Anthropomorphize Much?

January sucks. January is a suck-ass month. It’s cold and it’s dark and there are no fun holidays. New Year’s Day is NOT a fun holiday. New Year’s Eve, yes. New Year’s Day, no. And this particular January has been full of loooooong hours at work. So, I am glad that the last day of January is tomorrow.

Good-bye grim, glum January.

So long cold, dim January – don’t let the door hit ya on your way out!

January is supposed to be the month of beginnings. New Year’s Resolutions and all that bullshit. But January always leaves me with a distinct lack of motivation. January does not inspire ambitious undertakings. January sucks the energy out of me and wickedly whispers in my ear, stay under the warm covers just a little longer…curl up on your couch and zone out…no need to do laundry…forget about cleaning the bathroom…packing can wait…your plants don’t need water…

January is just such a bleak disappointment after sparkly December. And lovely Spring seems achingly far away. I suspect January holds a high opinion of itself, thinking it is truly a model month. The leader of the pack. Setting the bar for the other 11 months. January is delusional. January is one of those self-important blowfish, puffing itself up over nothing.

You get two more days, January – that’s it! And just so you know, I will not be sad to see you go.


A Heathen Amongst Christians

The heathen would be me. The Christians would be Terah’s Sunday school group. I spent a pleasant Friday evening in their company being introduced to the study of world religions through a class called When Worldviews Collide.

As many of you know, I have no religious background. Both of my parents stopped attending Sunday church services as soon as it was not mandated by their parental figures, and they made the conscious decision to raise me and my sister free of religious constraints. In my opinion, this decision was both good and bad. Good, because I neither was force-fed beliefs nor blindly accepted faith-based notions crammed down my throat. Bad, because I have little to no understanding of any world religion. Sure, I’ve managed to glean a few tidbits here and there regarding Christianity and Judaism. More recently I’ve picked up a bit about Islam. But I am largely, and woefully ignorant concerning religious beliefs and practices. Sadder still, I am too unmotivated (read, lazy) to educate myself on my own. And here’s the thing, religion actually really fascinates me in a cultural, sociological sort of way.

So, when Terah informed me of this class, I thought, “well here now is an opportunity to scratch the surface of the major world religions and potentially come away with a little information and maybe even the inspiration for further self-study". Thus, I followed Terah out to Franklin Friday night to the home of the couple leading the class. Fortunately for me, the group didn’t seem to mind in the least that I am not a part of their Sunday school class, or don’t attend their church, or don’t attend any church, or that I am not even Christian.

The class consists of a video component and a workbook with weekly readings and questions to be discussed. It’s a small group – about a dozen of us. We’ll be comparing and contrasting Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Neat, eh? The only thing is…there’s always a thing, isn’t there?...due to the class being presented from a devout Christian perspective to devout Christians, our leader gently informed our group that the class would be most beneficial to those who believe the scriptures are truth. Apparently, to get the most out of this class, one must have both faith and grace. I’m not even entirely sure what is meant by ‘faith’ and ‘grace’, but I’m pretty sure I have neither.

Still, I am optimistic that even lacking faith and grace, I can learn something. I'm afraid I won’t be able to contribute very much, but as long as they don’t mind me being there, maybe I can just listen and learn, broaden my intellectual horizons a bit, and gain some varied perspectives. After all, if I can be friends with Republicans, surely I can peacefully hang out in a crowd of exceedingly friendly Christians for a couple of hours a week!

Wine, Wine Everywhere

What do you get when you cram 1000+ bodies into a space designed to hold 400, throw in 6 or 7 hundred bottles of wine and tell everyone they have two hours to taste and vote on as many different wines as they can? You get a fantastically insane debut event hosted by the newly-launched Nashville Bacchanalian Society(NBS).

I come from wine country (well sorta…hey, it’s not Napa, but it’s home!). I enjoy drinking wine. I’ve visited plenty of wineries and participated in numerous wine fests. But despite all of this, I can hardly call myself any kind of an informed connoisseur when it comes to fermented grape juice. I know what I like. And of course I’m always eagerly willing to try new wines (no, that is NOT the sign of an alcoholic, or so I’ve been assured). So when Melissa and JP started talking about the Drink Blind & Win benefit event being hosted by the NBS, my ears perked up. Eh? Wine, you say? Lots of wine? Wha-wha-wha?

