day in the life, food

I am not super accepting of what’s happening here, since it’s 90 today and feels more summery than a lot of this summer has. But, it’s September now and the kids are back in school and Labor Day is looming. Summer’s heading out.

As I crack another bottle of the beverage I’ve been sipping every day, it occurred to me that 2015 has been my Summer of Tea. If you know me at all, you know that I have a strong aversion to caffeine and caffeine-bearing drinks. Migraines mean I can’t participate in the Coffee Juggernaut that is our current beverage culture, so I’ve turned my life over to tea and the tolerable levels of caffeine it contains. I make a great pitcher of sun tea, and now, fridge tea. But I’ve found that, this summer, I’ve tried nearly every bottled ice tea that has crossed my path. Countless airport newstands and office cafes have offered up teas for my consumption, and oh, have I consumed. So, what better way to memorialize my Summer of Tea than by ranking…

The Bottled Ice Teas of 2015! …and one extra.

Pure Leaf – funky aftertaste, tastes like bad flat Coke maybe? I am drinking this right now and the more I drink it, the more it tastes like it was brewed in an old pork and beans can. A quick query with Uncle Google tells me Pure Leaf is, made by PepsiCo. Well, well.

Steaz – just don’t. There’s no reason.

Gold Peak – Inoffensive, much like slightly flavored water, so it’s hydrating at least. This is in a lot of fast casual restaurants these days, I guess because it’s made by Coca Cola? Decent, in a pinch.

Arizona – I like the plum green tea, but it’s basically plum green tea KoolAid. There isn’t much tea to speak of. Still, pretty tasty if you’re in the mood for a sort of grown up Hi-C situation.

Any iced tea pod that goes in a Keurig – terrible.

Argo Tea – The bottled version, which I was surprised to find at my local Target, suffers from the same thing teas in their shops do – SWEEEET. The Carolina Honey is the weirdest sour/sweet combo with a strong faux-honey taste. It also comes in this jar thing with a huge, wide mouth, which, unless you have a huge, wide mouth, is an awkward drinking experience.

Marley’s Mellow Mood Tea – Oh my god, this stuff should maybe need a prescription for purchase. One sip and I am all zzzzzzz. But it’s actually tasty, too.

Tradewinds Tea – As far as I can tell, they only come in a gallon jug and I’m not investing in that. But it’s pretty tasty, as gallons of tea go.

Sweet Leaf – Nice, I think. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these. I think it was fine. Pretty sure.

Snapple Straight Up Tea – Snapple is an old favorite of mine. I still miss the pink lemonade they replaced with a kiwi thing (kiwis are of the devil). I don’t love their regular teas – they’re so sweet. But I found this new Straight Up Tea last week and it’s not bad at all, tastes kind of like brewed tea. The slightly sweet was nice. I categorically avoid sweet teas, which are becoming a thing around here.

Teas’Tea – Oh god yes. Every variety has made me happy. The green tea tastes like green tea! Most have that good, slightly astringent flavor that tea should have, without feeling like you’re rinsing your mouth with witch hazel.

Honest Tea – One of the best out there. Every time I find this stuff – and it’s not often enough – I buy buy buy. The green tea has actual flavor. Even the sweetened ones are refreshing and lovely. 10/10 will drink again.

…and finally, my unicorn of teas:

TeaNY – Moby’s line of bottled teas. Pretty much the best I’ve ever had. Best. I found it in corner store in NYC, summer 2008. Never had it again as it doesn’t seem to be out west here. Actually cannot find it anywhere online either. I maybe imagined it? Entirely possible as it was a hot summer in New York and I was kind of starry-eyed and confused. Either way, I will long for it forever. Moby, can you hear me?

There you have it. So, go drink up the last of summer with this vintage Lipton commercial. Quench, my friends.


day in the life

I think that would a good album title for vaguely holiday-ish but not overtly Christmas music. 

Anyway, here’s a picture I took. 

day in the life

People are further from each other than they appear.
People are further from each other than they appear.

So I’m hanging out by myself for a while. He’ll be home weekends. I’ll be FINE. Still, I’m making a I’m Sad But Okay Playlist to get me through this first week of being faux-single.

