Friday, November 30, 2012

A Slipper By Any Other Name . . . Is a Biscuit

Today's topic is nicknames. You already know how I got the name Gila Monster. Here are some other terms that I use.

In his biscuits and M&M pleasures
Biscuits and Pleasures
I can't even remember how long it's been that Aaron started calling slippers "biscuits." I don't even know why (and I don't think he does, either). But that's what he calls them, and now we have loads of people all over the country calling them that as well.

"Pleasures" are flannel pajama pants. This term was coined by Aaron's sister Stephanie who turned us on to them years ago and said that when you put them on fresh out of the dryer, they are "pants o' pleasure." We've shortened it to pleasures, and it can also refer to yoga pants or sweats; basically your comfy clothing.

So, the next time you get home in the evening after a long day, or tomorrow morning when you're up and making coffee, put on your biscuits and pleasures.

This is what we call Tabasco sauce. 'Nuff said.

Spidey, Sappy and Boo
Spidey is Aaron. This is a great nickname for him because he climbs on everything. He should also be great at yoga because he can position his body in ways that most of us can't comprehend.

Sappy is his sister Stephanie. Our niece Lauren couldn't say "Aunt Stephanie" when she was little, so it came out "Aunt Sappy," and the name stuck. Lauren also went through a phase in which everyone was Uncle so I was Uncle Gila and Steph was Uncle Sappy, but she now has the genders figured out.

Boo is the youngest sister, Cynthia. That nickname has been around since before I met her, and Aaron still calls her that. This can get confusing because to nieces and nephews, Aaron is "Uncle Boo." (And that one started when our oldest niece Jacqueline was little and Aaron would play peek-a-boo with her.)

Bad Boiler
This refers to an upset stomach. It was really funny when Jacqueline was visiting us (she was maybe 5 at the time?) and I wasn't feeling well. Aaron kept saying "Aunt Gwen has a bad boiler." Then Jacqueline went home and one day in the grocery store they walked down the aisle with the Pepto Bismol and she asked her dad "is that what you get when you have a bad boiler?" 

You might need this if you've had too much Joy.

You know the saying, "six of one, half dozen of the other," meaning that with either option you get the same result? Well, Aaron used to say "six and a half dozen." When I finally clued him in to the real phrase, I said, "what you're saying is 78." And so now, whenever we have a choice of two similar options, we just say "78."

So there's a little insight into our secret code words. What are some of yours?

Stay tuned,

The Gila

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Restaurant Stop #3 - Cup o Joe

I have to confess that Cup o Joe is the one place on our list that we will visit more than once. That happens on Sunday mornings when we don't get coffee made at home so we swing by here on our way to church. We decided to allow this caveat only because we get the coffee to go. But now we had arrived at the scheduled visit, so on a brisk Saturday morning, Aaron and I walked to Cup o Joe for some breakfast.

For those readers who aren't familiar, Cup o Joe is our local alternative to the "evil" Starbucks empire. They have eight locations in the Columbus area, including one at the airport where Aaron always gets pre-flight coffee. It is an offshoot of Stauf's Coffee Roasters, also local, and they partner with locally-owned suppliers for the bagels and sweets they sell.

Aaron ordered his usual 7:01 A.M., which is the coffee of the day plus a shot of espresso. I usually get an Almond Joy latte, but today I decided on a seasonal coffee, Pumpkin Spice, to which I added cream and cinnamon. I had an onion bagel with cream cheese, Aaron had a slice of roasted vegetable quiche, and we shared an apricot scone. I don't know where the scones come from, but they are delicious, and the apricot was a new flavor for us; we'll be getting it again for sure... when we can go back.

Obviously, this isn't one of the more exciting stops, but it's still a solid choice for a weekend breakfast, and their coffee rocks. This particular location is also connected to Mojoe Lounge, which is the next stop on our journey.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nieces and Nephews

I've been participating in "30 Days of Thanksgiving" on Facebook, but today's thankful post deserves more space so I'm writing it here. Today I'm thankful for our four nieces and two nephews. Here they are, along with some of my favorite pictures of them:

Jacqueline Marie is a sophomore in college studying animation. She's talented, my shopping buddy, her smile is amazing, and I want her to be my personal makeup artist.

Jeremy Michael is a high school junior. He's the middle child, the peacemaker, the one who asks questions like "what if the sky was purple?" He is currently on the high school wrestling team.

James Matthew is in 8th grade and he's the comedian in the family, always coming up with "James-isms." He plays basketball and is trying out for wrestling. He has eyelashes to die for, and I love his hair.

Lauren Reay is in 7th grade. She's musical, athletic and beautiful. She won her conference championship in cross country and also plays basketball and softball.

Julia Lynn is in 2nd grade and she's our little princess. She's also really smart and she's pretty good on the soccer field.

Kathleen Anne (Kate) is four years old. She's a fierce soccer player, she loves Dora and Santa, and she has the cutest dimples.

When the kids come to visit there are two things that always happen: our M&Ms supply decreases, and we get a fashion show of my shoes. This year Lauren actually fits in my shoes, and I gave Jacqueline two pairs of my boots.

