The Honeybadger

Smash came over last week and asked if she could make me a cocktail. I’m a really good friend, so all I asked in return is that she write a guest post so that you could recreate this wonder for yourself at home.

P.S. You don’t have to serve it in a hipster-friendly mason jar, but it helps.

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Welcome to my first guest post!  I’m honored to be here.

I have been blessed with rather accurate taste buds and a knack for guessing right about which flavors, in what amounts, will be complementary.  The most fun and popular use of this talent takes form inside a cocktail shaker.

Last week I had a rather fabulous girls’ night in with J at her humble abode.  Armed with snacks, nesting materials, and a double feature, we were almost ready for action.  She had recently read a recipe for lemonade on one of her favorite treat-centered blogs, so we decided that would be the inspiration for our cocktails for the night.  I squeezed the daylights out of three lemons, emptied the ice trays into the ice bucket and refilled them, and asked J where to find the remaining ingredients for the lemonade.  Sugar?  No sugar.  This is a Paleo household.  But we have honey!  So, the actual lemonade recipe was hung up for another day.  J mentioned that she had seen somewhere a drink with rosemary, and asked if I wanted to dabble with some of the fresh basil we’d gotten, or perhaps with some rosemary.  Brilliant.

I poured a tiny splash of gin into the mortar, added about 8 healthy shakes worth of rosemary, and ground (I love that they have a mortar and pestle!)*  After a few minutes, I poured in a little more gin so I could swirl it around the mortar and pour all the precious ginny ground rosemary into the shaker.  Next came ice, 4 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice, a healthy pour of gin (a count of 4, probably around 3 shots worth), and two strong squeezes of clover honey (approximately 3tbsp).  Shake vigorously and pour over one massive ice cube, with the slightest little champagne float, and you will have about two deliciously well-balanced, flavorful, and rather strong cocktails!

This drink is not only a treat for the taste buds (and for your date when you are just squiffy enough that you can’t stop kissing him), it’s also aesthetically pleasing in color and has charming flecks of rosemary and the occasional bead of lemon pulp. I’ve named this delicious blend of honey, spice, gin and tart, “The Honeybadger.”  Make it, drink it, love it, share it.

(After completing the first batch of Honeybadgers, grind your next round’s gin-rosemary concoction and let stand in about an ounce of gin while you imbibe your first round.  This will bring that delightful rosemary flavor forward even more, but you don’t have to sit and stare at sad booze you can’t consume for 20 minutes!  It’s just there waiting patiently for you when you’re ready for round two.)

*Don’t have a mortar and pestle?  Yeah, that’s normal.  Neither do I.  At home I use a shot glass and the rounded butt of a kitchen knife to grind spices… just be careful with your hands, hmm?  Don’t have a shot glass?  That’s not normal.  Go get shot glasses, and a mortar and pestle while you’re at it.

-Smash

It Was The Best of Times, The End.

So, Friendfest felt mostly like this during the day…

…and more like this at night…

…and it should be recorded for posterity that a floating beer pong table was mostly responsible for the transition from the former to the latter. Well, the table and these little things, though some people did protest that they contained “too much tequila,” which, huh? I don’t understand those words.

Palm Springs greeted us warmly (110 in the shade, baby), which meant the pool was essentially a giant bathtub. Most of us found creative ways to stay cool, though.

And when we couldn’t, we just reveled in the fact that we were all together. Honestly, that was my favorite part of my wedding weekend (other than the whole marriage part), just handing in my bride card and in exchange getting the people I love all in one place. Getting to do it again a year later feels like cheating…if the correct response to cheating is a total lack of guilt and a desire to repeat your conduct as soon as possible. Seriously, I love these humans in a way I can only express to you in blurry Instagram photos.

