Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pizza Party and No One's Invited

So 10 o'clock rolls around and we still haven't had a proper dinner. We'd just been kind of snacking on small stuff. We decide to make pizza, but are too hungry to wait for dough to rise, so we take the short cut: 2 cups of flour, 2/3 cup of water, salt and 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Instant passable pizza dough. One pie used the leftovers from a can of San Marzano tomatoes and some of the juice, a clove of garlic, black pepper, basil from our garden, and anchovies. Ta-da-- an easy version of Pizza Napolitano. Second pie was less involved; just cannellini beans, red onion, and a handful of rosemary. Both turned out pretty well, with a surprisingly flavorful, cracker-like crust. We washed it down with a bottle from the local wine shop, a cuvee Les Gryphées from Chateau de Vaux a little wine from Moselle, a forgotten corner of France north of Alsace and close to the Luxembourg border. Though it worked fine with the white beans and rosemary, the anchovies were overpowering. For that we resorted to a sweet, fruity red wine that a friend had given us. It was pretty gross-- lots of creamy oak and sweet, super soft tannin-- but it was fun seeing how it could handle a bunch of salt. I won't give the producer's name 'cause we were a little ashamed to be drinking it. --JG

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Barf You Out the Backdoor, Gagging You With a Spoon?

The millions of you reading this blog must be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So far, it's been sunshine and butterflies and giggling babies
riding on the backs of dolphins

and unicorns made of candy.

We must be making you sick!

To avoid putting you in the uncomfortable position of actually wishing us misfortune, I'll do you the favor of complaining a little.

The mosquitoes here are absolutely gluttonous. I mentioned the portion sizes at area restaurants in an earlier post-- well, the mosquitoes expect no different. Seriously. I can't wait for November so I can go outside without rubbing drier sheets all over me first.

And the undergraduates. Parents, why do you pay for your children to live in historic homes you KNOW they're just going to trash? And if you don't know that about them, why not? Is it because you're too busy buying them the biggest SUVs you can find? And waiting for someone else to teach them how to parallel park?

Some dialogue:

20 y/o male neighbor: Yeah, we'll just be getting wasted till school starts.
ME: You go to VCU?
Him: Yeah, I'm in the art department. Ceramics.
JG: Oh. So how 'bout you make an ashtray then, for your porch, and stop throwing cigarette butts all over the sidewalk.

And this:
It's 2:30 in the morning. A shadowy figure (college kid) darts down the alley between our and our neighbor's houses. JG goes out to investigate.
JG: You're not pissing back there are you.
Kid: Man, I'm gonna aim at that house.
JG: No you're not. Fenris!
and then Fenris the savage beast tackles the offensive child and chews his legs off.


Initially, I wanted to avoid writing much about my and JG's school experiences here.  They're their own thing.
But, I'm realizing how impossible it would be for any Richmond resident to not mention VCU when discussing their town: nearly EVERYONE here is somehow connected to this institution.   Richmond strikes me much more as a college town than as a capitol city.    

As a serial grad student, I've had a first day of school every September since I was two. Well, just about.  It's always anxiety provoking.  Amazingly, such has not been the case here at VCU, which has to do with my mindset for sure, but also results from the warm welcome my department extended to its new and returning members.  Scholarly and writerly communities can be smarmy and snarky and competitive, but already, I can tell I'm joining a group that is uniquely, and genuinely, not that.  What luck!      

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More Cats Than Rome

This last photo is of our cat Freya, who we generally refer to simply as Kitty. The neighborhood cats are curious about her, and a few mill about our porch and back yard, staking out their turf, I'm sure. Kitty's not allowed to play with them though (or, more aptly, fight them, since I'm sure that's what an interaction would lead to) since most of them got the kitty hiv. She still romps around in our little yard when the coast is clear, which has improved her self esteem-- she's stopped neurotically licking the hair off her belly and kinda preens about the house, draping herself across top steps and counter tops like a little panther on a sun-soaked rock.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dining Out With K and J

So far, we've enjoyed all of our dining experiences in Richmond. Though there's nothing here that can come close to, say, Grammercy Tavern in terms of hiting every note--thoughtful wine list, quality ingredients, professional service-- there are plenty of restaurants who make delicious food and serve it in enjoyable atmospheres. They all serve it in copious quantities, too, which works out great for us: we've been sitting at bars, getting glasses of wine, splitting an entree, and leaving-- full-bellied, and only $30 lighter.