No, I’m not switching religions. But you might think about it after eating at Buddakan in downtown Philly. The food (Asian Fusion) is great and the atmosphere is a cross between urban hipster and global nomad.Â Kim dragged me out for dinner after a hellacious day. We worked 35 hours in 3 days. But we had a really good time. I’d do it again. But not soon.
 That handsome fellow is one of my best friends, S. I dragged him away from his high powered, high paying gig to my last cooking class of the summer (Light & Easy Summer Seafood). I think he had a good time judging by the smile on his face. What do you think? Chef Joe owns Sabot Culinary and he always has plenty of wine for us to “cleanse our palettes”, the knives are extra sharp and there’s always the chance of an industrial-sized grease fire! We made grilled red snapper, grilled steak fish, grilled jumbo shrimp, anchovie crostini, grilled veggies and a vodka crab martini (you scoop the crab meat onto these little crackers). Yum. Okay, so I lied about the romance.
 I’m on the move yall. I finished my big summer project at my alma mater,Â UVA (Go Hoos!)Â and packed up my gear after crashing with K & D (thanks yall!) and lounging in their supercool (literally and climatically) pad, eating up all their Rice Krispies and threatening to blog about whatever if they didn’t do my bidding. They proceeded to get me hooked on Grey’s Anatomy, Trefoil girl scout cookies and D’s cooking & wineÂ (Italian Pasta? Yes Please! Best.Egg Sandwich.Ever.? Yes Please!)
 I’m in Philly for one of my NY based clients for a 3 day conference. I lurve this client because I really like all of my colleagues (plus they have beer in the NY office fridge…). After this I’m headed to New England for a really cool gig that I landed a couple of weeks ago. This is a 4-6 month project which means I will not be headed back out on the road for extended vagabonding until February (post baby brother’s wedding), but it will put a band-aid on the ailing bank account after a summer of revelry (and by revelry I mean: cooking classes, beer drinking, cooking classes, motorcycle courses, beer drinking, Broadway Show, Martini drinking, 3 trips to Atlanta, 1 pretty cool date, Lawn Golf with the Nephew, Labor Day with the ‘hood, 1 trip to NYC).
Â I’ve been working on lots of personal projects and trying to manage and land clients so I haven’t had a lot of pure “down” time. Despite the fact that I’m a homeless, jobless, vagabond I’ve stayed pretty busy this summer. A few things that I did make time for that I highly recommend:
(a)Â Sarah Jones on Broadway: Bridge & Tunnel. Stunning Social Commentary.Â Genius Character Actor. Best. T-shirt. Ever. I got to spend time with one of my best friends from College S and her husband. They took me to a great brazilian restaurant in midtown where you literally had to walk through the kitchen to get to the restroom. So close to the chef that you could (no lie) lean over and tell him you think that steak is medium-well already. The food was off the hook as we say in the urban vernacular.
(b) The Georgia Aquarium: Quite simply theÂ most spectacularÂ aquarium. I recommend experiencing it through the eyes of twin 4 year-olds. They also let you touch sting rays, baby sharks, starfish and other mysterious dwellers of the deep. I NEVER thought I’d find an aquarium I liked better than Baltimore or even Boston. But there’s clearly no contest.
(c) Cafe Intermezzo: Atlanta.Ambiance. This is where Stacey and I ALWAYS go when I’m in town. The last time I visited we got all uppity and decided to try The Tea Room and ended up in a farcical comedy of ridiculous proportions wherein all I can say is that if you are going to name your establishment the Tea Room, it might be wise to actually have um, TEA?! And the charming, but clearly unstable waitress – her credibility with the wild-eyed recommendations? not so much. Cafe Intermezzo, we will never foresake you again.
(d) Books: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World. Both written by smart, funny women. The first a memoir of sorts, the second a journalist’s contribution to educating us clueless Americans about suchÂ baffling international issues such as:Â the reason behind the East Coast/West Coast Rap-esque battle between Israel and Palestine (my analogy, not hers), Why we give Egypt $2.2B/year to buy arms from the US, etc. but trust me, she’s funny. Don’t be skared/skairt/scared.
