Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wine for the New Addition

Please welcome the newest member of our family: this little guy named Tuco.

We got him from Border Collie rescue about 3 weeks ago, and he's now 11 weeks old. In true puppy fashion, he has completely taken over our lives.

I have wanted a puppy since before i could talk, and when we weren't able to get one, I used to make my mom take me to a local pet store, and then would proceed to hold the puppies and cry.

Steve and I have been talking about getting a dog from practically the moment we met, and it took us 10 years to finally get one. You'd think that would have given us plenty of time to fully be prepared, but it seems to be one of those things in life for which one can never really be prepared.

The moment we got him home, we immediately felt at a total loss as to what the hell to do with him!

How much food do we feed him, and how often? How often does he need to pee? Poop? How often should we exercise him and for how long? What are all the vaccinations he needs? How much interaction can he have with people, places and other dogs before he's fully vaccinated? How do you control the desire to play tug of war with his leash, bark at us and eat my socks? What the hell is "crate training" and how does one do it? How do we take care of his coat, paws, teeth and ears? What the hell have we gotten ourselves into??!!

But gradually, as with everything, we have taken baby steps together and started to find our way.

The crate has turned out to be everybody's best friend, as the puppy seems to immediately relax and settle down the moment he goes in it, though the first few days were tricky, since the moment we walked away from him in the crate, he immediately started such a cacophony of whining and gibbering, you would have thought we had about fifteen different animals living with us instead of one.

This whining ranged from the chattering screech of a Gibbon in heat, then would give way to a sheep's bleating, and finally would settle down to a shivering quavering sigh, which would have been right at home on the fainting couch. He was like an episode of Wild Kingdom.

Housetraining has been pretty smooth as well, though getting up every few hours throughout the night to make sure he doesn't go in his crate, is not very fun.

And we have had a couple of accidents, all of which were our fault, as we let him out of his crate and let him get very excited before taking him outside to wee.

Two of these events occurred when I came home from work and he hadn't seen me in several hours, and the joy of our reunion proved too much for his little body and he wound up piddling on the floor.

I am ashamed to admit that there is a little bit of an ego boost in this: after all, when was the last time someone or some thing was so happy to see you they actually lost control of their bladder?

We have also been through the first vet visit, which started out very well with Tuco and the vet playing on the floor together, but then sadly took a wrong turn when the vet picked Tuco up and squeezed his as-yet-undescended-testicles to make sure they were where they should be.

After that Tuco moved as far away from the vet as he could without leaving the room, giving him a look over his shoulder which clearly said: "Dude. Really. Not cool."

All in all, I will say I think we are off to a pretty good start. Tuco now will sit, lie down and give a paw for a treat. He is clearly most excited about the paw trick, since he has started doing it completely unprompted, to both me and Steve as well as people he randomly meets on the street.

Really, it doesn't get much cuter than that.

My Wine for the New Addition is actually a cocktail that we serve at the restaurant where I work. It's called a Corpse Reviver #2, and it has gin, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau, lemon juice and a splash of Absinthe.

I am not normally a gin-lover, and sometimes the licorice flavor of Absinthe can be too much for me, but there is something about the combination of the ingredients that yields a delicious cocktail.

It's light, refreshing, slightly sweet, and the Absinthe gives it just the right taste of something special at the end.

It's just the pick-me-up one might need after a night of waking up with the piddling Gibbon-puppy, and I promise if you come by the restaurant I'll make you one, but first you have to give me your paw.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wine for Chasing a Pig, etc.

People will sometimes ask me if I miss acting at all, now that I have transitioned into the world of wine.

I still go on the occasional audition, for local theatre and commercials, but the truth is, for the moment, I really don't miss it at all. I'm sure that at some point in the future, I will get a hankering to be on stage again, but for the moment, I am not missing the endless cycle of waiting by the phone for word of an audition, then preparing for that audition as if my life depended on it, going to the audition and sitting in the waiting room with at least 30 other women who are dressed exactly as I am, all muttering their lines to themselves, just as I am, and trying to steal glances at the competition and come up with reasons why they are better or worse than I am (and believe me, we are all doing that); then going home after the audition and agonizing over what I did or didn't do in the audition, what I should have done differently or better, and waiting by the phone again for the next few days to hear if I booked the job or not. And in this profession, the odds are against it.

Of course, getting to perform can be a wonderful thing, but along the way, there are some bizarre things that one is asked to do as an actor. I did a play in Los Angeles at the beginning of my career, where I had to, at one point in the play, dance around and howl like a wolf. Don't ask me why; I don't remember.

One night, while I was doing this, I tripped over my pant-leg and went flying, howling all the while. I'm not sure anybody else noticed or cared, though this could have been because there were only two people in the audience at the time, one of whom was my sister, and the other was, I'm pretty sure, asleep.

The most bizarre aspect of auditioning can come during commercial auditions, when so much of what you have to do is look a certain way, and have a knack for reactions.

So often an audition will consist of going into a dimly lighted room, standing in front of the camera and having the director tell you to react to various scenarios: "You're setting the table and waiting for your boyfriend to come over"; "He's really late"; "He's arrived with flowers!"; "He's arrived with nothing."; "He's wearing a sombrero"; "He's wearing nothing"; "He's wearing an ape costume"; "He is an ape". You get the idea.

Recently, I got an email with the casting information for a commercial for a company which shall remain nameless. Here is what they were looking for:

A woman who was good at physical comedy, "will chase pig, etc." (They specified that the wardrobe was "casual-chasing after pig, etc."). I love the etc. after the pig references; you can just hear some person saying: "You know, the wardrobe is casual-just wear what you wear for pig-chasing, etc."

Then they were looking for women who were willing to kiss men and women on the lips, and men who were also willing to kiss both men and women on the lips.

Finally, they were also looking for a "Hot Woman" who was busty and looked good in a bikini, who didn't mind doing the whole shoot in a hot tub, and who wasn't afraid of goats.

You think I'm kidding? I wish I was kidding. All I could think when I read this notice was: man, am I glad I spent all those years and all that money studying Shakespeare. It's really going to come in handy when I'm tongue-kissing women, chasing pigs and getting frisky with a goat in a hot tub (all while wearing a bikini and looking busty, of course).

Ask me again if I miss acting.

My wine for Chasing pigs, etc. is actually a beer. A Lindemans Kriek (cherry) Lambic to be precise. A Lambic is a fermented beverage which can only be made in Brussels, due to the wild yeasts that enter the fermentation vats and which only exist in that part of the world.

The Lambic begins as wheat and malt which are fermented along with some hops. After a rather lengthy process, the brew is aged in oak barrels, whereupon various fruits or fruit juices such as raspberry or black cherry are added, sparking an additional fermentation.

At Masa's, we actually sometimes serve this lambic with dessert. It sounds like an odd thing to do, but the Kriek actually bears more resemblance to the sparkling-sweet Bugey-Cerdon we serve with dessert than it does to any beer.

It is slightly sweet, juicy, bubbly, and with enough cherry flavor to pair wonderfully with our chocolate dessert as well as with the rhubarb one. It's been a big hit with customers, and I recommend you surprise your dinner guests with it; they'll have fun being introduced to something new and unexpected.

Plus it's the perfect refreshment for hot-tub time....when you're busty....with a goat....after you've been chasing a pig, etc.