Songs NOT to include:

Leaving On a Jet Plane
Darling, Be Home Soon
Only the Lonely
It’s Too Late
What’ll I Do?
Photographs and Memories

So, I guess it’s just I Will Survive on a loop, then.

day in the life, Music, television

I feel just about this enthused today. Mondays are a challenge under the best of circumstances. I don’t know what it is about today, but today is just not thrilling me.

Today, I feel like drinking all the absinthe out of Toulouse-Lautrec’s private reserve and then staring into space until the barman asks me to leave because I’m making the other patrons uncomfortable.

I don’t like Mondays.

To cheer myself, I decided to revisit with some old friends.

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day in the life, The Cancer Cat Chronicles

With every broken heart, we should become more adventurous.

When Lanty was diagnosed with that darned Lymphona last summer, I felt, momentarily anyway, the solidity of life drop right out from under me. There was very little that could make it seem right again.  Lanty was the third leg of our little three-legged family.  For the last, oh, ten years or so, whenever would get that pesky inquiry, “when are you going to start a family?” we’d always say, at least to each other, “we ARE a family. You, me, and Lant.” Our family, defined.  Now, our family was going to change. And the ground on which I stood turned to mud, mushy and slippery. Would I fall in it? Would my shoes get ruined?

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day in the life

…(and then attempt to repent)


ironic image courtesy of PostSecret

I was brushing my teeth last night and feeling sorry for myself. I have one of those Oral-B battery-powered brushes, and as its harmonic buzzing lulled me into a trance-like state, one clear thought popped out of the white noise of self-pity: we have had more than our fair share of sadness these last three years.

And immediately, I felt ashamed. Our fair share? What’s a “fair share” of sadness, really? It’s not like either of us has lost a limb, or each other. Neither of us were in a tall building when it was hit with an airplane. We don’t have debilitating diseases or foreclosure looming. I mean, we just bought a storm door! We’re really fine.

But, if you tilt your head and squint, it would seem that things have had a way of not working out for us ever since Kokoro was diagnosed with an aggressively progressing cancer in 2006. It would seem. After all, three months later (to the day, minus one) we were on the road back home to tend to my father-in-law’s last three weeks of life. But you know that story. And really, who doesn’t have a true life tale of extraordinary hardship? Life is a roller coaster of overused metaphors. It jerks us around.

I am not proud of my funk.  Having been told all of my life that I am a brat, I tend to want to hold my adult self to certain standards of gratitude. Namely, I want to be grateful for every shit sandwich life hands me because, after all, isn’t it fortunate that I have a mouth with which to eat them? Some little children in Botswana don’t even have mouths. So, I torture myself with self-pity and then torture myself some more with guilt.  Which, when you get down to it it really just more self-pity.  Brat!

I know this, yet losing a little dog last week that we’d so recently adopted has thrown me into an inescapable existential loop. The little pleasures in life leave me flat, and I’m questioning the very reasons for stars to be in the sky. In philosophical terms: Why am I on the edge of this cliff? Am I more scared of falling or of throwing myself off? Or is what I’m really scared of the more frightening possibility that there is no force in the cosmos that can compel me to do either because the universe is an empty, cold, dog-less void?

I guess the real question here is do I get a dog, or not? If not, can someone explain this decision to me, maybe in writing?

I know you probably have a different question in mind: what happened? In short: the sweet little dog could not stay in our family. The situation was bad for her and for Lanty.  Sometimes the best decision for your pets is the suckiest one for you. Doing the right thing is as simple and as pissy as that. So, I have no dog. And dear, darling Lanty is sick again. Angst.

But, we’re going to see Rifftrax Live on Thursday night, and we now have a Wii. Conspicuous consumption makes everything better.

day in the life

You know that love survives, so we can rock forever on.

michael-jacksonThere will never be another Michael.

day in the life

I love Chicago. I love it like that uncle you skirt around at family reunions; the one who laughs way too loud and invariably gets jello salad stuck in his yellowing beard.  It frightens me; It makes me laugh.

On my lunch hour today, I ran into this fellow, an unsettling pirate relaxing in a sparse flower bed.