So yes, these people and their antics. (Most adorably, the adoption of a “talk like Scooby Doo” rule during King’s Cup, which resulted in our poor new addition being hailed as “RAAANNNE!” all weekend.) Add to that mix an amazing chef for whom “cooking is my vacation,”* and you have created the weekend about which I dreamt during bar study. (Actual dreams were had about eating Salpy’s garlic paste while sitting by a pool. And I am not ashamed.)

Cliff Notes: It was the best collective idea possible, and may it be repeated forever and ever, amen.

*This is a direct quote.

Fizbo’s Demise

A few weeks ago, our beloved Baller came to visit. It was SO wonderful having her here, even though we were (sensing a theme here?) forced to spend a lot of her visit in coffee shops, learning all of the law. But, she (as ballers are wont to do) definitely made the best of it, and explored Boston on her own. (I guess after you tackle Australia solo, one city is child’s play).

We did take her to Giacomo’s, though, (because we care about her as a person) and tried to make up for our lackluster hosting with butternut squash ravioli and playfully grumpy waiters. It was fantastic as usual (seriously, if you ever find yourself in Boston, it is a mandatory stop), but what happened on the way out the door was even better.

We’re walking along, an intelligent group of conversating adults, when we passed this ice cream cone smashed on the ground.

It didn’t even really blip on my radar, but Baller leapt over to that square of sidewalk like it was her own personal frozen treat that had just bitten the dust, and yelled, “SAD!!! Sad. A clown died there.”

Just…what?

And that is why I love her.

An Affirmation of Previously Held Beliefs

My darling maid of honor and the man I married have a lot in common. They’re incredibly friendly, curious, and athletic. They were probably both puppies in a former life. They are also both blond, which is pretty much irrelevant.

However, they also share a profound love of a game they like to call, “Let’s Convince Her to Go Camping.” The “her” is me, an individual who was recently caught up in that game and is consequently covered in bug bites…but still somehow very much in love with both of these scoundrels.

The Culprits

Now, in their collective defense, I was a willing (if temporarily insane) participant in this latest excursion. Both M and A.Bo’s boyfriend were having birthdays soon, and we hadn’t been to the Cape yet (despite living here for three years…law school, you are just embarrassing everyone). Somehow those two facts merged into a plan to surprise the men with camping at the Cape for a weekend. A. Bo says this was my idea. If so, it was only because I was distracted by the boatload of brownie points that were to be mine once M was made aware that I had voluntarily gone camping in his honor. You guys, I can’t even count that high.

Despite the fact that it involved flesh-eating bugs and sleeping on the ground, (totally understand why people do this for fun) the trip actually gave us a chance to be with several of our favorite people (Andrew came too!) and meet some new faces. This group shot of our Troop Beverly Hills is brought to you by Mike, a dude at a fire pit half-way down the beach whom A. Bo somehow convinced to come play iPhone photographer. Be careful around her, the people-wrangling skills are not to be underestimated.

I will have you know that, actually, camping is not all bad. Since we were at the Cape, there was a lot of time to do this:

You know, play beach volleyball. Or sit on a towel and watch beach volleyball. However you personally happen to roll. There was also time to sit around a campfire and drink whisky and make s’mores. I may not like dirt, but I am firmly in favor of Johnny Walker and chocolate. (Side note: what is it about s’mores? One obviously great ingredient + two elements that in real life would merit a resounding “eh” = oh my everloving melted sugar high. That’s the kind of math to which I could’ve applied myself in high school.)

Chocolate and lounging aside, the best part was realizing how lucky I am to have these two in my life. A. Bo knocked herself out to plan this trip. She coordinated everything while I was in finals, brought us extra tents, shopped for all the food…this kid, I swear. And M really was so flattered that I had faced mosquitos for him that, by the end of the weekend, I was getting “survivor of a personal tragedy” level compliments. “I am just so proud of you…this experience is making me see you in a whole new light…thank you for tapping into these reserves of strength just for me!” (To refresh, we were just…camping. Like, not in Bosnia.)

