ran out of frozen mango, a real #whitepeopleproblem if I've ever heard one, and didn't have time to hit the Teej so I popped into my neighborhood store and did they have mango pieces in the freezer section? No. They did not. I wandered dejectedly back to the produce section to just, I don't know, cry into some spinach or something and what to my wondering eyes should appear but some FRESH mangoes! Better than frozen!

All of a sudden realized The Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was playing over the grocery store loudspeaker.

"You can't always get what you want," crooned Mick Jagger, "But if you try some times, you might find..."

I reached out to pick up the glorious fruit and as my hand touched the mango...

"You get what you neeeeed!"

Believe it? Believe it.

I have always dreamed of having a life soundtrack and finally, my dream has come true.

Unfortch it seems I have absolutely no clue what to actually DO with a fresh mango, as I ended up with this mess:

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I theeeenk I might be better served sticking with the frozen fruits.

Speaking of food I don't know what to do with...

One of These:

artichoke

As I mentioned, on Tuesday night I met up with some g-friends and caught up over entirely too much wine and delicious food. One of those foods was steamed artichoke with lots of yummy dipping sauces. I've eaten artichoke hearts from a jar and a can and in salads and things but I guess I have never eaten a whole artichoke. Or watched anyone eat one.

Well.

Apparently when eating an artichoke, you don't eat the tough outside parts, but sort of pick off each petal and scrape off the soft, yummy insides with your teeth. Me, I didn't know this. And for some reason, didn't want to like, admit that I didn't know how to eat an artichoke. Or ask. And my powers of observation took way too long to realize that my compatriots were not, like me, struggling to chew and swallow huge, tough, inedible outer petals. I nearly choked like eight times. And yet, I soldiered on. Why, why, why?

If you are an uncouth slob like me, here's a helpful article on how to properly eat an artichoke: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cook_and_eat_an_artichoke/

The more you know!

Also, this is a fact: pretending to know how to do something always ends up more embarrassing than just admitting you don't.

These Hot Wheels:

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I got a bike, you guys! I'm finally real hipster! I'm so in love with the old girl already. I'm considering naming her Saucy Sally, after a character in a great book I just read.

Why are cars and boats and things always named after women? As a feminist, am I setting the cause back by considering my bike a girl? Or is it a good thing, filling the world with more strong, sassy ladies, even if those ladies are inanimate modes of transportation?

I might overthink things.

Anyhoodle, this is my bike and I love it!

The one smidgeski of a downside: getting her into my apartment. I have nowhere to store my precious outside or on the ground floor, so, while carrying my heavy bike, I first must open up the front gate to my apartment building, then walk up three short steps, then some how set the bike down long enough to get out my keys and open the first of two front doors, then hold the door open with like, my foot slash butt, haul the bike into the vestibule, switch keys, open the second door to my apartment, repeat the butt-hold, yank the bike into the first floor of the building, realize it's facing a direction that makes it impossible to get it up the stairs, do a fifteen point turn to get it in the right direction, somehow yank it up just high enough to clear the steps and clang up the four floor staircase, banging the back wheel at every turn and acquiring a huge-ass bruise on my outer thigh.

Oh, while looking like this:

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There has got to be an easier way!

(And a friendly reminder, kidz, always wear your helmets!)

And finally..

These Duds:

Style 2

Just wanted to inform that my sartorial spirit week marches on. Last week I wore purple but the photos were terrible, as was my mood. But trust me. This week: stripes!

And there you have it! How was your week? What are y'all up to this weekend? Do you know how to eat an artichoke?

Huge Congrats to my brother Michael and everyone graduating from some place of education this spring. You did it! You really, really did it!

xoxo Liz Ho