Luxury Problems


Jane has final exams today. She was supposed to take two tests in the morning and leave school just at lunchtime. The kids could stay for lunch and study time if they wanted but few choose to do so. Jane wanted sushi for lunch and since SugarFish is just around the corner from school she really wanted to be there.

After dropping kids off at school I stopped home just long enough to make some beds and check in on Airtime. Day two is different than day one. I spoke to three start up guys, one waitress, a retiree in the deep south, a woman at an ad agency and a poultry farmer in Pakistan.

I played a little tennis with Christina in the late morning. It’s the first time we’d played together and we’re a great fit. Lots of deuces and when we got to 6-6 we just quit. Neither of us has a killer instinct although she hits like a man (and I say that with reverence).

Since I had to pick Jane up at 12.45 there wasn’t much for me to do at noon except kill time. I popped over to my PO Box and threw out all the junk mail. That’s always good for 10 minutes. I wound around town, got Jane, took her to SugarFish and nodded in all the right places while she talked and talked and then talked some more. She’s the most excitable child I’ve known and the world delights her. Halibut fin sashimi also delights her. She’s an expensive child.

After our lunch Jane went back to school to take one of the exams she’d missed when she was ill. I wondered what it would be like to send the kids to a school where I could arbitrarily pick them up and take them out to lunch. I suppose I could now….

Again after dropping Jane back to school at nearly two I needed to be back to school by three to fetch Alexander and then I’d have to wait with him until Jane was done with her third exam. I dropped her off and ran to the mall and picked up some facewash for myself. It was going to be a $20 trip to Sephora but then I thought of how hard Jane worked for her grades and grabbed her a lip stain (which she LOVES and I have to live through her because lipstain on anyone over 25 is just red seeping into wrinkles). When I was checking out a new mascara caught my eye and then of course my favorite products were available in travel size for just 500 points.

Who has 500 points at Sephora? Ugh… women with limited self control. In other words, I do.

I grabbed Alexander a snack at the mall, one of those gross bags of pretzels. He’s always ravenous and I like to pick him up with food. Of course when I arrived at 3 I’d expected that Alexander and I would hang out and wait for Jane to finish her exam. I was wrong, Jane finished a few minutes early and Alexander refused to leave school. He wanted to stay and play Pokemon with his friends. I let him. If you’re going to make four trips to school in one day what’s the difference with a fifth?

His teacher noted that I always have food with me. I explained to her that I’m a Jewish Mother. It’s what we do. She giggled and said something about Italian Mothers… we might be one and the same.

Jane and I rode home together. She talked a mile a minute about the 243 question English exam and how she knows her teacher likes her because he used her name in a question (to break up the monotony). I showed her the benetint and she squealed. It was an actual squeal, I’m always surprised that she’s my child. I’m pretty sure I never squealed though I do recall spinning a lot at her age.

I came home and the Jaguar dealer called. The car is wonderful in that it’s fast and it’s beautiful. Unfortunately it does some quirky things. You can’t put gasoline in it. I mean you can put some gas in the car, you just can’t fill up the tank. When it’s about halfway full the nozzle just clicks that it’s done. This happens at every filling station at every angle so long at the tank is below about a quarter of the way full.

I brought in the car with the tank about halfway full. I explained to them that some of the gas would need to come out of the tank. Since this is the dealership that put a mechanic in the trunk of the car I figured they’d be able to siphon some gas out pretty easily. I got a loaner car. It’s a nice but stripped down Jag that smells of old man cologne. I can’t fault them for the bad taste of their clientele.

The lady who calls with bad news called me 24 hours after I’d dropped the car off to ask permission to put gas in the car and add it to my bill. I was nice when I said yes. I didn’t mention anything about the fact that it had taken them a full day before getting to my problem and that my hands smelled like Drakkar.

Today’s phone call was triumphant. The Jaguar lady told me that they’d filled the car up with gas so they’d be able to return it, no problem. I reminded her that the tank was rather full when I dropped it off and her solution was to send the store manager home with our car so he could run it out of gas and try again.

Which is when I yelled at her. A lot. And I might have cussed.

Now I’m back to googling for BMWs because as much as our BMWs were uninteresting, dull even, they ran and they seldom needed service. The bluetooth worked on the BMW for more than just the first 200 contacts in an address book. The park assist didn’t last for thirty minutes and ding at you like you’re an old man in need of dinging.

The problem with BMW is that even the valet knows they’re ordinary.

Grocery Store Sushi and Prescription Problems


Sunday morning and Jane has volleyball at 9am. I’m pretty sure that volleyball exists only to torture me as weekday practices are often from 7.30 to 9.30 keeping me dressed and awake later than I’d like and weekend practices begin at 9am waking me earlier than necessary.

After picking Jane up at 11 we swing through the grocery store so that I can pick up my Oracea prescription and some sushi for Jane. I stop at the pharmacy and they still haven’t been able to apply the coupon so my Oracea copay is $143 instead of $25. Rather than getting angry I’ll go to another pharmacy. I’m learning from my husband to keep my expectations in line with reality.

