tonight marks the end of a season... the third season of Jersey Shore :-(

one of my guilty pleasures is ending for the season tonight. to be honest, there is going to be a void there... for all of the things i don't do, watch, or listen to on principle, Jersey Shore goes against my better judgment. but, it has become a mainstay in my TV watching catalog and i shall grow weary waiting for it to return for season 4 in Italy, even though they haven't really started filming and no air date has been given.

anywho, in the spirit of the show moving from Jersey Shore proper to Italy, i have put together a collection of custom t-shirts. the Jersey Shore kids work in a t-shirt shop, The Shore Store, to earn their living on the boardwalk, so i decided to get my silkscreen press on to commemorate some of my favorite quotes from this season.

i wonder what verbal gems these crazy kids will leave me with tonight...
i don't get to see commercials very often. i have DVR and it rocks. most days, i get home around 7p or so and have about 3-4 hours to watch TV before i pass out, so i have to cut out as much commercial time as possible. my personal best is watching five 1-hour shows in less than 3.5 hours. but, some days i watch TV in real time, like on Tuesdays for Glee when i watch TV with Tiffany. she lives in Alabama and i miss her terribly, so we watch certain shows at the same time and text message our witty banter to one another, but this means i HAVE to watch the commercials, but i am glad i did last week because i would have missed the beauty that is Victor Ross in the Motorola Xoom Vendetta commercial :-)

oh wow. nevermind the beautiful piece of technology being advertised... look at the beautiful man. i didn't know who he was at first, but thank God for google searches.

which brings me to another tenderoni, Isaiah Mustafa.

you know... the Old Spice Guy, the guy you wish your man could smell like. bit of irony here, this guy looks a lot like my ex AND my ex used to only wear Old Spice deodorant. and he smelled delicious. sigh.
i like to travel. if i had seen more of the world, then i guess i would be allowed to say i love to travel. but really, i love to park my butt in a car or board a train and just go. even better is if i have a great soundtrack to accompany it. there is nothing better that driving music. i don't drive a lot, but when i do, i am at the mercy of the radio, which isn't necessarily a bad thing; the main way i keep up with new music is through the radio and the only time i get to hear it is when i am in a car. my mother likes to listen to smooth jazz, as it is relaxing and calm. i am the opposite; nothing keeps me focused better than music i would never listen to at my own leisure, like Lil Wayne or Waka Flocka Flaming Idiot. the beat and the nonsensical lyrics keep me on edge and alert. really.

but driving music is something different. it makes you want to drive, to just get away with no real destination in mind. it's provocative and moody and touching. nothing gets to my escapist nature like a good driving song.

Christopher Cross - Sailing

i don't know what it is about this song, but it gets the best of me. i remember the first time i heard it in my daddy's car when i was about ten or so. it made me want to cry, and every time i hear it, i remember that drive. the lyrics and the music combine whimsically to make you just forget the road in front of you and takes you to a place... utopia maybe.
It's not far down to paradise
At least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away
And find tranquility
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

Alicia Keys - Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)

this song also has the lyrics and the music to transport you, for similar reasons. the message behind the song is one that makes you imagine a better time and a better place. if you could just get to that place, you could do the unthinkable and everything would still be alright.
Why give up before we try
Feel the lows before the highs
Clip our wings before we fly away
I can't say I came prepared
I'm suspended in the air
Won't you come be in the sky with me
before we fly away, indeed.

Erykah Badu - Window Seat

there is a reason why i chose the video with the lyrics and the not the official music video. listen to the lyrics! have we not all felt this way at some point in time?? i feel this way A LOT. sometimes, i feel so lost, in my family, my group of friends... i feel unnoticed and neglected. and usually the only way i see to remedy that is to imagine if i were to just go away. i wonder who would miss me a little when i'm gone? who would come looking for me? and when i get back, who would even notice that i wasn't there?
But I need you to miss me
Need somebody come get me
Need your attention
Need your energy yes I do
Need someone to clap for me
Need your affection
the best part about saying good bye is hearing, "come back, come back, baby."
it's like candy is very much ubiquitous with family reunion cookouts and the Best Man that, during a recent game night, a Taboo answer was Cameo and the clue was "It's like candaayyy!" and no one knew the name of the group (which is Cameo, BTW). terrible.

anywho, i've been flirting with roasted veggies lately (gotcha!) and i really realize just how sweet they can be. i've seen many a cooking show where the roasted veggies come out of a blazing hot oven all perfectly caramelized and glistening, but i just knew that if i ever attempted that, the fire marshals would be at my apartment door fast, mostly because i live in close proximity to four major fire stations, but i digress.

i recently bought some parsnips and there's not much you can do with it besides roast it or puree it, or roast it then puree it*. so, i gathered some culinary cousins, carrots and parsnips along with potatoes and sweet potatoes, gave them a rough chop into bite sized pieces, tossed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and proceeded to roast them with some herbs and garlic. the result... sweet nirvana.

culinary cousins


2 carrots
2 parsnips
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium white potato
1 medium onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
2T olive oil
1T balsamic vinegar
½t thyme
1t rosemary
½t cumin
¼t cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste


1. peel and cut the veg into large bite sized pieces. you can be all fancy and cut then on a diagonal, but don't cut them too small; the smaller they are, the more they tend to burn. i cut the onions into wedges, keeping the root end attached so they don't separate. with the garlic cloves, depending on how garlicky you like them, you can leave them whole in their skin, to prevent burning, or just cut them in half.