So Thursday night, a little before 7 p.m., I drove the 5 miles from my apartment to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Art Museum with $10 in my pocket and a bottle of Pinot Noir resting on the passenger’s seat. I was to meet my team members, Melissa and Brian there (team name: Fletch. Yes, Brian picked it, as if you couldn’t have guessed. Seriously, what IS it with boys and that movie!?) for the blind wine tasting event benefiting Cheekwood. Just doing my philanthropic duty, folks!

My first clue that the event was going to be annoyingly overcrowded was the backed up traffic halted to almost a dead stop at the front gates and the frantic parking attendant running along the lines of cars waving his official glow stick and yelling at people to back up because the parking lots were overflowing. “Back up! Back up! For the love of god, back up! There’s no more parking here!” Okay chief, calm down. I ended up parking in a frost encrusted field about 3 miles somewhere southwest of the museum (luckily I had my compass) and hoofed it in my heels and far too thin jacket cradling my precious bottle of Pinot Noir against my chest so it wouldn’t chill. First priority: Protect the alcohol! (again, NOT a sign of an alcoholic).

Naturally, there was a line at least 30 feet deep extending out the front doors waiting to get into the warm building. Eventually I was able to numbly shuffle my way through the doors where I was greeted by a wall of humanity. Bodies crammed so tightly together there was no where to go and everyone seemed to be futilely trying to go in a different direction. At this point I felt little pricks of panic welling up in my ears and fingertips. Despite what some of you may think, I like organization. I do. I feel calmer when things are organized and go smoothly. The event, so far, was organization’s anti-christ. It was anarchy at its finest and I was terribly uncomfortable with the whole thing. I glumly predicted I would never locate my crucial team members in the ridiculously disorganized mess in which I found myself.

But I did find them and once we muddled our way through the bog of confused bodies, here was the deal: Each team of three brought three identical bottles of Pinot Noir. One team member (Brian) took the bottles to an NBS volunteer where two of the bottles were taken away to be wrapped in brown paper bags, numbered, and opened, to be served at the tasting. The other bottle was put in a reserve pile for the winners of the taste testing. Meanwhile, Melissa and I paid our $10 entrance fees, and procured our ballots and yellow golf pencils. We then worked our way from the lobby into the main hall where the drinking…er…tasting was to commence. The object of the evening was to taste and vote for the best and worst wine. The winning teams would get to split the unopened reserved wine (do the math people – that’s a helluva lot of wine!)

As you can imagine, the festivities got off to a late start due to the…that’s right…the DISorganization and people were getting hot and cranky waiting around for the cups to be passed out. The tasting hall was scattered with various tables upon which bottles of wine encased in brown paper bags were patiently waiting. There were also tables full of palate cleansers (bread, cheese, crackers, grapes…etc). The poor NBS volunteers who got the unfortunate task of passing out cups to the grumpy and alcohol deprived crowd were nearly trampled to death as people swarmed over them to acquire a near-holy wine tasting vessel.

In a preemptive, and utterly genius maneuver, Melissa swiped a bottle of wine off the table while people were busy getting cups, so as soon as I snagged our team vessels, she was able to fill them full (and I mean FULL) of happy dark red liquid. After that, the evening just got better and better. I mean really, how could it not? Yes, it was still abominably crowded, but after a few more tastings, it really didn’t seem to matter as much. Huh. Who knew?

Sadly, our team didn’t win the glorious cache of wine, but the team of women who did produced copious tears of joy at their triumph. Now THAT, I suspect, IS a sign of an alcoholic. Heh.


Will Never Be "Used To It"

It doesn't matter that it may not have been in his particular neighborhood.
It doesn't matter that it may not have been near AUB.
It doesn't matter that it may have happened when he was already at work.
It doesn't matter that it may have happened on a route he never takes.
It doesn't matter.