Jane and I dash through the produce section, it’s pitiful on a Sunday and she veers off to find some sushi. She is ravenous after two hours of exercise. We meet at the back of the store where I’m looking over the organic beef offerings and I ask her if she got a cucumber roll for her brother. “They aren’t done.” She replies. I ask her how she got the tofu spring roll as I wanted to make sure it wasn’t yesterday’s food.

“Oh, there’s a big stack of sushi so I know it’s fresh, there just wasn’t anyone there.”

I thought Jane was mistaken so before checking out we walked over to the sushi counter and I did see a pyramid of uncut sushi rolls about six wide on the base. Behind the counter were three people working the service deli and one was in front standing next to me.

“Excuse me.” I said, “Can someone get the sushi chef?”

Three employees looked to the ground. The lady next to me who was restocking the break chimed in.

“He’s on lunch break.” She said.

“But all that sushi is just sitting there.”

“He doesn’t work for us, they work for another company and he’s at lunch. I think he’s out front.” She was getting agitated.

“But you sell the sushi, right? It’s pretty gross to leave raw fish just sitting on a counter.”

“They don’t work for Ralphs, they work for some other company you have to come back after his lunch.” Now she’s yelling at me and don’t I understand that they are two different companies?

“But you’re selling sushi that’s just laying on a countertop. People will get sick.” As I’m saying this she turns on her heel and walks away.

I double check Jane’s tofu spring roll to confirm that it has no fish in it and we decide that it’s probably fine to eat. We walk past a harried manager at the self checkout and I explain to the her that I can’t buy sushi, or groceries here, because the fish isn’t safe and I was yelled at. She is exasperated but not surprised.

Jane and I get to the express lane where a short angry lady is unloading a massive cart of groceries. I point to the 15 items or less sign and she puts her hands on her hips and says, “Too damn late now.” And proceeds to unload her cart at a snails pace.

When it’s my turn to check out I ask the cashier why she didn’t say anything and she told me that lady complains to the manager every time and they just let her go. It’s her thing. I mutter something about the fact that I’d never be able to work in a grocery store because I’d just tell her to fuck off, and then I realize I’d just complained to a manger.

Jane enjoyed the tofu roll, my prescription is being filled elsewhere and all Gottliebs are forbidden from eating grocery store sushi ever again.

Big day.

Sushi, The Environment and My Brother: Three Things I Love


Yesterday this appeared in my inbox fromiPhoneGran‘s favorite child my brother:

I don’t know if you remember my Sushi place in Seattle (I don’t remember if you ever went). In any case, over the last decade they have become friends of ours and fed us meals beyond belief.

Recently, Hajime has decided to only serve sustainable fish. Partly because it’s the right thing to do and partly because he (as do I) want fish like Bluefin tuna to be around to eat in the next few years.

There’s a lot of info at about what’s safe and what’s not.

His restaurant is Mashiko (his sustainable message is here).

I was up there last week and my friends and I spent about 6 hours there eating and drinking.

He says business is hurting because things like eel are off the menu. Well every sushi restaurant in the US gets their eel pre cooked and pre marinated in the sugar sauce and in plastic shrink wrap. It’s not really that good, its sweet but it’s stupidly popular in the US. He’s found that catfish makes a suitable substitute and with food that is masked by sauce people wouldn’t know the difference if he didn’t tell him.

I could go on for hours (and he could go on further) about the nitrogen used on maguro (tuna) to keep it at that perfect dark red.

White tuna is not tuna, it’s escolar.

Chilean Sea Bass is neither from Chile nor is it a Sea Bass.

There’s no rules in fish sales and it’s all marketing and Hajime has been no BS since day one.

Anyway….he’s doing something really good, the food is still phenomenal and I thought you might want to help get the word out or find a new topic for your blog. Also, he will be on “Extreme Cuisine with Jeff Corwin” this Thurs 10/8 at 6pm (I Think on Food Network).

There are three things I love in this world that haven’t had enough attention on this blog.

1. Food: I love good fresh food, I love to prepare it, I love to eat it and I love to share it with family and friends. Think about your childhood memories, it’s likely that they are infused with taste and scent memories. There are few things more powerful than the scent of a fresh peach in the summertime, or the whiff of pumpkin pie in the autumn. Food sustains us, and it should be a source of great pleasure as well.

2. The Environment: We are stewards of this Earth, from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to the bottom of the sea. It’s our duty and our honor to care for it.

3. My Brother: I love him. My brother is the smartest person I’ve ever met. He loves dining at Mashiko, and I’m asking you to trust my brother.

If you’re in Seattle, email me pictures of your dining experience at Mashiko and I’ll share them here and on Whrrl. We sure to visit and Ocean Futures Society to find out what you can do. No one is asking you to be vegan, simply, to be thoughtful.

Arigatou gozaimasu