Friday, May 31, 2013

Rainy Friday

It's Friday, and I'm at work. And it's rainy. I love my job, but staying in bed with a novel and my pets sounds pretty awesome.

However, it's hard to complain when this is your reading for the day (in between answering phone calls and giving directions to baby college students...):

That's right, one of my comps (big historiographical hoops to jump through) is on fringe religious groups and witches in early modern Europe. And I have iced coffee. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Memphis Nosh: ¡Chiwawa!


So here's the first in my series of answers to the eternal "where should I eat in Memphis?" question. There are a TON of amazing food bloggers in this city (I Love Memphis, Best Memphis BurgerDining with MonkeysCooking4CarnivoresHungry Memphis, and many more) and, while this isn't a food blog per say, it is about my life in Memphis, and I eat out a lot, and I love the local Memphis food scene, especially in my neighborhood. So, here you go.

Last night my roommate, my friend Kirby, and her little girl and I all went to ¡Chiwawa! for their $4 glasses of Cono Sur wine and half-price apps (buy a glass of wine, get half off an app). It was a little cloudy, but nice out, so we opted for the patio.

¡Chiwawa! has one of the best patios in Memphis. It's right on Madison, so you get to see people walking by, and it's breezy enough that even when it's warm, you don't feel like you're dying. Also, at night, the "Midtown is Memphis" sign lights up and they have great string lights. It feels like a classier (and boozier) version of a backyard barbeque.

Image via

Image via

The inside is nice too, but it's a little crowded, we had an almost 2 year old, and I'm a patio sitter.

Our server, Noah, has waited on us before, and he was great again. We got some waters, some wine (the Riesling and the Pinot Noir were both really good - and even better for $4!), and ordered some apps.

The Queso ¡Chiwawa!, which has queso blanco, chorizo, pico, and poblano is always amazing. The chips could be a little more consistent, but I'd say they're about 96% fresh, 4% kind of squishy (that's the technical term). We also got the Juan-Tons, which I really wish they would make as a dip, because, while the little deep fried bundles of chicken, chorizo, and cheese are delicious, they're really hard to eat. That didn't stop us, it was just messy. :) We also got the special that day. I don't know what it's called, but I'm marrying it. Their hand-cut fries topped with queso blanco, carne asada, pico, sour cream, and jalapenos. Maybe some pico too? I don't know, because I didn't even get a pic before it was half gone.

For the tiny human, we got the kids hot dog and fries. I think the adults ate half of it, and the homemade pretzel bun was almost perfect (if it had some salt it would have been there - as it was we dipped it in the queso and gained 80 lbs). Very kid friendly, and delicious for us too.

Here's the aftermath:

That's my wine (Pinot Noir), a chip, a Juan Ton, the bit of fries that were about to get eaten, the hot dog (silly child wouldn't eat the bun...doesn't know what she's missing!) and fries, and my roommate's beer. 

I had two three glasses of wine, and we all split the apps, and tax is included on the menu, so my total was $16, plus tip. Not bad for some great food, great company, and a wonderful patio. You can also bring kids/dogs to the patio and feel totally comfortable - I'm a happily childless adult and loved hanging out with the little one, and our dogs are definitely going to beg for food there soon. 

You can see their menu on their Facebook page (linked at the top), and follow ¡Chiwawa! on Twitter - @chiwawamidtown. 

After our wonderful food decisions, we walked to YoLo. And ate gelato. At least we walked the 6 blocks home from Carb Night? 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

My lesson for today.

Dead Squirrels Tell No Tales

But girls who had to touch a dead squirrel yesterday do.

So I decided to walk both dogs around the neighborhood yesterday. My roommate is out of town, and they were driving me crazy in the house.

Petunia is a 40 lb Bassett Hound/English Coonhound mix.

Campbell is a probably 90 lb Black Lab mix (I stole this pic off my roommate's FB...Campbell doesn't do good at sitting still.)

So, to recap, I took 130 lbs of dog, both of whom love to pull on the leash and hate squirrels, out by myself. I'm not tiny, but I'm 5'3" and a far cry from stout. 