All that matters is that 5 people were killed. And 38 people were injured. And he's there.

When I hear shit like this first thing in the morning blaring out of the radio on my way to work, it freaks me out. And I fret. And I worry. Until I hear that he is okay.


A Definition

loathe /lohth/ –verb (used with object), loathed, loath·ing.

to feel disgust or intense aversion for; abhor: I loathe people who spread malicious gossip. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Origin: bef. 900; ME loth(i)en, lath(i)en, OE lāthian, deriv. of lāth loath]

935 Lies


A Review, of sorts

I've moved around a bit. And moving is such a pain in the ass. It really is. But the most distressing and traumatic thing about moving to a new city is trying to find a new hair stylist. It sucks. If you've ever moved to a new city, you know how much it sucks. It sucks more than the packing of boxes and the unpacking of boxes. It sucks more than the long drive. It sucks more than getting gas, electric, phone, and wireless hooked up. It sucks more than finding a new doctor and dentist. Which is why, after having lived here for almost two YEARS, I still hadn't found a suitable hair stylist. However, my blind wanderings in the wasteland of unfamiliar stylists may have come to a conclusion yesterday morning...er...afternoon rather.

People tell me that the best way to go about finding a stylist you like is to find someone's hair you like and simply ask them who does it. In theory, this sounds like a great idea. In reality, it is extremely difficult to first, find someone who has curly hair (as I do) and second, to find someone with curly hair who has it cut and styled to my liking. In fact, nearly impossible. The wife of one of my co-workers has naturally curly hair and though she doesn't wear it how I would ever wear mine, it always looks cute on her. So, in an attempt to put the ask-someone-whose-hair-you-like theory into practice, I asked. And was told that she drives all the way to Madison (a scary little redneck hick town north of Nashville) to get her hair did. Oh-no. I refuse to drive outside of the city limits to get a freakin' hair cut.

So, over the past two YEARS I have asked around, I have done online research, and have perused the yellow pages in the hopes of stumbling across a bonafide hair wizard. You laugh, but I have had two, what can only be called, hair wizards in my life, and I balk at settling for anything less. When I moved to Lincoln, it only took me about 9 months and two missses before I found Katie. Katie was a gem. She worked at a small, young, funky salon in the Haymarket and she just intuitively knew what to do with my unruly hair. For the next four years I was in hair stylist nirvana. Then I moved. And I cried as my last appointment with the genius Katie ended, knowing I would never find another Katie.

How wrong I was. I found an even better Katie. I found a Kate! No kidding - her name was Kate and she worked at Salon H2O in Erie. Again, it took me a while and a few less-than-satisfactory hair experiences to find her, but once I did, it was pure bliss. No more anxiety over going to get my hair cut, no more leaving the salon with tears welling up in my eyes. Oh how I miss Kate. She had a magical way with curly hair. I loved her and now she's gone. *sniff* (oh c'mon! surely I'm not the only one out there who has dramatic relationships with their hair stylists....am I?)

And here I've been in Nashville, slowly falling in love with the city, finally learning my way around, settling in...but that one critical thing has been missing all this time - a hair stylist to call my own. I have gone through a handful of salons and at least as many stylists since I've been here. Each time I would go, I would go with trepidation, but hope as well. Hope that THIS time I would find my next Kate/ie. I should've just called around to every salon in town until I found one employing a stylist named Kate/Katie!

Yesterday morning at 9:30, I found myself walking into Plush Studio on 7th and Church. Right downtown next to the Hilton. Parking is not terribly convenient but at least it's not in Madison! I made the appointment in desperation Thursday morning. I hadn't had a hair cut in like 5 or 6 months. Totally gun-shy by this point and becoming more and more convinced I would have to endure bad hair cuts forever, I punched the number into the telephone and waited for a voice. I am always somewhat suspicious when an appointment can be made that soon, but again, I was desperate.

