Saturday, May 09, 2009

Cereal Killer

In the vestibule of our building, there's a table upon which we leave ignored newspapers and yet-to-be-claimed packages and magazines that won't fit into the wee mailboxes. Last week, somebody left a box of cereal on the table for anyone to take, with a Post-it stating they didn't like it and maybe someone else would.

The cereal box was very colorful, with what appeared to be cartoony fronds on it.

The cereal was made by a company called EnviroKidz. (Don't even get me started on the "z." I have rage.) It is gluten-free, organic cereal.

It is called Peanut Butter Panda Puffs.

Here's my question: Of all the cereals in the grocery store, with all the options of getting-better-tasting organic foods, how did it happen that this was the one that was considered potentially delicious? And it's not even so much because it's organic or fun-free, which I do not frown upon under any circumstances: It's because it's peanut butter cereal.

I love peanut butter in pretty much any form. I love cereal in pretty much any form. Even when it's soggy (and, in the case of Froot Loops and — controversial! — Raisin Bran, I prefer it soggy). I will eat a peanut butter sandwich for pretty much any meal, and I will eat cereal for pretty much any meal. If your desert-island food is cereal, you can't go wrong and you can live a long, happy life — I guess assuming you don't need milk, because the refrigeration logistics on a desert island are not favorable to dairy products. And you might die of loneliness. Anyway. I digress.


Peanut butter is not good in cereal. No exceptions. I wanted to write "Duh" on the Post-it.

Other food combinations I do not understand, despite the fact that I love one or more elements of these partnerships, but not together:

Hot sauce on eggs
Mayonnaise on fries
Vinegar- or ketchup-flavored chips
Three-cheese anything
Dried fruit that is infused with the flavor of another fruit
Coffee-flavored cake
Champagne-flavored soda (this was a very, very, very unsuccessful experiment, probably because on the bottle, cola was spelled kola)

What about you? What will you refuse to eat together? Or, like, in a sandwich?


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Two weekends ago, Josh and I cleaned up our garden to prep for spring. It's not huge, just an urban brownstone garden, and while I know I'm lucky to have it, I'll be honest with you:

I hate it.

I hate it I hate it I hate it. I should love it but I hate it.

I hate gardening. I hate planting. I hate pulling weeds, and we get tons and tons of weeds. I hate figuring out what goes where. I hate maintaining it. I have so little free time, and I don't want to spend what free time I have cleaning up and maintaining my garden. If the weather is nice enough to be outside fixing up the garden, I'd rather be somewhere else outside, not doing ... that. It is not cathartic. It stresses me out. Bleh.

I would perhaps love it if there were a place to sit and gather, but the couple who owned the apartment before Josh bought it were botanists, so there are just giant green plants (many of them prickly, so you try pruning them) everywhere, very little color, and a lame path of broken slate slabs that are uneven and cracked. There is no patio, no flat surface, no place to put a table and chairs. I would love for HGTV to magically show up at my door and tear out the whole thing and start it from scratch, with a grassy area and planters and brick entertaining space. I know exactly what I want to do with it, which makes me hate it even more because I don't have the wherewithal or funds to do it myself. Bleh.


I was clearing away some of last season's leaves when I found a weathered cat collar. The best part of the garden by far is that we get tons of the neighborhood cats hanging out. They're fun and friendly and they come up to our back door and flirt with Nora and Tallulah. I picked up the collar (which, praise jebus, was not attached to its owner) and read the tag. Clearly etched in it were its address, its phone number and its name.

Its name.


"I think I'm offended," I told Josh.

"This is why you don't let your kids name your pets," he said.

"That's like if we named one of our cats Heeb. Heeb Banks."

In any case, it's now my intention to take pictures of the garden and finally send them to HGTV to beg for a sprucing. I shall also include photos of my cluttered living room, my falling-apart kitchen and my depressingly drab bedroom for good measure.

After I cleared away all the dry and dead stuff, I sprinkled Preen onto the soil. Preen is a product that looks a bit like bird food that activates your soil in such a way that it prevents weeds from growing but doesn't kill your existing plants. Preen is also much like Happy Fun Ball in that it will kill and/or maim any living thing that comes into contact with it. This product is the furthest thing from organic I think I've ever bought, and that includes Shrinky Dinks. I sprinkled it around my garden, desperate to solve my weed problem, watered it to activate it, and Josh poured some soil over it to protect the critters. I spent two days watching the garden with the hope that no neighborhood wildlife die in my backyard — that Whitey would soon follow his collar, for example — and so far so good. It's now been raining for eight days straight — like Chanukah, but different — and whatever Preen is made of, it appears to be working. After more than a weeklong drenching, I can count three weeds to pull once it dries out. Three. I have joy in my heart for a pesticide. I don't know how to feel about this. It is certainly not in keeping with the fact that I just bought Seventh Generation toilet paper.

In other news, I recently saw a documentary about a New York City sex club that was famous during the growing popularity of the swingers' movement, and I discovered I know a woman who used to go there. This is more unsettling than Whitey, Heeb and having love in my heart for a gardening chemical combined.

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