Tag Archives: cooking

Cooking For Myself

I was this close to making this a new entry in my “Larry Loved” series of posts, but I don’t have the energy to do that just yet, as honestly, a huge part of who he was was cooking, and to try to just throw a little post about me having a good cooking night isn’t fair to what should be discussed.

So instead of that, I’ll just kvetch about the fact that I’m back to having to cook and feed myself again.  I’d managed to do so before I met Larry and when I was in the military, but looking back at it now, I really didn’t do that great a job of it.   Lots of mac and cheese, lots of sorta sad attempts at chicken…and a metabolism that allowed me to make plenty of crap and not blow up to the size of a bigger Hobie.  The last 11 years though?   I got used to living it a little bit nicer with Larry’s ambitious and delicious views on cooking (and gained the weight to prove it).  He loved it.  And now I have a kitchen full of any device a reasonably ambitious cook would need.  I don’t want it to go to waste, and I actually enjoy having nice(r) meals.

What sucks about cooking for yourself is that it’s work, both in prep, execution, and cleanup.  Larry and I had split those duties up (probably not fairly, tbh – but it worked) but now it’s all me, and do I go to a ton of trouble for just me?  So I started sorta basic this week – making chicken, brown rice, and green beans.  Kind of a balanced meal, right?   I think Larry would have been proud: I found a recipe online for salt and pepper chicken in the oven, and bam, it fucking tasted amazing.  I made the rice on the stovetop and kind of found out things to do better, like keeping the heat a little higher as I still had water in the pot even after 20 minutes.  Also discovered that brown rice is better for you but certainly doesn’t taste that great.  But I gotta say, the food was overall delicious and it did make feel like Larry’s energy was with me.

A random aside:  Larry kept all his recipes in the Paprika iPad app.  All of them.  So like, it’s a total Larry treasure trove.  I did worry I’d lose them though as they’re all on what is literally like an iPad 3, so it’s supa dupa old.  If that thing died, I’d lose the recipes.  So I bought the app on my iPad, and finally figured out how to export the recipes from Paprika to the cloud, and then use my account, and re-import them.  Now I’ve got all his recipes, and I can breathe a sigh of relief as losing those would just feel like losing a huge part of him.  We had so many “go-to” recipes that I’ll one day get the motivation to make.   So between this week’s chicken combo (which I’m making again), the Instapot, and now these recipes, I think I should be able to be a functional, well-mannered man who can cook meals for others soon.  I definitely want to sign up for some cooking classes to just get confident in certain skills.  But that’s a post for another day.

A Nice Weekend

I’ve discovered I can start crying at the drop of a hat.  Okay, to be more specific, grieving for me can be “okay one minute – absolutely crestfallen the next.”  It’s obviously what grief is in terms of a definition, but it just can take a lot out of you.  This morning, I woke up and just started crying, and that was because I started just thinking about all the things that have happened or are happening in my life, and it just made me sad and anxious.  I have to trust that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but right now, it’s all tunnel.

Why am I writing that?   Just that when nice things happen, it’s good to enjoy them, as I can find myself very easily in the midst of crying.   So this past weekend, it got started out right by having dinner with Carey & Paras at the Sugarfish in Hollywood.  As I’ve raved previously, Sugarfish is the shit.  The best sushi around especially at the price point you get it at.

The key is to get there a little ahead of the rush – we got seated around 5:45, which was perfect.   When we left around 7, the waiting area was packed, and since Sugarfish doesn’t do reservations, you gotta wait.  We then headed down the street to Arclight to see The Gentlemen.   I had barely heard of this Guy Ritchie movie, and let me tell you, it’s fucking awesome.   An exciting and compelling crime story with a bunch of movie stars having a blast.  If, like me, you’d never heard of it before, by all means go check it out.  Fun stuff.  Hugh Grant is so far from his typical “Hugh Grant”-ness it’s mind-blowing.

Jan 31 Night at Sugarfish and Arclight with Carey & Paras:

On Saturday, I went over to visit mom for the first time since going with her to Helen’s for Christmas Eve.  I brought the wedding album I’d put together and she was able to remember all of that and the things we did then, and she managed to remember Larry had died, but it’s just not the same person.  Stacie and I are going to have to look to find a place for her to live, such as independent or assisted living as it just can’t continue on with how it is now, as it’s no way to live.  So on the way back home, I just wanted to try to make Larry proud, so I picked up filet mignons (enough for 3 people) and potatoes and broccoli, as I invited Nicki and Sveta over for dinner.  Everybody pitched in to help make dinner, and we ended up having medium-rare filets, baked potatoes, and roasted garlic broccoli.  It was fucking great.  Ended up mostly just talking that night, although I keep wanting to play “Ticket to Ride”, the actual board game. One day.