Plush is a teeny tiny light-filled box owned and occupied by two women - Marcie and Troy Lynn. My appointment was with Marcie, the younger of the two women. Near my age I would guess and totally, genuinely friendly. Not in the least phony or fakey or annoyingly perky, like so many stylists I've had the misfortune of meeting. We got down to business right on time and she asked me what I had in mind.

Now, I'll openly admit to being somewhat persnickety when it comes to my hair, but at the same time, I am fully aware of my hair situation and am not delusional. I don't have any expectations of walking out of a salon looking like Nicole Kidman walking on the red carpet. My hair requests are reasonable and realistic...I just am not always capable of clearly explaining what those requests are, which is why it often requires the psychic abilities of a hair wizard (i.e. Kate/Katie) to fully interpret my disjointed instructions.

This is what came rapidly tumbling out of my inarticulate mouth yesterday morning when Marcie asked me what I had in mind:

Oh you know, cuz it's curly...but like, a weird curly, you know?...like REALLY curly on top but not as much underneath...and here, see this? (as I lift a piece of hair)...something has got to be done with this...it looks like...a dog's ear or something...and then back here...it's just too heavy...so like maybe layers up underneath or something like that...I like it sorta random and messy....you know..low maintenance...like I don't really care about how it looks...but I do of course...and as for color...I like this dark thing I've got going but I thought some big chunky highlights would give it some depth....nothing blended or zebra-ish and not too light... you know, big hunks...but subtle color...

I think I rambled on some more but it became increasingly incoherent and finally she just went to work. I kept looking at the strands she was pulling out to highlight and vaguely thought, "oh wow..those look really thin and evenly spaced out". But then I went back to my contemplation of the space around me (yes, this is your fate if you are an architect) and quickly came to the conclusion that it desperately requires the immediate services of a professional interior designer. STAT! It's not a bad space at all...definitely has potential. Cool, urban-ish locale, REALLY high ceilings and big windows letting in lots of natural light. But then there are the stark white walls, the overhead fluorescent lighting embedded in 2x4 water stained acoustic ceiling tiles. Blech! There's also the white mini-blinds at the front window and a hideous looking television set mounted to the wall. Add to that a random radio station playing in the background and the atmosphere left much to be desired!

If you've ever had color done, you know it's quite a lengthy process what with all the foiling and the waiting and the putting on of the toner and what not. So, she finally settled in to actually cutting my wet and recently highlighted hair and I got this low feeling of dread deep in my gut as I looked back at myself in the mirror and saw thin blondish highlights streaked along the top of my head. I think Marcie physically felt me recoil at the reflection in the mirror because she tentatively inquired, "what do you think of the highlights?"

"Well...um okay I guess...it's hard to tell when my hair is wet...do you think they'll get darker and bigger and less noticeable when my hair dries?" Essentially, do you think they will change completely and become something entirely different when my hair dries? Uh. no. To her credit, instead of getting all huffy and offended like so many other stylists have reacted - as if I was deeply criticizing their skill - she looked concerned and suggested she finish cutting my hair and then we'd dry a chunk of it, assess the situation and go from there. I accepted this plan of action, worried that I would end up saying, "oh it's fine..really...I'll get used to it".

The cut was great. Really, she understood the dynamics of my hair and made the necessary adjustments. She understood when I said "the more random, the better". And she made a few professional suggestions to get the curls on top to lay better. She had some useful product tips to pass along. Seriously, I had flashbacks to my Kates, it was that good.

And so I was reluctant to make a fuss over the botched highlights. I figured at least I got a good cut out of the deal and I could just move on to another stylist in another 5 or 6 months. *sigh* But, Marcie was so genuninely concerned and so gracious in her offer to fix it, that I found myself relaxing. She went and got some hair books and suggested we both look through them to make sure we were on the same page (so to speak). After some time and discussion, we were both satisfied that she understood what I was envisioning. So, four hours after having arrived at Plush Studio, I walked out with great looking hair exactly as I had imagined it would look. And Marcie didn't even charge me for round two of hair coloring fun. I think she's a keeper! I just may have found my next Kate...hooray!