So despite their love of the (previously aforementioned) game, I seriously count these two tow-heads among my blessings.

You know, when I get tired of counting the mosquito bites.

27 1/2 by 27 1/2

Maybe it’s just the looming feeling that the bar is imparting to my life these days, but I feel a little compelled to pump up the “human” part of my life. It doesn’t need to be swallowed by the law. Well, it kind of does for the next month, but after that, I want to reach for more balance.

I’ve never made a list like this before, but I don’t believe in waiting until January 1st to start a new life practice anyway. So, here is a list of things I’d like to accomplish before the earth gets a chance to rotate again…

1. Pass the California Bar Exam the first time around. (I guess this one is obvious, but it’s earned the number one slot for this rotation).

2. Go to ballet class at least once a week.

3. Actually make it past barre consistently.

4. Become more re-attuned to my body, eating, and fitness plans so that I feel like I have my dancer body back instead of this more athletic situation.

5. Do one pull-up. (What? I like contradictions.)

6. Post at least twice a week on this blog.

7. Move the blog to a hosted site and actually configure the design in a way that looks somewhat professional.

8. Go to Spain.

9. Attend the first ever annual FriendFest! (I am embarrassingly excited about this one).

10. Buy a bar cart for our new apartment and stock it with everything so that I can make any guest any cocktail upon request.

11. Have a living space that feels like it reflects us and the things (and people) we love.

12. Use the Rosetta Stone and become somewhat conversational in Spanish.

13. Speak to all my closest friends once a week. (In person or on the phone, ideally.)

14. Institute a girl-only night so that I see my (local) female friends on a weekly basis. (I’m thinking a standing brunch date sounds like a really good idea…)

15. Paint something good enough to hang in our apartment. (I used to love to paint before high school, and just totally let it go.)

16. Go to New Orleans.

17. Read at least two books a month.

18. Buy fresh flowers for our apartment every week (or so), and arrange them in all the rooms. (Such an inexpensive and fast way to make sure you wake up every morning and are greeted with beauty).

19. See my family at least every other week.

20. Talk to Dan at least once a week.

21. Go on a real, get dressed up, wear perfume and meet at the restaurant date once a week. (With M). (Obviously).

22. Have a perfume wardrobe. (Scent has always been my most immediate and important sensory impression, and I’ve always felt like my mood can be changed immediately by a spritz of a different perfume. I love it, and yet it’s something I never buy for myself.)

23. Have an edited, adult wardrobe that’s stocked enough that getting dressed for work every morning, for brunch with friends and for dates with M are not sources of stress (and hopefully even fun).

24. Have an operational budget.

25. Pick a cause in which I feel invested, and start offering my time and money.

26. Learn to make at least ten totally new paleo dishes.

27. Take a weekend trip somewhere with just my female friends.

27 1/2. Be a delightful human being as often as possible.

What do you guys think? Any suggestions/substitutions?

Little more of this, little less Rule Against Perpetuities.

Little more of this, little less Rule Against Perpetuities.

We Can Never Forget His Birthday

The last time I showed up at a hospital because of an impending birth, I was back home within the hour, tucking into some macaroni and cheese and laughing at Mej doing the grandparent voices in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was mildly aware of the gravity of the occasion (my brother was being born, after all), but I was only seven, and not fully cognizant of what was transpiring in the delivery room. I just knew I had tossed every lucky penny in every fountain, and blown out every birthday candle, with the same wish (“I want a little guy to play with!”) and soon that wish would be granted.

Recently, I was lucky enough to see that same wish granted for our good friends…only this time, there was no delicious cheesy pasta to temper the immensity of the experience.

Arriving at the hospital...the first time!

Arriving at the hospital…the first time!

A few weeks before Dane was born, Ron and Trina asked if I would film his birth. I was totally honored that they felt we were close enough to share that seminal a moment, and of course I said yes…and then wondered if I should watch a few on YouTube so that my first reaction to a human being entering the world didn’t result in fainting. (“Um, no, I didn’t get any footage of your firstborn…and I broke your camera when I passed out cold. Sorry!”)