Feb 1 Filet Mignon Night with Nicki & Sveta:

On Sunday, I endeavored to try to start the process of cleaning up some of Larry’s stuff.  As it is now, I can’t even touch his clothes or shoes, whether they’re in the closet or on the dresser.  It hurts too much to think about it and the tears, as explained above, come like clockwork.  So I thought I’d take it easy on myself and just try to clear out some of the bathroom pills and such.  Well, I did manage to clear out stuff that probably Larry should have thrown out long ago, as well as remove excess stuff.   Still couldn’t get rid of things like his glasses though.  It’s not like I can even wear his glasses as my head is too big for his frames; nor can I wear his pants or shoes, so it makes sense that I should probably work on those to go.  But it’s just, I don’t think I can bear to have the closet half empty, or the drawers only filled on my side, as right now, I’m not triggered when I walk into my bedroom.  There’s something comforting about his stuff being there still.  But as I type this with tears in my eyes, I know I have to start bracing myself for that, and maybe I have friends with me when I do, but I don’t even know if that will help.  Fuck all of this.

Yes, I’ve begun the process of seeing a therapist.  She’s come over to the house a few times, and it’s still been an assessment period, so I think the next time would be truly the first session?  But these first few times have felt like a way to talk about these things I’m feeling and I guess it helps.  I just want to see if the tunnel ends.

Later on Sunday, Nicki kept me company while we watched the Super Bowl.  Still don’t really care about it, but at least the game was interesting and the commericals were okay.  The half time show was awesomesauce:

Coq au Vin via Instapot!

No clue what we were doing.  We have been watching “For All Mankind” at that point, along with The Morning Show, ST:TNG, The Mandalorian, and Castle Rock Season 2.  It was actually Sunday when we made chicken coq au vin in the Instapot that night, which was fun and fairly successful!

Some Movies, Some Drinks, Some Videos

Well, that past week of time just went by and there were no interludes at all by me on this here website.  I pledge to do better, as I really do enjoy posting.  But last week was a little busy and rough, and I hope that there is good news ahead.  If not, I continue trudging forward and looking to make sure that good news does end up coming my way.

So maybe I’ll go in reverse chronological order and post the videos I just made this evening while Larry was making dinner.  I had realized that while I take lots and lots of pictures, there’s rarely much in the way of video of us together.  Or even by ourselves.  Not that I need to be in video (my Jeopardy! appearance attests to that), but hey, it’d be nice for posterity.  So here are some videos:

Apparently my voice is very high still.  One day puberty will come.  This next video is an instructional one as Larry demonstrates how to effectively drop hard pasta into boiling water while also being a very scenic display.

The Grammys were fun this year, and I loved that Adele, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars performed a lot.  I think Beyonce was robbed in either Record or Album of the Year – Adele could have taken one and Beyonce the other, but what can you do.  I liked that Adele recognized that too.  Beyonce’s video for “Hold Up” is still ridiculously awesome, as is the rest of Lemonade.

Last night was a lot of fun.  Larry & I were invited by our friend Amy, who we had met on our 2011 Mediterranean cruise, to meet her in LA with some friends to celebrate her birthday.   We Uber’d there and had a fun time catching up and talking with her friends, who quickly became our friends too, as they were huge fans of the movie Spy too, so yeah, good people.

We also went and saw 2 movies this weekend – on Saturday we saw John Wick: Chapter 2 and today we saw The LEGO Batman Movie.  Happily, both were great!

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Well, if you enjoyed the first John Wick, then by all means, go see this movie as it effectively picks up shortly after that first one ended.  The mayhem awoken by the events in the first movie don’t let up and Keanu Reeves’ John Wick only has more and more hell unleashed upon his world which he handles in gorgeous, stunning scenes.  Plot points that could take up a whole movie on their own get resolved in short, violent order and lead to the next epic takedown.  Happily, no dog gets killed in this one – but that poor little puppy in the first one really is the catalyst that changes John Wick’s life forever nonetheless.  If you haven’t seen the first movie, go and do so.  It’s insanely good.  But alas, if you don’t have the time, just know that John Wick is a retired assassin who gets dragged back into this underworld and effectively declares all-out war on it.  There are allies all around, and one of the best parts is the Continental Hotel and its status as a safe haven, but for how long and for whom is a question this movie wrestles with…  Honestly, this movie just kicks so much ass and needs to be seen to be believed.

Then today, we saw a much lighter movie!

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

If you saw The LEGO Movie from a few years ago, then you’ll appreciate where this year’s LEGO movie is coming from in terms of humor and creativity.  Will Arnett again voices our caped crusader Batman in this movie, which deals with Batman’s predicament in being unable to form lasting bonds with anyone due to the scars from losing his family.  Enter the endlessly charming Dick Grayson (Robin), the new Commissioner Gordon (Barbara Gordon), and his trustworthy butler, Alfred.  Don’t discount the importance of having a life-long nemesis in the Joker either!  Oh yeah, EVERY single DC character shows up in this, along with a very great number of surprise villains.  The movie is very cute, very funny, and has a lot of references that’ll make you chuckle if you catch on to them.   It’s a movie worth seeing, that’s for sure – although be warned it’s over 100 minutes, so don’t be like me and drink a medium soda and think you can hold it since the end must be coming soon.  The end is not coming right then – the movie has a surprisingly long Act 3.