A Little Political Humor

"You haven't blogged in a while and I'm bored"

Yes well that's because I've been fantastically busy with work, feeling sick, not getting enough sleep and catching up on Season 3 of Lost before Season 4 starts in a mere 2 weeks (joy!). I'm booked people! But to help ease your boredom somewhat, here's a little funny that Bethany sent me today. Yes, it's biased humor. Yes, it's entirely one-sided. Yes, it's a blatant stereotype. But c'mon! That's funny shit!

To Be Republican, You Need To Believe...

1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hilary Clinton.

2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's Daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational drug corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime ally, then demand their cooperation and money.

9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMO's and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet

13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

15. Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)

16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960's is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80's is irrelevant.

17. Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

Friends don't let friends vote Republican


A Tale of Two Films

In the last two days, two different people have enthusiastically mentioned the new movie, 27 Dresses to me. Purportedly, the story is about a single gal who is always a bridesmaid, never the bride, and who embraces her decision to remain single; spouting off witty comebacks when relatives question her single status. Naturally, being a single gal myself (and having been a bridesmaid a few times), this movie should appeal to me. But let me tell you why it doesn’t (as if you couldn’t guess!)

Now, I don’t know this for a fact, but allow me to conjecture a bit on how this story (featuring the gorgeous Katherine Heigl) is going to play out. She’s a bubbly twenty-something, happy-go-lucky single gal who has a romping good time partying it up as a bridesmaid at various weddings…convincing herself and everyone around her that being single is the way to go…but something’s missing in her life…only she doesn’t realize it until she meets HIM. She will reluctantly fall for HIM and it will suddenly become clear that she does indeed want to be married and the single life is not for her after all. And in the end she will be well on her way to the altar and ultimately to matrimonial bliss. And that’s fine. I’m sure this movie will do well at the box office with young unmarried girls and married women. Another validation.

But, how much more interesting could this premise of a female enjoying her single status be if the protagonist was in her late thirties or forties...never had any desire to marry… was happy and successful… enjoyed the bridesmaid gigs… felt completely fulfilled with her life… and REMAINED blissfully single? What a concept. Instead of replaying the tired thread of “you are not normal, you are not complete, until you have succumbed to the siren call of matrimony”, let the single gal be single. Validate a woman’s decision to by-pass the whole marriage thing and still be a whole person. Put an enticing glow around the single life so that young girls realize their worth is not determined by marriage, and there are other (perhaps even better) paths to choose from.

This rant makes me sound fantastically anti-marriage, but honestly, I’m not. It just kills me that a mainstream movie like this, which will have broad appeal, didn’t have the gumption (what a great word – gumption) to take this perfect opportunity to present the story in a creative, empowering way, instead of relying on the misconception that marriage is the only “normal” choice for women.

So, the likelihood of me going to see 27 Dresses is remote at best. However, if I get the chance to see the film Persepolis anytime soon, you better believe I’ll be first in line at the ticket booth!

I saw the preview for this French film when Dan and I went to see Sweeny Todd last week. The movie is animated… but don’t let that turn you away. It’s based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi on growing up in contemporary Iran.

Here’s what Stephen Holden at the NYT had to say about it:

The movie is a semi-autobiographical first-hand account of Iran’s troubled history from the days of the shah through the Islamist revolution and the Iran-Iraq war. Its narrator, also named Marjane, is a spirited young rebel from a closely knit, middle-class family, struggling to define her identity (at one point she is a punk listening to smuggled Iron Maiden tapes) in a repressive climate whose shifting political winds require wrenching personal adjustments. For a time, she lives as an expatriate student in Vienna.

As one regime supplants another and war rages, many thousands die. Her family’s hopes for political and social equilibrium are dashed as retribution is meted out, and enemies, real and imagined, are purged. Marjane eventually leaves Iran to settle in Paris.

For all the pessimism nipping at the movie’s edges, the chaos and inhumanity surrounding Marjane are held at bay by familial love, especially the devotion of her wise, hard-headed grandmother, who has seen it all. Chiara Mastroianni is the voice of Marjane as a young adult, and the great French star Danielle Darrieux is the grandmother.