We get about 5 blocks in when they both stop. Nothing weird about that, since they both love smelling things. And then I hear Petunia snarl. And Campbell bark. And then a sort of squishy ripping sound. I turn around, because I've walked ahead of them...and see them ripping apart a dead squirrel. 

I thought, at first, that they had caught a squirrel. But live squirrels neither smell like that nor are quite that...stiff. I absolutely do not want them to 1) eat a dead squirrel, 2) eat a dead squirrel and then lick me, 3) eat a dead squirrel, lick each other, and then sit near me, or 4) bring the dead squirrel home with them. So, with Petunia in my left hand and Campbell in my right, on leashes, I tried to take the squirrel away. 

I tried to say, "DROP IT!" but that did nothing. 

I begged for them to "LEAVE IT!" but nothing. 

I tried to pull them away. They're big and strong and it didn't really take care of the fact that they each had tufts/body of squirrel in their mouths. 

So I did what I had to. I put Petunia's leash on my ankle and wrapped Campbell up as tight as I could get him. And then, stretched out on the sidewalk in the super rich part of my neighborhood with dogs on each side and cussin' up a storm, I grabbed the squirrel. 

I would like to say that, at this point, I was a real grownup about it. I'd like to say that I tossed the squirrel in the grass, said a tiny prayer for its tiny soul, and took the dogs home where I wiped them down and calmly washed my hands. I'd like to say that I did all of that. 

I screamed like a little girl, jumped around some, screamed some more, and ran home, with the dogs, who I immediately put in their crates while I took a shower. Then I brushed their teeth. And took a shot. And drank a beer. And took another shower. 

And then I watched tv and ate ice cream and remembered why I don't hunt/camp/do anything outdoors that requires touching dead things. 

These guys, however, were totally fine, if a little miffed that I didn't let them keep their prize. 

Friday, May 24, 2013


"I've been dating since I was 15! I'm exhausted! Where is he?" - Charlotte York

Dating is awful. It's even worse when you thought you'd never have to do it again.

Luckily, however, for all the awful, there's plenty of funny too. The title of my memoir, if it's not "Bits be Damned," will absolutely be "No One Needs Thirty Three Ferrets." (Yes, I went on a date with a guy who had 33 ferrets. No, I'm not proud.)

But sometimes, even the funny starts to wear on you. I don't mean to complain. Getting attention is nice. Dates are often nice. Having fun date stories to tell your girlfriends is great. But after awhile, is there anyone who doesn't start to think, "my it me?"

In the last year, I have gone on probably 20 dates. Let's recap:

-The guy who was SO BORING I couldn't hold a conversation with him, who then suggested we go out, in Collierville (which is a billion miles away from Midtown), didn't pay for my lunch, then texted me later to say that I had "too much personality," which some people might like, but he didn't.

-Another guy who was really boring, and didn't even have any funny/ridiculous distinguishing features to mock.

-The date that never happened with dick-pic. A never-ending saga of unsolicited pictures continues to this day.

-The "good horse in the wrong race" guy.

-The "set-up" who told me we were just in "different places in our lives" and thanked me for my "tenacity." I didn't do anything tenacious, so I'm not really sure he knows what that word means. Maybe we're in different places in our vocabulary?

-The crazy conservative. This one started out so promising. Lawyer, very nice, took me to get CUPCAKES on our first date. And buffalo wings on our second. From a purely "I love food" standpoint, this guy was awesome. Until he told me that Jesus was the "universal truth" and that he always felt sad for his friends that didn't believe, because "they're absolutely going to hell." If that wasn't bad enough, he brought a gun to Buffalo Wild Wings, and told me that believing that abortions should be legal was as bad as going around murdering people.  And that Obama is not a US citizen. Yikes. 

And some other just boring or unremarkable ones. I guess the point is, when do you start to think that, yeah, all these people are crazy, but their common denominator Am I the crazy person on the bus? How many years (15 in my case) can you date and not find anyone not insane or awful before you have to accept that it's you? I'm not down about this at all, and I certainly don't need to date someone to be happy, but I'm definitely looking around and seeing the bizarre things that happen to me and just kind of

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Right after I left London, I went to Lisbon for the conference I'm involved with.

