Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brush up your Shakespeare

Brush up your Shakespeare
Start quoting him now
Brush up your Shakespeare
And the women you will wow

If you can't be a ham and do Hamlet
They will not give a damn or a damlet
Just recite an occasional sonnet
And your lap'll have honey upon it

When your baby is pleading for pleasure
Let her sample your Measure for Measure
Brush up your Shakespeare
And they'll all kow-tow

We've embarked on another project! Indeed, we are brushing up our Shakespeare by deciding to read A Midsummer Night's Dream. I got the idea from the book Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire by Rafe Esquith. In the book, he outlines how his class of fifth graders spend a year preparing to perform one of Shakespeare's plays. Matt and I decided to adapt his method so we too could enjoy the Bard. We chose A Midsummer Night's Dream because Matt had just read the Neil Gaiman version and it is the only play of Shakespeare that I have seen more than once.

Here is the plan. We will plan to finish one scene each week. On Sunday we will assign the scene. During the week we will read the scene independently. Then, sometime during the weekend, we will get together and read the scene out loud. We've already divided up the parts. We also have a CD on order from the library to help supplement our reading. After we have read and listened to the scene, we will watch it. During all of that comes the discussion. Depending on what is going on, we may blog about it. Do you want to read along with us? This week we are reading Act I, Scene I. In the meantime, we leave you with more Cole Porter lyrics.

If your goil is a Washington Heights dream
Treat the kid to "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
If she then wants an all-by-herself night
Let her rest ev'ry 'leventh or "Twelfth Night"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Christmas at Restaurant Bleu

I got Matt Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog for Christmas. He took me to the Western Culinary Institute's Restaurant Bleu. Because of our busy social lives (hee) we made the reservation for a date long after Christmas.

Restaurant Bleu is run by the Western Culinary Institute and provides the happy coexistence of a place for culinary students to perfect their skills and people to eat good food for not much money. You can get a five-course dinner for $24.95 per person and lunches cost even less. Three course meals are also available. We went for the five course. You knew we would, didn't you. The food was very, very good, as was the bottle of wine we drank with our meal.

Our meal opened with bread and butter (three kinds).
Matt chose the creamy mushroom and goose vegetable soup.
Patricia chose the french onion soup.
Matt had the appetizer of bubbling shrimp in tomato sauce and feta cheese.

Patricia had the charcuterie plate of assorted salami and other smoked or cured meats with gribiche sauce, mustards and lady apples. The menu also mentioned gherkins, but they didn't appear with her dish.

We both chose the bitter greens and candied walnuts and blue cheese with apple cider vinaigrette.

Matt had the sauteed bacon wrapped scallops with mushroom risotto and fried capers.

Patricia had the grilled salmon with wasabi cream sauce, fried polenta cakes and white braised squash (which was yellow squash, she wasn't fooled)

For dessert Patricia chose the cheese plate with assorted cheese and fruit.

Matt had the almond creme profiteroles with chocolate ganache and chocolate gelato.
(Patricia forgot to take a picture until it was too late)
Apparently on Friday nights the students get to create the menu on their own. I think they did a fine job.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Matt won the raffle at the work holiday party and got free tickets to the Regal Cinemas. He gratefully avoided Portland Winterhawk tickets, which his hippie colleague won (sadly for him.) His boss told him to go see "Slumdog Millionaire" as it was very inspirational. Matt does not need to be inspired, but he heard it was a very good movie anyway from another source. Matt told Patricia about the tickets, and knowing that she doesn't like that chain of movie theaters, he offered to spend the two tickets on himself and spare her from the theater chain she so despises. She remarked that a free movie was a free movie, and they decided to see Frost/Nixon.

It was cold. Matt was bundled up like Nanook of the North. Patricia just wore her usual jacket and scarf and walked quickly to the train to warm up. We stopped in the convenience store for "contraband" to sneak in as Patricia likes to stick it to the theater chain whenever possible. As we were buying our goodies, the woman at the counter asked a customer who had just bought something but was hanging around near the door to either come in where she could see him or leave. She didn't like trying to help us and watch him at the same time. He got incensed and stated that he already bought something. She told him to come inside anyway and when she looked back to take Patricia's money he grabbed another bag of sunflower seeds and ran for the Max. Matt shouted "He took one" but the woman just serenely said, "yeah, see." and let him run off.

Then we left the convenience store and a street kid asked us if we liked poetry. Patricia nicely told him that we were late. "Whatever, scum" he yelled after us as we walked off, and turned to ask someone else the same question. Another "Whatever scum" was yelled at that person too.

The line for the movies was long and as we stood there an employee came and announced that "Both Slumdog Millionaires, Revolutionary Road, Milk, Defiance, and The Reader are all sold out." People in front of us left the line. We hoped that the remaining people wouldn't all buy tickets to Frost/Nixon before we could.

But they didn't. When we bought them the clerk said, "You better go get a seat, it's going to sell out." So we did. We raced up and got our seats and then Matt went to wait in line for the bathroom. Yes. The men's bathroom had a line! But only because it had been closed. Meanwhile, Patricia had to do her best to ignore the new Nightmare on Elm Street promo without Matt. It was very difficult. After the lame 20 (now called "First Look") the previews came on. Patricia loves previews. Frost/Nixon was good, except for the part where things were tense and the man next to us (who incidentally didn't like the previews and made a disgusted noise every time a new one started) got all nervous and started twisting his watch face in a distracted fashion. It made a clickclickclickclick, clickclickclick noise. Patricia, who is her mother's daughter, finally leaned over and asked him to stop. He did.

On the way out of the movie, Matt saw his old wrestling coach, this time with long hair. Wanting to avoid questions about Matt's several years of absences, Matt snuck around the corner Metal Gear Solid style and confirmed that it was him. Matt did not tranq his old coach. That would be a little too MGS.

Then we went home. That journey was uneventful. It was a good and exciting evening.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to come out... snows again! This snow took me entirely by surprise, as I hadn't heard anything about it. With the "big snow" over, I reverted to my usual habit of not paying attention to what the weather is supposed to do.
It was a light snow, but it didn't melt quickly, though cool things like this were gone after the first few hours.
Hopefully this will be the end.