(e) Film: Little Miss Sunshine. Hands down the best film of the summer. Funny in a Tina Fey meets David Sedaris/Augusten BurroughsÂ tragicomedy kind of way. You WILL laugh, You WILL cry. So just go ahead and fork over the $2,237 or whatever it costs to see a movie in your neck of the woods.
(f) Family. I enjoyed my parents and nephew so much this summer. I tried to spoil them all rotten. I hope I succeeded. I still have some loved ones I want to bear hug and spend some time (Hey Momma D! Sharon D! Anil, etc.)Â with but I guess this was a good start.
This photo is a result of an internet app that lets you customize the things that are currently on your “poop list” as my Mom would say, as presented by everybody’s favorite politicalÂ genius Stephen Colbert. So those things are the things that make me want to rant as of right now.
Karen over at Chookooloonks blogs about “Why I Don’t B*tch” and I have been thinking about this topic alot lately. The last several months as I moved into the reality of my dream, I received e-mail from people all over the world asking me how I did/do it, what’s my secret for living a seemingly perfect life, how do I stay so positive?, etc. I was at once flattered and alarmed. In general what you see on my blog is really how I am (all the commenters who know me in real life (irl) please feel free to confirm or contradict that), and I’ve said for years that I’m one of the happiest people that I know. And its true. Not because I have the magic bullet to a perfect life, but because a) I believe that a certain amount of your outlook is predetermined by genetics and my parents might not have passed on the “skinny” gene, but they sure did make up for it with the “optimist” gene. b) I believe even more of your outlook is pure decision. I am determined to be happy and live my life as fully as I can. c) I’ve been THROUGH some things (mother’s critical illness, divorce) and I realized that I will always be going through something(s) but as long as I’m alive and in control of my mind and body, history bodes well that I’m not the first person to experience X and that even if Y happens I’ll be okay.
Another reason I decided to join the 12 million + bloggers out here in the blogosphere is not because I felt like I had something to say that hasn’t been said before, but I hope that the WAY I say it brings a smile to your face, inspires you to pursue YOUR big dreams and gets me a couple of points with the Big Guy upstairs, so that when I slide into my grave: sideways, giggling and thoroughly exhausted from living a full life,Â I’ll have a shot at some wings, a halo and the chance to be a guardian angel for some poor sap who is breathing their first breath with a lifetime of joy and painÂ ahead of them.
I think this topic is especially appropriate in light of the 5th anniversary of 9/11. Anyone who knows me will tell you that since that day, my philosophy – which alternately drives people crazy and makes them smile at the same time is:
“If this is the worst thing that happens to me today/this month/this year (depending on the scale), then that’s alright with me!” Even in the hardest situations I find myself saying this with a smile on my face or at the least in my voice – and it changes EVERYTHING. But mostly it changes ME. So here is to you dear reader, for all that you are and all that you will be, I wish for you the sun, moon and stars on a platter, and the knowledge that if you’re going through Hell, the best thing to do is to just.keep.going.Â Trouble don’t last always.
I don’t usually blog about “News” type stuff around here because, well, you can get it elsewhere and I’m narcissistic like that. But I was saddened by the passing of Steve Irwin best known as the Australian Personality and Wildlife Conservationist: The Crocodile Hunter. I was a fan for about 5 minutes in the late 90’s but I’ve always liked the guy’s zest for life. He’s the perfect example of sliding into your grave sideways and Going Big. Peace out Crocodile Hunter.
A funny girl from Canada recommended “Running With Scissors” a few weeks ago. I had heard great things about Augusten Burroughs’ writing, and many critics compare him to David Sedaris. Now, Sedaris is one of my top 10 favorite authors of all time so I was a little skeptical about this, but I have to admit Burroughs tells a story that is like stumbling across a horrific accident: you can’t help but watch while holding your breath and thanking God that its not you. Funny, endearing, frightening and upsetting because it is a memoir…this one ain’t for everybody, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
So, bring it on. What are some of your favorite books or books that you recommend?
PS – Happy 30th Birthday to my favorite sister!