Here's what I'll say about Lisbon:

Don't go.

It's dirty, and if you don't speak Portuguese, people are very rude. If you try to speak Portuguese, because you travel a lot and try to learn a few phrases in every language, people are even worse. Also, I got panhandled, propositioned, and offered drugs/sex more times than I could in a lifetime in Memphis. The public transportation system is efficient but sketchy, and it seems like tourism is actively discouraged. Even at my 5 star hotel (which didn't have in-room wifi, and which has a "fake" website that scammers use to get you to pay a ton for transportation), the staff was very nice, but the general feeling was not great.

I do have some pretty pictures, which I'll post soon, and the conference was (as always!) amazing, but I could never go back to Lisbon and be perfectly fine with my life.

I had a good time, but it was the company, not the city.


Henry James said this about London: 

"It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent. You can draw up a tremendous list of reasons why it should be insupportable. The fogs, the smoke, the dirt, the darkness, the wet, the distances, the ugliness, the brutal size of the place, the horrible numerosity of society, the manner in which this senseless bigness is fatal to amenity, to convenience, to conversation, to good manners...all this and much more you may expatiate upon... But these are occasional moods, and for one who takes it as I take it, London is on the whole the most possible form of life. I take it as an artist and as a bachelor; as one who has the passion of observation and whose business is the study of human life. It is the biggest aggregation of human life - the most complete compendium of the world. The human race is better represented here than anywhere else, and if you learn to know your London you learn a great many things."

Absolutely true. 

Today on Buzzfeed, there was an article titled "36 Reasons to Love London." Also all true. 

London isn't pleasant (except the parks...and maybe Southbank, but only at night). It isn't agreeable. It's not cheerful, it's certainly not an easy place to be, and there's a lot to criticize (the silliness of street signs, the inability of people to walk a consistent speed, the exchange rate...), but it's magnificent. I was really homesick when I was there, and the "brutal size of the place" and the "horrible numerosity of society" didn't help, since it was very easy to feel like one in a crowd of millions (which was true) when all I wanted was some company.

That said, I did have an amazing time. I ate way too much food (best pizza I've ever had in my life is in Notting Hill, btw - Otto Pizzeria on Chepstow), went to all the museums, walked a ton, and just lived the city. Taking a boat ride up the Thames was amazing, and, as if all that wasn't enough, I got a huge amount of research for my dissertation done and met some very nice people on my adventures. 

My best observation about London is that it's a place I want to live. I don't want to just visit, because it's overwhelming. I want to be in the city, know the city, and really experience it every day. I love Paris, and Paris is a place I want to visit as often as I can, but I absolutely don't want to live there. I think the difference is simple - London is alive, and constantly changing, while still holding onto the past and to tradition. It's manageable because of its modernity. Paris, on the other hand, is overwhelming to the senses because of its beauty and its timelessness. It doesn't feel real.

Here's a couple of photos, although, honestly, the experience was so much bigger than I can accurately put into pictures - I LIVED London, and that experience is still not quite settled in me yet.

This is just kind of a small sampling - I've got tons more, but I'll save those for a rainy day. :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Long time no blog. Oops.

Quick update, then tonight I will write the (long-awaited by my adoring fans?) post about Europe.

Some things:

1. I have a new roommate. He's very cool. And clean. And has an adorable dog who is now Petunia's BFF.

2. I got cable. I'm still a dirty Midtown hippy, but with HD.

3. I've been hanging outwith a lot of babies lately. And pregnant people. Verdict: Babies do not like it when my dog licks them, and I uttered the phrase "I'll take the baby, just let me set down my beer." So there's that.

4. I made homemade Indian food. I may have burned off my taste buds.

5. It's summer. Which means I get to work and write and not teach and drink way too many Sonic drinks.

That's pretty much it. I'm working on my third set of comps, and this one is about witches and heretics, so at least that's kind of interesting. :)