I tried to ignore him, but to no avail.  His jaunty pose and Yul Brenner-esque eyebrows had bewitched me, in a I-must-capture-this-horror kind of way, and, after fleeing the Sketchers store which boasts the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen, I was standing in front of him again.  I  flipped open my phone to snap a pic and behind me a handful of people slowed their noontime rushing to watch.  One woman asked, “What is that?  Is that a PIRATE?”  Her disdain could not have been more clear.  Someone else answered that it has something to do with The Field.  Now, I doubt the wisdom of calling Him an It, honestly, because who knows what He gets up to at night, but Disdainful Woman was immediately mollified.  The Field has that kind of power.

Christian Sex Toy Guide: That was the subject line of an email I received at work today.  Love it.  I was a little disappointed to open the mail and find that apparently only discount Cialis and the awkwardly named “Soft Viagra” are Christian sex toys.  Must have something to do with those megachurches.

But I do think Viagra must be important because later this morning I received an email with an equation in the subject: Hard Wank = Her Moans.  And even though I sort of doubt the efficacy of a product with “soft” in the name, who am I to argue with the Christians?

Deja-vu All Over Again. I’ve been excavating the archives of old journals in an effort to revive my flagging (dormant?) writing skills and remember what it was like to be me a year or two or three ago.  I found an unpublished bit from March, 2006 that made me chuckle:

Guys, I’m tired.  Now there’s something new.

Perhaps I should establish our assumptions for any entry between March of 2006 and when I finish my degree program (next Spring, IhopeIhopeIhope):

1. I will be tired every day, consistently and constantly.

2. I will have walked too many dogs for too many days in a row with too little sleep.

3. I will have eaten something odd in large quantities until I could no longer even look at the packaging of said product (ie. Nabisco brand Nilla Wafers® throughout the end of March).

So, in assessing my life then vs now, what’s changed?

1. I am still tired. Nothing new there.

2. While I haven’t walked any dogs for any days for a long time (weep for me), I have ridden too many train for too many days on too little sleep.

3. Right now it’s Lunchables® (turkey) and Lays® potato chips, and I’m getting kind of woozy thinking about either of them.

I need some air.  Maybe I’ll go talk to The Pirate.

day in the life, food

bracelet My friend Angie is the mother is a beautiful little boy with a hereditary disease called Galactosemia. For a few days in April, those of you in the Chicagoland area can help the little guy by doing what you’d normally do: shop at Jewel.

Says Angie:

Galactosemia is a rare disorder and funding for research comes primarily from people like us, the parents of a galactosemic child.  However, during April 6-8, Jewel-Osco stores will donate 5% of sales made during the Galactosemia Shop and Share days. This fundraiser has the potential to raise much money for research–and all you have to do is what you would normally do during the week!  Of course, we’d love it if everyone waited and made their big grocery shopping trip during those days, but please know every little bit helps and is appreciated!

Attached is a copy of the Shop and Share Identification Slips.  It’s very easy–just print out a slip and sign it.  Present the slip when you shop during April 6-8.  Jewel-Osco will do the rest.  There is no limit to how often you can present a slip, but there are restrictions on what counts (for example, liquor, gift cards and tobacco don’t).

So, when you head out to Jewel next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, please bring one of these slips along.  Help give Jonah a chance at a rich, healthy life.  Thanks, kids!

day in the life, food


Even though it’s almost April, the snow is back and so am I.  Please to enjoy the new site.  I hope to deliver a more inclusive, lifestreamy experience, where my life online is more integrated with my actual life.  Could I use life a few more times?

Having put D on a plane this afternoon, I spent the bulk of the evening fixing some widgets and plugins and cursing over the CSSes, but I’m happy with where the place landed, and tired of that darn maintenance page, so here were are!

For a reward, I’m watching Iron Chef America, and Bobby Flay is freaking out, which seems par for the course.  And whatever happened to Wolfgang Puck?  Like all remakes, the original Japanese version was better, anyway.   Actually, I just finished Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), which I half-watched in the background, and could only screen because D is out of town.  It was a gruesome bit of campy crap – a spider invasion of Shatnerian proportions, as D said when I told him it starred TVs T.J. Hooker.

I do love The Shatner.

So, welcome back to The House of Mirth.  I’ll make you a cocktail while you look in the closets and try out the new furniture.