Movies Seen in 2017:

Fantastic / Rave-worthy:

Very Good:

  • The LEGO Batman Movie

Okay / Wait to See at Home:

Settled In, It Seems

We’ve finally made it – all the big boxes are unpacked and disposed of.  It’s a thrilling sensation to be done and to be kind of almost all moved in at our new and smaller apartment.  All the work of getting shelving installed has been so satisfying too, as items are finding their real home and our home becomes livable too for us, as that is actually a thing we’ve been making ourselves deal with.  It’s interesting how much you choose to deal with when it’s something you can’t ignore, like boxes all stacked in your dining room area or piles of clothes and linens in your bedroom or an office overrun with crap…you make it all work regardless and get used to it.  But when you get things organized and reclaim that space, it is like, woah, that’s nice.

Yesterday was a productive day too, but I think I felt a little emotional about it as well.  There was the realization I had that Phase 1 of Moving is done and now it’s time to get settled in and make the place ours, and then start actually enjoying the apartment and amenities.  But then it was also realizing that we’re not done yet – just that the boxes are gone.  I actually just got my TV mount for the wall today, we have more shelving coming in for the wine glasses and bar area, and then there will be picture hangings and such.  It’s fun and great to have all this happen, but soooo exhausting.

In random tangents, both Larry & I are so glad to have some of our favorite Spring TV back:  Mad Men and Game of Thrones.  Mad Men‘s final season is airing and it’s been good but also sad because this is the LAST SEASON.  NOOOOO……!!!  It’s not clear where it’s headed, but one thing that does seem kind of apparent is that Don Draper is and will continue to be the same broken and flawed man he was from Season 1.  Game of Thrones is exciting this year as we’re finally at that expected divide when the TV show caught up to the books…and now the show is able to write its own interpretation of what happens next.  George R. R. Martin has given the showrunners an outline of what he has intended the overall story to encompass for the ending, but the details are likely changing regardless.  There are promises that characters will die even book readers will find surprising.   So, those shows are ongoing while Larry & I also are enjoying the third season of House of Cards on Netflix, although that has been slow-going for a few reasons, including my initial PwC travels and then moving.  But we didn’t let all that stop us from binge-watching Netflix’s other new series, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which is fucking awesome and funny as hell.

Alright, this was just a word-vomit post for today, but I need to keep trying to get back in the swing of posting and so here we are.  I have some more pics to share too, including a bigger batch from yesterday when Mom and Helen came over to visit.

April 9, 2015 – PwC All Hands in Santa Monica!

Last week there was an All Hands meeting for the group here in SoCal and it was held out on the Westside, kinda near my old stomping grounds.  The traffic was ridiculous, as expected, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.  Even though it felt like a longer ride, it was only an hour or so back to my home in Glendale…although that was with me leaving at 7pm.  I had looked earlier at 5pm and the trip was easily 1.5 hours.  Eff that.  I did enjoy being back on the beach though, but that’s just not enough for me to say I miss the Santa Monica area, as I don’t.

09-Apr-2015 17:34, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
09-Apr-2015 18:13, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, ISO 32
09-Apr-2015 18:13, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
 
09-Apr-2015 18:13, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
09-Apr-2015 18:14, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, ISO 32
 

April 11, 2015 – Final Stretch….

I have to say this is kind of misleading titling, as while it was a final stretch of boxes and installations, like I rambled about above, there’s still a lot of work.  But at least we’ve gotten so much crap off the floors!

More boxes on their way out
More boxes on their way out11-Apr-2015 12:40, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 250
Not just a pic of a bathroom, but a bathroom without boxes!
Not just a pic of a bathroom, but a bathroom without boxes!11-Apr-2015 12:40, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.042 sec, ISO 250
Goodwill stuff
Goodwill stuff11-Apr-2015 12:40, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 200
 
11-Apr-2015 19:57, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 320
11-Apr-2015 20:18, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 400
 

April 12, 2015 – Mom and Helen, Some Grilling, and More Home Improvement!

Helen came up to visit mom so they came over to see how we were doing in the getting settled effort.  Mom wasn’t impressed but I reminded her, gently, that it actually was MUCH better than when she saw it and it was a goddamn warzone.  We took them on a tour of the amenities as we hadn’t shown my mom that her last time here as there was work to be done then!  These pics are from the roof deck of the building we live in, not of our own private area.  Our grilling adventures for dinner later that evening were a bit educational – the grills provided around the complex are very nice, but they’re huge.  So we’ve realized that a large grill takes much more to heat up.  The El Pollo Loco chicken recipe requires indirect heat, so to do that in a big grill, you need to use more burners.  Lesson learned, hopefully.

12-Apr-2015 10:52, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 125
12-Apr-2015 10:52, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100
12-Apr-2015 10:53, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.059 sec, ISO 250
 
12-Apr-2015 11:08, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 160
12-Apr-2015 11:08, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 200
12-Apr-2015 11:16, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 160
 
12-Apr-2015 12:31, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
12-Apr-2015 12:31, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, ISO 32
12-Apr-2015 12:31, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
 
12-Apr-2015 12:31, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, ISO 32
12-Apr-2015 12:31, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, ISO 32
12-Apr-2015 12:32, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, ISO 32
 
12-Apr-2015 12:32, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, ISO 32
12-Apr-2015 12:32, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
12-Apr-2015 12:32, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32