We were “on call” starting on Monday morning. I woke up to a text from Ron saying that Trina was laboring at home, and they would let us know when to head to the hospital. Around 10:30 that night (aka FOREVER if you are waiting for a fun baby to be born, and are instead stuck studying for the bar) we headed to the hospital. Of course, because we wanted to fit in some pregnancy cliches, we first ran to a few different convenience stores to find the right brand of crackers for Trina. (“We can’t take her regular Wheat Thins! She is in labor! Where are the reduced fat ones? What do you mean you don’t carry them??”) It was so fun to be on this side of the experience first. Honestly, it make me much more comfortable (prospectively) about asking people to help me when I’m pregnant/in labor. We were so incredibly excited to meet the baby and witness this actually happening in real life…forget crackers, I would have stood on my head.

Anyway, so we get to the hospital, take blurry excited pictures in the entryway, hand over the crackers, and…wait. Several episodes of Community later, Ron came out looking semi-exhausted and told us to go home. Apparently “labor” was not interested in the fact that we wanted to meet Dane immediately, and had decided to return again another day.

So, back to the waiting game…until a certain day which was already fantastic for other reasons. Mostly because this guy…

…happened to be born on it, twenty-seven years prior. Correct: Dane was born on M’s birthday. At the exact same time. If that’s not a clue that this new human being is destined for greatness, I don’t know what is. (Maybe the fact that both his parents are great themselves. Whatever. You see the point I’m going for here).

Round two at the hospital happened so fast, there wasn’t really time to absorb things as they were happening. Ron called as we were finishing breakfast, with the instruction “Come now! But not so fast that you hurt yourself.” We figured a cab was a good compromise. I left M in the waiting room, and Ron swiped me in through the giant double doors of the delivery wing.

Being present at a birth was overwhelming. I rounded the corner into Trina’s room, Ron pressed the video camera into my hands and turned back around to her, and suddenly I was a fly on the wall, overlooking the most intimate experience possible. Granted, there were also two nurses and a midwife in the room, but the amount of tension and emotion encircling these two people who were about to be parents made it feel like they were steering a ship into port themselves, and we were all just around to pull on some ropes if called.

At one point, Ron had to leave the room to call their parents, and asked me to step in and hold Trina’s hand as she pushed through a contraction. I guess I thought she would be more shy, that my stepping in for him would throw her off balance. Not in the slightest. She just grabbed me and squeezed (so strong for so small a person!) and it was just so clear that she was in charge of what was happening, and not the other way around. It was thrilling to watch. People might talk about “mama grizzlies,” but this was the true manifestation of that core instinct– a woman tapping into her deepest physical being to do what is needed to help her child.

The rest of labor was over so quickly. Trina asked for a mirror so she could see the baby’s head crowning, and when they wheeled it up, she could reach down and touch it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone squeal with glee under an oxygen mask before. That was it; if she could touch him, she wanted to hold him, and within five minutes there was a head…and then a shoulder…and then astonishingly fast, the whole rest of a whole baby. The wave of emotion that accompanied his entry into the world knocked me right in the face. I’ll be very surprised and grateful if their birth video is not set to the tune of my muffled crying.

And then there was so much to do right afterwards. There was afterbirth, and placenta, and weighing and blankets and learning how to breastfeed immediately. Even as only a witness, I was internally echoing Trina as she was continually turning to Ron, saying, “I can’t really hear them…will they tell me all this again later?”

I’m not sure he was hearing them either, because he was following Dane around the room, affirming every part of his seconds-old existence. The nurses were dictating his weight, (“8.4! What a great weight!”) assuring that his little head would immediately round out (“And even if it didn’t, that would be ok!”), and the new father just couldn’t verbalize enough of his love and support.