“Persepolis” makes you contemplate the processes of history. Buried under each wave of “reform,” it suggests, are cultural traditions that will eventually resurface no matter how repressive the climate of the moment. The movie is also tacitly feminist in its depiction of Islamist patriarchs as ludicrous misogynist prudes.

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Can’t wait til it comes to a theater near me!


Happy New Year!

For the past couple of years, my New Year Eve celebrations have sort of regressed. Like, to age 5.

You know how when you’re 5 and it’s New Years Eve and you are totally psyched about staying up til midnight and you’re all like, “hells yeah I can stay up and party til midnight!” (well okay, to be fair, I probably wasn’t saying ‘hells yeah’ at 5 years old)…and you get all hopped up on hot cocoa and cupcakes…you watch movies…you play games, all in an enormous effort to keep your little eyes open until that magic stroke of midnight when you can FINALLY blow your celebratory cardboard horn?

Jeezus, just let me blow my freakin' horn before I explode!

Well, except for the horn bit, and substituting wine for the hot cocoa, my New Years Eve this past year was exactly like that. Yup.

There was none of the bar-hopping of years gone by, no raucous house parties, no drunk dialing or haphazard drunk midnight kisses. Nope. It was me, Jen and Angela (oh, and Milo the dog) chilling at the apartment, eating cupcakes, drinking wine, watching movies,…and barely keeping our eyes open until midnight (seriously, it was a struggle).

So instead of partying like rock stars, we partied like 5 year olds. Woot! Woot! - Bring on 2008!


Guess what!? I. Can't. Cook.

No shit. And the really sucky thing is that I would actually LIKE to be able to cook. I enjoy gastronomic delights and I have a modest collection of enticing cookbooks, but nearly every one of my forays into the culinary arts has ended in disaster or disgust. I don't get it. I can read a fucking recipe! Honest I can. In fact, the one I tried tonight, I read several times before attempting anything.

For my birthday, Bethany (who CAN cook) sent me this lovely cookbook by Claudia Roden called, "Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon". Great photographs, interesting histories...a book with which to sit down and read just for the pleasure of it. But noooooo...I couldn't be satisfied with just enjoying the author's anecdotes and insights. No, I had to go ahead and try to actually execute one of her carefully penned recipes.

I finally decided to attempt Batinjan Bil Rumman (Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses) for a couple of reasons. One, it sounded both simple and yummy, and two, during my NJ visit, Bethany took me to this international food warehouse where I picked up a bottle of pomegranate molasses.

So I culled together the relatively few ingredients and prepared to make eggplant history. Though I enjoy eggplant immensely in its various cooked forms, I have never personally worked with eggplant (surprise, surprise). Claudia instructed me to roast the plump shiny aubergine - whole - in a 475 degree oven on a baking sheet "until the skin is wrinkled and it is very soft". This process takes 45-55 minutes. So while the eggplant was roasting, I got on with the making of the pomegranate dressing. Lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Easy peasy.

It all seemed to be going well. The roasting eggplant smelled fantastic, the pomegranate dressing was ready to go, so I decided to cook a piece of fish to go with my eggplant. Simple enough, right? Wrong! I tried a recipe that called for garlic and pine nuts and olive oil. Tah-Dah! My lack of even a remote semblance of culinary instinct struck again. Into the garbage it went.

Not to be defeated, I optimistically pulled the eggplant out of the oven, removed the wrinkly skin, pressed the liquid out of the flesh as Claudia instructed and kept thinking, "damn, this is REALLY mushy...Claudia, is it supposed to be this mushy?...surely you did not intend for it to be this mushy..." Nevertheless, I plopped the roasted eggplant mush on a plate, spooned some of the pomegranate dressing over it, garnished it with parsley and pomegranate seeds and dug in.

Okay...in all honesty...the taste wasn't too bad, but the texture was revolting. Warm, slightly slimy mush studded with seeds. Blech! *sigh* ah well...I'll just eat my old stand-by: Ritz crackers with cottage cheese and elderberry jelly. MMMMmmm!