2. in a bowl, toss the veggies with the oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices, then turn them out on a shallow baking sheet.

3. place the veggies in a preheated oven at 400°F oven.

4. after about 25 minutes or halfway through, give the veggies a turn/toss and place them back into the oven for the remaining time.

5. when the edges of the veggies are a deep caramel color, but not black, and they are tender, remove them from the oven.

serves: up to 4
the best thing about this recipe is that it's almost idiot proof. the veggies are the real star so the only crime would be to overcook them. you can change up the herbs an spices, throw on some grated Parmesan at the end. what would be nice is using soy sauce, ginger and cinnamon and throwing some cilantro in the end. or, if all you have is salt and pepper and a lemon, it would be just as yummy because of the natural sugars in the carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips. enjoy!

*remix! if you make a lot and have leftovers, process them in a blender or chopper until roughly pureed. then, mix it with some veggie or chicken stock/broth until your desired thickness and reheat. voilĂ ! instant roasted veggie soup!

i used to sleepwalk when i was a kid. my mother remembers one embarrassing moment when i walked in on her and her boyfriend getting busy. they froze in horror but realized that i wasn't crying or talking, i was just grunting and walking. she silently walked me back to my room and into bed and the next day i was none the wiser about what had happened. she didn't tell me this until i was grown and it freaked me out, not that i had a sleeping disorder. but, i was so jealous that as a kid i slept so well that nothing could wake me.

i do remember as a kid i would fall asleep on the couch and wake up in my bed. when i would ask my father how i got there, he would tell me "You went to bed yourself." eerie. also, i couldn't wait for special days like Christmas and school day trips. my thinking was back then, just close your eyes and when you open them, it will be tomorrow. interesting how i remember that. i had not a care in the world. i was so at peace.

and then i learned that my great grandmother died during her sleep and it chilled me to the core. i NEVER wanted to go back to sleep. first amongst my large list of fears was the fear of dying. i remember seeing my grandmother in bed with her dead mother, saying goodbye, and feeling as if i never wanted to die. so deep was the fear that i never had sound sleep again. my new thing was not to close my eyes and to see how fast daylight comes. i spent many a night sleepless, but i somehow found beauty in the sunrise, the golden pinkish glow of the sky met with chirping birds in the springtime and the dark, sluggish mornings in the winter. i still managed to be quite rested, mostly because i was kid and didn't have any dark corners of my mind to haunt me.

now, i PRAY for peaceful sleep. even when i have a full day and night to myself, even when i have a sleep inducer, like NyQuil or a good glass of wine, i sleep poorly. as soon as it's lights out, a nightlight switches on in my head and my thoughts get to racing as if it's high noon at the Kentucky Derby. will i get married? i miss him. i wonder if he misses me... fuck him, i'm doing good. i'm getting my PhD. or maybe i won't. what if i get fired? how dreadful! i need to lose weight before Atlanta Greek this year. i need a man. a whole man. or maybe i should just buy a car. i am twenty fucking seven. i'm almost 30. why is my cable bill so high? i gotta call my mother and father tomorrow. i'm a terrible daughter. some nights, i just give up and turn Golden Girls back on. since my cable bill is so high, i might as well enjoy the extended channels.

i only sleep well when i can no longer stand to be so exhausted. after two weeks of craziness, my body just shuts down, forcing itself to repair. good sex works wonders too, but i still don't want to move the morning after good sex. but, the consequence of sleeping poorly is that i found out exhaustion is REAL. and here i thought it was something Mariah Carey made up. one day, after a grueling spectroscopy exam, i found my world spinning. i held on to the wall and met the ground with my knees. i was crying and i didn't know why. all i knew was that pulling all nighters and stressing about making the grade was taking a toll. i don't know how i made it home or even how i got better but it probably involved orange juice and Tylenol PM.

these days, i've just gotten used to it. i may find some semblance of peace but i can usually expect that my back will give out on occasion and now my knee is unreasonably stiff; my muscles are even exhausted. maybe i should start to answer the voices in my head... i wonder, would that make me crazy?
the Washington Monument... in Baltimore
i'm from DC. but, i go to school in Baltimore. it's my mother's fault. when applying to colleges, she really want me to attend this small, liberal arts, women's college that was conveniently 50 minutes away from my home and family. her influence was so great that i never saw a letter from any other school that i applied to, making this school the ONLY choice for me.

it's all good though. i love my Alma Mater. but really, my disdain for Baltimore came a lot earlier than this.