And…can you blame him?

I think we can all agree that is one perfect little baby.

And that this picture is just not. even. fair.

Welcome to the world, Dane Davis. We sure do like you already.

I’m Obsessed With You

The last day in Southern California…I’m pretty happy with how we spent it.

First things first– picking the little guy up from college (which is the same campus where we got married, although neither of us is an alum. Whatevs) and taking him to his favorite place on earth.

He would probably subsist completely on plain cheeseburgers and Dr. Pepper if he could; thank God he can’t get to the nearest In’N’Out on foot.

Anyway, so we go nom on this staple of our (collective) childhood with Mongrel, and then when I ask about his finals, he starts talking about Nietzsche. With fluency, and with opinions about whether he was really anti-spirituality, and how he doesn’t like him as much as Darwin, but he’s still pretty epic. Right…..me too.

We couldn’t monopolize him for too long, because clearly college finals are an entirely different animal these days. So we dropped him off and proceeded downtown to kick it while waiting for Smash and Caitlin to be free to play. And somehow this day turned into a self-guided food tour of LA.

First up was Intelligentsia Coffee, where Mitchell from Modern Family was chillin with his java, but we did not take a picture. Because we are cool about celebrities? Probably not, as we are rarely cool about anything. Instead, we meandered over to a farmer’s market and I finally got to introduce M to pupusas. They’re from El Salvador, and are basically corn tortilla pockets filled with pork and cheese. They were a staple of the summer after 1L at my office, and are basically heaven. If heaven were just terrible for you, but tasted amazing.

We also made friends with a vendor selling flavored goat cheese, and it actually pains me to talk about how delicious this stuff was. He kept handing us wooden taster sticks with dollops of cheese, and it was a great sales technique in the same way that holding a gun to my head would have been. He was basically forcing me to buy this cheese by letting me try it. We ended up getting the Honey Lavender and Garlic Herb flavors, largely because M wouldn’t let me buy all ten. (Something about how we were “about to get on a plane.” I wasn’t really listening.)

Poor Cait was still stuck at work, so we made a detour to this place called the Pie Hole to pick up dessert for later. It was allllmost in Skid Row (but not) and then once we parked we realized it was across the street from Wurstkuche. What I’m trying to say here is that I could live happily on this street.

Basically, I could live happily in this pie shop. It’s become a running joke between us that Boston, for all its glorious advantages, is a pie wasteland. Once, when we lived in Cambridge, I was overcome by a pie craving that took us (in VAIN!) to four different restaurants and a few grocery stores before I settled for Dutch apple from the freezer section. Literally, there is no berry pie to be had in this entire city.* Disaster. So you can imagine my reveling in the existence of this little shop.**

A menu that changes daily. Written on scrolls of butcher paper. Yes, please.

So all of this was great, of course, but it was merely a prelude to getting to see two of my favorite people in the world. Cait may be the originator of being “obsessed” with anything and everything, but I am really and truly obsessed with her. She is a “kitchen table” friend. Does that make sense? You don’t need to do anything to have fun with her. You just sit at her kitchen table, talking to her and eating goat cheese on walnut bread and drinking wine out of mason jars…and think about how you seriously couldn’t be happier.

But obviously it gets even better when Smash shows up and you all stumble out to the random Korean BBQ restaurant down the street. Chopsticks and many, many tiny dishes of vegetables? Feel great about that.

Pretty sure she was telling us about music festivals in Denmark at this point…

…so, that’s happening.

Lap it up like Kit-tens!!

Smash obviously makes a far better kitten than I do, but it’s something I’m working on. That was some strange milky sake, but not as strange as the Korean mafia lighting up in the restaurant as we left. (At least, they were the K-town mafia according to M. We thought they were just two girls awkwardly and illegally smoking, but he seemed very sure.)

And as for the pie…well, it was ok.