Every other Thanksgiving we are fortunate enough to have all the nieces and nephews with us so I make them get a picture taken all together. Jeremy wasn't with us this year due to wrestling, but here are some of the Thanksgivings past:

I love you guys and I'm so proud to be your Aunt Gwen/Aunt Gila (and I know Aaron/Uncle Boo feels the same).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Raindrops on Roses

A little departure from the Restaurant Odyssey, I give you Gila's Favorite Things Vol. 1:

Our neighbors. Aaron and I moved to Italian Village five years ago, and we often say that move was the second best decision we ever made (after marrying each other). The neighborhood deserves a blog post of its own, and someday you'll get to read all about it.

Pre-Cancer Crawl 2012

Beach vacations. I love the sound of the water, the enormity of the sky and sea, the solitude of losing myself in a book with my toes in the sand, the tropical drinks.

Myrtle Beach, October 2012. Coming this weekend: Destin, FL!

Vindaloo. You probably know that Aaron is the cook at our house, but this is one of the few meals that I make. It's a spicy Indian stew-like dish that (in my circles) is now also known as "Gwendaloo." I freaking love this stuff.

It may not look appetizing to you, but it's my most favorite meal.

This guy:

Pretty Nails

The name of this color is (for real)
"Call me Gwen-ever." Also note the new ring
which is currently serving as my wedding ring.
I got this idea from In Style magazine and
recently did it in shades of brown.

Musicals. If you recognize the title of this post, you get it. When I was growing up, my mom had soundtrack albums as well as sheet music of Broadway musicals. On our recent road trip, Mom and I listened to two channels on her satellite car radio: college football and the Broadway channel. My high school produced a musical every year and I was involved in those. Next weekend I'm traveling to Pennsylvania to see this year's offering, Les Misérables.

Our cats, Bella, Gato and our newest addition Clover 
(formerly known as Mr. Handsome until we found out he is really a she).

Bella's "in the bag" and Gato looks like
he wants in there, too.
After four weeks, Clover finally feels
comfortable enough to get on the couch.

That's it for this episode. Stay tuned!

The Gila

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stop #2 - Bar 23: Aaron says, "Never again."

Aaron wanted to write this post, so I've allowed him to be the guest blogger:

Our great restaurant odyssey continued when Gwen and I went to Bar 23 for dinner and drinks recently.  The day had all the makings of a great, maybe even epic evening.  We had both arranged our schedules to be able to leave the house on a beautiful Friday afternoon to walk down to enjoy a nice early dinner, have some cocktails, and see where the evening took us.  

Neither Gwen nor I have been to Bar 23 so it was a new experience for both of us.  While I personally haven't been able to confirm this, Gwen is somewhat certain that Bar 23 is one of the oldest tenants on the actual I-670 cap.  Friends have told us "I think it was once a men's fashion shop," or "wasn't there a nail salon there once?" or similar unclear recollections.  I suppose if I did some major research (or cared a bit more) I could figure this out, but suffice to say, Bar 23 has been there a while.  [Editor's note: while the 670 cap has been around since 2005, Bar 23 has been in existence since 2008.] It is a large space - a huge interior with bar and 5-6 flat screen TVs, crazy lights and cameras on the ceiling, and an enviable patio on the sidewalk.  My sense is this is a trendy place where lots of beautiful people hang out into the early hours to see or be seen.  When we arrived at 4:00 we were the first patrons of the day, having watched the bartender unlock the door as we approached.  As neither of us had eaten anything substantial yet we were anxious to get some food, but in service to our many readers we also ordered cocktails from the happy hour menu.  Gwen had a Mangotini and I had a Pomtini.  I can't tell you exactly what was in them but let's just say they were tropical fruity neon colored.  With booze.  Well chilled, they arrived quickly as we surveyed the menu.  

Pomtini and Mangotini

Obviously Bar 23 isn't a place known for its high cuisine but the menu wasn't horrible - an assortment of appetizers, a few entrees, and sandwiches were available.  Think bar food, I suppose.  We both ordered paninis - portabella/goat cheese for Gwen and the Italian for me - and we got an appetizer of pot stickers.  On a bed of shredded lettuce (right out of the bag I suspect) came the pot stickers, with a dark syrupy dipping sauce.  Since we ate them and I'm alive to write this review they'd classify as edible, but the freezer burn was the first hint that our dining experience wasn't going to be awesome.

With our second round of cocktails came the paninis.  I won't bore you knowledgeable readers with the makings of a great panini - essentially delicious ingredients between two thick, grill-marked slices of Italian bread, right? - but there was none of that here.  The sandwiches weren't so much grilled as maybe pan fried for like 30 seconds. The bread was soggy rather than crunchy, and the ingredients were certainly not fresh.  

Panini or "pa-no-no?" But I will say the garlic kettle chips were tasty.

This being said, both Gwen and I finished our meals completely since we were pretty hungry.  On our walk home we agreed that, had we been nourished earlier in the day, we probably wouldn't have finished our sandwiches.  Was it horrific? No.  But I'd have to be hungrier than I was that day, and all of their competition closed, to ever return.

Sorry, Bar 23.  We're sure you are good people, you probably do a great business selling fruity drinks and beers to beautiful people, and those beautiful people get inebriated enough to order some food that you provide.  Hell, Gwen and I have both spent many a dollar at your type of establishment in our years, and who knows, being beautiful people ourselves we'll do it again someday.  But probably not at your place.
For those of you interested in our social scene - we left Bar 23 around 5:30 pm, full but disappointed.  Not the formula typically needed for an epic evening.  But please remember we live where we do.  Home - beer - sun - porch - neighbors - music - stereo - dancing - bed at 2:00 am.  Epic.


Stay tuned - I promise there will be more to come very soon!

The Gila