Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Essay

Why I Love the Show Mad Men
by Erin Anderson

From the first episode of the first season of Mad Men, I was head over heels. I was hesitant to watch Mad Men because it gets too much praise, but it turns out it's totally worthy. I've been trying to determine why I like this show so much, and it seems there are four reasons I'm so into Mad Men.

1. It's aesthetically pleasing. The actors are perfect. The main guy, Don, and his wife Betty are as attractive as people come. Who doesn't like to look at pretty people? The people in the office are perfect, from the squirrely young guy with questionable morals to the Marilyn-esque office manager. And the clothes they all wear are gorge. I've always loved 50s/60s style, and this show takes authenticity very seriously (it seems to this person born in the 70s). Also, the sets are great. I love the Drapers' home, with it's plaid kitchen wallpaper and padded headboard.

2. I think one thing that makes this show so different is it's understated nature. Things nowdays are so loud and bright and quick; I hate that stuff. I just looked up 'understated' on thesaurus.com and I'm seeing words like 'simple,' 'classic,' 'elegant,' 'restrained,' 'low key,' and 'subtle.' Those are all words I love, and all words that describe the quite demeanor of Mad Men.

3. Mad Men is a very adult television show. In every scene someone's drinking, smoking, or cheating on a spouse. Often all three. The great thing about all this debauchery is that understatedness. Also, it's adult in a way that I think would bore a younger audience. The issues faced in the Draper home or in the offices of Sterling Cooper are mature issues-- social change, family problems, workplace politics.

4. I love the mindset of this era, the need to keep up appearances. Private life is private, and it's nobody's business. That's all I need to say about that.

So, go rent seasons 1-3. Season 4 begins at the end of July on AMC. I need to work out a deal with my aunt so she'll let me come over to watch it, since I don't have cable.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice

Of course it's important to stay hydrated when it's hot out. To celebrate the longest day of the year I uncorked a bottle of Summer Solstice from Turtle Run Winery (Corydon, IN). Quite tasty and refreshing on this long, humid day.

This is the peapod and seafood stirfry I did. Garden onions satueed with garlic, add the seafood medly mix from Trader Joes (a frozen bag of raw shrimp, bay scallops, and rings of calamari), toss in peapods and add a bit of stir-fry sauce and voila! Super yummy.

And here's the Thai salad Phil made for himself yesterday... he spoke highly of this, and it looks and sounds really great. He compared it to nachos... every bite is different from the previous. One bite is lime-cucumber, the next bite is chicken-sesame-celery, etc. Looks like a great summer meal!
Yam Gai

4 inches of cucumber
2 skinless chicken breasts
3 small celery stalks (finely sliced)
3 Scallions thickly sliced
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 red or small green chilies thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh mint finely chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil

cut the cucumber in half and scrape out the seeds, cut crosswise and then cut each piece into matchsticks

poach the chicken breasts then shred then add all the ingredients and mix. Mix all liquid ingredients prior to adding into the bowl.

Summer's Here!

Gratuitous shot of my off-the-charts adorable dog. He loves to travel. This pic was taken on the way to his vacation with his favorite dog-sitters. C'mon, look at this guy!!!

The garden at Mom and Steve's is starting to produce and look beautiful. Steve is letting some of his leeks and onions go to bloom/seed to see what will happen. They look really cool.
I made a delicious dinner (to be pictured next time) from garden onions and pea pods. I'm not always a fan of pea pods, but you can't go wrong with straight from the garden. I was at Mom and Steve's for a couple hours yesterday afternoon and enjoyed pulling up the pea plants and finding the last of the pods. Delish!

They do three green bean arbors in their garden, which are starting to fill in nicely.

The summer is officially completely booked-- there is some commitment every weekend between now and October. I think I have about one weekend a month in FW, though, so I can visit the garden. And my family, but the garden too. Also, We got tickets for a Tincaps game, which is very exciting. We went a few times last summer and had so much fun, and this year's game will be the start of our mini-vacay... the day after the game we'll go up to the Lauer's lake for a few days. Last year Henry was a hoot at the lake, so I expect much doggy cuteness again this year.

Of course, can't wait for the summer to zing by, since that means it'll be closer to the time when Phil gets to move here. Also it means maybe I'll be able to turn of the a/c!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's Not the Heat, it's the Humidity...

Yeah, right. It's hot, it's humid, it's (almost) summertime. I'm not here to complain about the insane weather we've had of late... well I kinda am, I guess. Giant severe storms! Super uncomfortable temps! I don't like it!

Every Saturday and Tuesday or Wednesday they have live music at Easley Winery, but last weekend's performance was ill attended. Maybe because it was so HOT and HUMID! The guy played good songs, though, and was fun.

It was so hot and humid that we couldn't stand to stay outside, which meant Italianfest and Fulton Street Art Fair will have to wait 'till next year, so we went to Brugge for incredible mussels, frites, and microbrews. This was a dark, hoppy beer called Deep Dark Secret. Mollie and I had hanger steaks and Dad had the mussels steamed with chilis, cilantro and garlic.

German Heritage

My grandmother loved enjoying a good, dark beer at Germanfest, so after the funeral several of us went to Headwaters to raise a glass to Gram.


Miles and Janette

the Kaduks

a few Hague men

I haven't been able to spend too much time with my step-sibs and their families, so I considered this afternoon to be a treat. Now that I live closer, I look forward to spending more time with my extended family.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Goodbye, Grandma

My grandmother was her own person. She enjoyed traveling, socializing, and bargain-hunting, but most of all she enjoyed her independence. For as long as I can remember she insisted she never wanted to be a burden in old age, so I guess she left this life the way she wanted-- in her own home.

I thought we had many more years with her, but I guess lots of people think that when they lose someone special. In the past five years I traveled lots of places with Grandma-- California, New York, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and she always kept up with whatever I wanted to do. She probably even took a walk before I woke up most mornings.

Also, she always, always made sure we were taken care of. And she was happy to welcome new people into the family, from friends and boyfriends to the step-kids of her step-grandkids.

This picture was taken in 2005, when Mom, Gram, and I visited several wineries in/around Santa Barbara, California.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Urban Bicyclists

Look at the cool new bikes I got tonight! Well, 'new' might not be the most appropriate description, but I think they're really cool. A woman at work has a husband who buys up old bikes and re-sells them. He has a garage-ful of bikes, so I hammered out a deal with him to get these two bikes plus a bike rack for a price we were both happy with. There's a community garage sale in Woodruff Place this weekend-- how cool would it be to bike over there? I'm pretty excited. Both bikes are ready to ride, just need to be wiped down a bit and have some minor seat adjustments.

The more time I spend with these bikes, the more I love this red one. It's mostly for Phil to ride, but I might use it when he's not around.
But I think this one is great, too. I really feel more comfortable on girl bikes. Also, it has the neat little rack on the front tire so I can bungee my library books down!

So, when you come to visit me in Indy, be sure to bring your bicycle shorts! I live right by the Monon Trail, which goes straight to Broad Ripple (it's about 4 miles away, I think). Also very close: Mass Ave, Easley Winery, the Circle. Can't wait!