maybe you should blame my father. when i was eleven or so, he remarried a woman who was from Baltimore and they started a family together. my father and i were always close and i spent every other weekend with him. so, i began to get acquainted with this city not too far from my own. the thing i learned very quickly is that proximity means nothing. literally less than an hour and a $7 train ride away, Baltimore and DC may as well be the earth and Mars. it was quieter, more residential, and yet still very loud, but in a scary way, like Prague sans the whimsy. what i remember most is seeing so many people standing around waiting to do what looked like absolutely nothing.

in DC, my school friends and i would just walk around the city. on a typical day, left to our own devices, we would just walk around to find something to do. since i'm from downtown DC, that meant we spent a lot of time at the various museums that the Smithsonian had to offer, going to the park at Haines Point, or traveling in the opposite direction to cruise U Street into Adams Morgan into Georgetown. to say the least, we got around. but even when we wanted to sit still, it was done so at a cafe or the carryout or the park.

but my initial feeling is that you can't do that in Baltimore. we rarely walked around anywhere. we were either in someone's car, cab, or bus. and the sights weren't that much to behold. on any given block there might be a dingy liquor store, chicken boxery, or uniform shop. that is, until we hit the mecca... the world famous Lexington Market. a place so cool, you can get fish and fishnets, chicken grease and hair grease, cow tongue and tongue rings. we didn't really frequent places like this in DC; Eastern Market seems like Dean and Deluca by comparison. but there is was an appealing pedestrian quality about it and an approachability that seemed pretty cool. i mean, you can't go to the downtown market in DC and get boiled peanuts. you just can't.

but don't take this as me actually liking Baltimore...

when i came here for undergrad, i kept my expectations low, because i had been here before, but i was still hoping for the best. i was in a different part of the city and i could explore the place on my own. so i settled in for that first month for the WORST SLEEP OF MY LIFE!!! it was sooo quiet on my campus, that i could hear the nightly helicopter chases for the local jail escapees. seriously though. i'm used to hearing a little traffic all night in DC, but the quiet in Baltimore and the utter danger posed by the city seemed to be the strangest conundrum. but, i've become accustomed to it now, which is a blessing and a curse, since i don't plan to stay here for the rest of my life. also, i developed allergies. the dogwood trees are lovely to look at but were murder on my airways. i'd never had allergies before, except for a nasty case of hay fever during summer camp in 1995 (which was in Maryland also), so this was another tick mark against this place.

thank God Baltimore is a college town. i would never have survived all girl school if Loyola, JHU, Morgan State and UMBC weren't all in close proximity. but, even that posed different issues as the town slogan for Baltimore and Towson should be "Welcome! The racism will surprise you!" a ton of college kids in a city of neighborhoods means meeting people who have never seen the likes of you before, especially if you happen to be black. oddly enough, Baltimore seemed way more vanilla in terms of diversity for me. everyone was either black or white. in DC, i knew about Spanish history and how to hold a simple conversation in Mandarin before the age of twelve because my city is so diverse.

and since i am a glutton for punishment, i decided to return for my stupid decision to go to grad school, mostly because you don't turn down THE Johns Hopkins University. but i was armed this time. i decided to live downtown, in a part of the city that reminded me most of DC, i indulged in local pleasures such as open mic nights and the Saratoga Street Farmer's Market and even Lexington Market from time to time. but, most importantly, i stopped comparing Baltimore to DC. granted, i will always put on for my city and can't help but notice that Bolton Hill reminds me of a less posh DuPont Circle, but i've been trying to learn to appreciate Baltimore for what it is, not what it isn't. it's been a lot more enjoyable when i find out how good a chicken box actually is, after refusing to divulge in such localities in undergrad.

i remember so vividly the cab ride to my father's new Baltimore home, but to this day i don't know exactly where it was. sometimes when i ride around the city, a lot of places will look familiar to me for unknown reasons.
i thought i saw you tonight.

i was rocking to Lil Wayne or some shit and laughing with my friend when i looked up and swore saw your face... and i couldn't breathe for a second.
in that second, i don't know if i wanted to run away from you or towards you. but that second birthed another and my blurry vision was made clear; it just wasn't you. and i had this weird feeling, somewhere between relief and disappointment.

surprising how often this happens. it's been years and you'd think i'd be over you, but i constantly see your face. those sad, honest eyes haunt me.

as much as i tell myself, and everyone else, that i'm over you and i'm over it, i'm just faking. hoping to speak it into existence. but i talk too softly because some part of me doesn't want it to be true. i miss you.

i'm still in love and i hate it. i feel so pathetic. you've moved on and i can't. but time is moving on for me. and physically, i'm so far removed. as often as i "see" you, i haven't seen you in forever.

but i see who you aren't... every bad date and bad encounter has me imagining how much better you would have handled things. i had a good guy, and those are hard to come by.

i say this now, but wouldn't allow myself to do so in the daylight, when my resolve isn't mired in alcohol and darkness. i remember how fucked up you were in the daytime. i remember how shitty and cowardly you acted.

so, i look forward to the daylight, when i won't allow myself to believe that i just can't get over you.