That’s obviously a blatant lie. It was spectacular, and I felt morally obligated to rein myself in so that I didn’t eat it all. I guess two pieces for four people was the “right” amount, but what is “right,” really? Isn’t it about seizing all the pie you come across and enjoying life to the fullest? Carpe Dessertum or something? Whatever. I love these people, so I shared. (Sorry love, but the ladies both look amazing, so it’s an autoshare.)

So, that’s basically how I would spend an absolutely perfect day…family, friends who are family, and an awkward amount of incredible food. Good lawd, I am excited that we move home soon. The thought that this could be a frequent weekend occurrence gladdens my very soul.

*I am aware that this paragraph has been reprinted in the dictionary under “First World Problems.”

**It had to be really chill reveling, because all the salesclerks were intimidating hipsters.

Snippets from Home

Now that everything is finished (except bar studying, but we are not going to talk about that), we can do normal things like attend baby birthday parties. The littlest Fish turned one while we were home, and we drove down to Escondido to pay him our respects. And to watch his big brother do “bobs” in the pool. For the uninitiated, a “bob” involves ducking underwater for a second, surfacing, and squealing “I DO A BOB!” all while laughing hysterically.

Almost as funny as him jousting with the pinata, running full-tilt at it with an outstretched flyswatter and forgetting every time that it would rebound on him with a cardboard-to-the-face smackdown. These Fisher kids, I’m telling you. They are a serious good time. Their parents are also fantastic…especially since Hope promised to give me the recipe for her Tres Leches cake! It’s pretty great being friends with Martha Stewart.

Smash showed up in the LBC post-fiesta, and we tricked Open Sesame into serving us dinner at eleven o’clock at night  (“Our kitchen closes in four minutes…” “I AM READY TO ORDER!”). I like having friends who will drive excessive distances to spend about four waking hours with you. Thanks, lovebug.

I also love visiting the holy grail of breakfast foods:

…and coming to terms with the fact that a certain person’s intuition should just basically always be followed. Are you using avocado on your breakfast burritos? Turns out there is only one correct answer to this.

And then it was time to go home and do this for two days:

and this…

I think the above picture might literally be my favorite sight in the entire world. Obviously you’d have to factor out sights like loved ones’ faces and…yeah, that’s about it.

Still Pushing

That title sounds vaguely birth-related, but I’m too lazy to fix it. I am not giving birth any time in the next century…the pushing obviously relates to finals. I just finished an 8-hour one, and am about to dive into studying for the next (and last!) but needed to download my brain first.

First: Studying in the park is the totally correct decision during Spring finals, but watch out for little kids who will steal your concentration with their cute frolicking. And also by playing some game that inexplicably required them to yell, “FISHY, FISHY, CROSS MY OCEAN!!” at the top of their lungs every five seconds. (It looked like a variant of Red Rover? Whatever, I don’t know their lives.)

Second: Never leave your bobby pins around that guy who lives with me. This happens:

Are we starting a fraternity? I don’t even know.

Third: Our wonderful friends Ron and Trina are having a baby boy in June, and I ran over to the South End for her baby shower on Sunday. I realized halfway through it was the first one I’d ever attended! Apparently all my other friends have babies when I am inconveniently across the country. Anyway, the mother-to-be looked beautiful surrounded by all her new baby gadgets…

…including the tiny clothes we brought. When I was wrapping the present the night before, M looked over and was like, “Oh, I’d totally wear that.” And…yeah. This is basically his summer wardrobe, shrunken to fit an infant.

Fourth: Boston is beautiful. Still. Despite the fact that I am trapped inside studying. The nerve.

And finally, to herald the soon-to-be ending of this scholastic business, I looked up from hour 7 of my test to see an a capella choir practicing on the roof of the building across from us. Seriously? Seriously. They were actually really good; their “Lean on Me” probably made my FDA analysis far better than it otherwise would have been. What they were doing practicing on a roof, I cannot tell you.