Anticipation & Absinthe

Can you hear Carly Simon singing? Ever since my babysitters brought their vinyl records over to my house, I have loved her. “Mockingbird” I made my ex-uncle, who was between wives, play over and over on a ski trip to Tahoe as I penned my name to valentines in the 4th grade. My mother made me give valentines to each of my classmates, even the boys I hated, those who punched me in the arm daily. Boys like Ronald Zipper (not his real name – this is a variation) whom I always thought was destined for life in prison. The Vixen, a former roommate, and I played Carly nonstop during finals in law school. In any event, “Anticipation” has been playing in my head non-stop as I prepare to get out of Dodge. We have gone into party/shopping/cleaning overdrive. It’s keepin’ me wakin’ ….


“Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder,” Mr. Understanding purred the other night as the sugar cube above the cute little slotted spoon was carmelizing on fire at the Glamour Bar. Rarely does Mr. Understanding make me laugh. This is because my sense of humor is so far superior and refined to his. I do not hold this against him, in fact I rather cherish his role as straight man. Having said this, I bust out guffawing. We were at a going away party, held at a bar, and some yahoos ordered the beverage for all around, curious to taste the forbidden fruit. Not readily available on the Piggly Wiggly’s shelves or your local package store, “the green fairy” is illegal to produce or sell in the US (but you can hop over to Canada if you are really jonesing for a slug). Reputedly hallucinogenic, absinthe was the beverage of choice for the literati of the late 19th century. Van Gogh, it is surmised, whacked his ear off under it’s influence. So it would not be understated to say that I was leary of the drink. Already I am not sleeping well and hallucinating now would be downright inconvenient. So I took just a wee sip.

Most unfortunately, there are few alchoholic beverages I do not enjoy. Most of you know of my predilection for aged scotches, martinis, and margaritas. Absinthe, however, is just plain ghastly. A mere swig tasted like I had dipped my tongue in a vat of melted, moldy black jelly beans. I was tempted to take a cocktail napkin and rub the taste off, it was so bad; the flavor lingers like the smell of dog poo squashed in a child’s tennis shoe.* God. But I was in the Glamour Bar, surrounded by chic people, and it would have been unseemly.


Many expats in Shanghai are packing up for good, leaving a vacuum that will soon be filled with newbies and divas vying for their very own crumbling castles at even higher rents than last year. It is the slippery slope of expatdom: those you want to stay, leave, and those you want to leave, stay. For me, I am just happy to be pulling out the suitcases, headed towards our summer island life less than a week away.

*Cheese Fighter’s latest scrape.



Filed under Fine Dining, Life, Moving, Star Gazing

7 responses to “Anticipation & Absinthe

  1. Raftbuddy

    I can only imagine how horrible I would find absinthe since I can’t stand alcohol of any kind. I am certain that people who don’t know me well and see me drinking diet Coke at cocktail parties must figure I am Mormon or a recovering alcoholic! Glad it was YOU and not ME! Happy packing. The Northwest is green and clean and unseasonably cool, and Target is well stocked!

  2. Tom

    Help me out here. Are you guys coming back for a vacation, or is this permanent?

    Question- If you need a sugar cube with absinthe; what do you use with a dog-poo encrusted tennis shoe? And how do you know that they taste the same?

  3. Is absininthe in Pernod? If so I like it.

  4. Mood Ring Momma

    Tom – They are coming home for vacation only, unfortunately. 😦

    Re dog poo encrusted tennis shoe – as the mother of the Cheese Chucker/poo stepper-inner, I can answer this question. First you scream at the top of you lungs; the steam blasting out of your ears loosens the poo. Then you grab a scrub brush for such nasty tasks (and as the mother of 2 boys you do have one on hand) and you scrub away in the utility sink. Then you take another shower b/c your skin is creeped out.

  5. Raftbuddy: I envy you. Talk to you soon! If you read my mother’s comment you will know the apple did not fall far from the tree.

    Tom: coming home for “home leave”. Have to return to the PRC in August …. vis a vis the dog poo, you got me:). Bad writing! Will you be my editor? Really, I have a job for you. More on this later but in the meantime I use chopsticks to dig out the poo.

    Mother: same icky jelly bean taste. I have now done my research. Pernod is actually the brand name. Ricard is the drink, made from star anise collected in southern China. The French mix it with water to make a cocktail called a “pastis”. Absinthe is made from a variety of things, chief among them wormwood and fennel.

    MRM: hope your carpet is now clean too :)! Thanks for the story.

  6. Raftbuddy

    Today in the food section of our local paper there is a story about (of all things) absinthe! Apparently, in December, it once again became legal in the United States. Its reputation for causing “bad judgment, poor health, even outright madness” has now been deemed, according to modern science, to be caused by its very high alcohol content (around 150 proof) compared to normal alcohol (around 80 proof), not so much from the thujone (the chemical in the wormwood). I think that radish better stick to Pernod if she wants to keep her wits about her!!

  7. gamamãe

    absinthe is available in brazil. It is an option for filler when you choose to give your father a food stuffs goodies gift basket for christmas. The other day my 4 year old crawled into the back of the bar, found it and carried it around shouting green, green! Talk about a contact high!!! Father and grandfather thought it great fun, I being the mãe, took bottle away before he figured out how to open it.
    At any rate- it reminded us we should either pour out or donate the remnants of our bar before July 10th, when the packers show up!!Went to cenarios for lunch today had prato executivo 404- picanha, arroz do nono, mandioca and farofa!! Thought of you.

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