baking day

Today I’m baking bread and cookies. I got up early and made the bread dough before work and did the kneading on my lunch break – good timing cos I had a bastard customer right before I went to lunch. He made me so angry that my hands were literally shaking. I just wanted to scream! Instead I took deep breaths and helped the customer – and then came home and abused my bread. The bread looks OK – I haven’t tried it yet – but it is making my kitchen smell remarkable.

State of the Union address tonight. President Bush is saying good things – but will there be follow-through?

I spent today reading Another Girl at Play. It is such an amazing site – but also somewhat depressing for someone like me, wanting to follow her dreams but not knowing what they are – dying to live a creative life but stuck in the routines of a job that I don’t dislike but that systematically and thoroughly stifles the creative urge. Go there. Read the stories. They’re amazing. You will feel better about your dreams – and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get that glimmer of hope that’s needed to break out.


book club thoughts

I started rereading the book; yesterday and so far have finished chapter one – I really enjoyed reading about her “places.” I suppose quotation marks aren’t necessary – but I wanted to put an emphasis on place since she certainly seems to. I think it’s really interesting how place affects writers so differently. In many of Virginia Woolf’s books, for example, London is alive and is as much a character as Clarissa Dalloway or Orlando or any of the Ramsays. Place is of extreme importance to Vita Sackville-West – her most acclaimed piece was basically a love song for Knole, her family’s ancient estate – she describes her separation from Knole in physical terms, as if the land were her mother and her ejection from it her birth. It’s amazing to read. Crosswicks in the same sense becomes Madeleine’s adulthood – it seems to encompass all that she values in her family and her marriage – it is old, comfortably old, ever-changing, ever-welcoming, bustling with life and happiness and tears and all those things that make life worth living.

I guess I think of my family home in the same way – my family home that is now in danger of sale. For those of you who haven’t heard, my parents’ property has been annexed into the city of Rockford, the annexation bringing with it few benefits except the MUCH higher city tax rate. I only lived in the house for a year – but I have so many memories tied to that place – I can understand Madeleine’s loving reverence for her home.

Some thinking on banned books:;

The same guy has a really quite erudite discussion of the Philip Pullman Dark Materials Trilogy that goes well with yesterday’s article.

Going to Champaign tomorrow. I was supposed to go tonight but accomplished NOTHING this morning before work, including packing – well, I guess I did make my spinach dip. I got to work at 9:30 and promptly panicked cos I couldn’t remember if I turned off the stove – so I begged my boss to let me run home and check, thus wasting half my break. Of course the range was off. Grr. So instead of having my lunch break to pack and do dishes and all that, I didn’t even have time to leave work. Boo. So instead of going down tonight, I’m going down tomorrow.

“Chapter Four: Turkish Delight”

What do you think of this article? A Labour of Loathing Let me know. I deeply love Narnia – it’s an essential part of my childhood – and I am surprised and disappointed to see it so under attack. At the same time, I haven’t (to my eternal shame!) read the His Dark Materials trilogy, so I don’t feel like I can really comment without being biased. Really, I’d like to know what you think.

Not v. itchy today – finally. The steroids and the antihistamines – plus all the water I’ve been trying to drink – must have done the trick. Too bad the spots really haven’t faded. I might have to go to a dermatologist for that – boo.

Today has been just about the longest day I can remember. We had a staff meeting – most of which was old hat for me – but that meant that we were rotated out in groups of 5 over a period of about five hours – so lunch hours were delayed and everything was just all messed up. Jen didn’t get to go to lunch until almost 3:30. Ridiculous. I made an executive decision and went to lunch at my normal time (2:00pm), figuring that I hadn’t been on the phone at all so far so my absence probably wouldn’t matter much. I was right.

Tomorrow is payday. Is there any feeling better in the world than a full checkbook and a weekend ahead of you?

day four

Still itching. Still spotty. I went to my doctor on Monday and they gave me a steroid shot and Zyrtec and I’m feeling a little less itchy – though it’s still pretty bad. I feel absolutely hideous. At least Pop assures me that when the spots fade (whenever that is) I’ll have a tan! Not much consolation for the party I’m going to this weekend – but it’s something, I guess.

Tonight we made The Naked Chef’s Tempura – it was good, but was missing something. Not sure what. Any suggestions?


I’m doing a little bouncy in-my-chair dance to “Love You Madly.” It involves moving my arms and shoulders up and down and wiggling and bobbing my head a little. It’s pretty fab. So picture me in my pajama pants and big grey sweater doing this little dance and trying not to itch.

Itch. That’s right. Somehow I woke up this morning covered in itchy red bumps. It’s awful! I took a shower and retreated to my bed, where I slept in (what I thought was) a somewhat fevered haze, hallucinating all kinds of weird things – doorbells, N coming home, etc. I then woke up with a craving for carrots and chocolate. Weird. I’m about one step away from asking N to lather me up in calamine lotion and diving into an oatmeal bath. If I’m still itching tomorrow, I’m heading (back) to Immediate Care to give that damned doctor a piece of my mind – the reigning spot theory has to do with me having an allergic reaction to my antibiotic – I wonder if that would count as a check-back? Then I wouldn’t have to pay another co-pay! “Yes, my doctor is a halfwit peabrain and he gave me itchy red spots. I’d like to see him again.” Perhaps then he would call me a retarded monkey? I don’t care as long as these spots go away.

Knitting is fun! She re-taught me Friday night and I’ve been hard at work since – well, when I haven’t been at work or in a fevered haze or itching my spots. My cats are quite mesmerized with the clicking needles – they haven’t really noticed the looong trail of yarn, so I suppose I should count my blessings. 🙂 I have about three inches of green! Watch out – it’s homemade Christmas present year!

There was a big old war protest out on State Street yesterday! If I wasn’t working and had a fabbo sign, I would have deffo joined them – instead I drove by while escaping work for five minutes to get food. I was clapping and cheering in my car and almost crying – though I’m not sure why. I guess I’m just proud and pleased that there are people out there who see how WRONG what we’re doing is and that have the guts to stand up and say something. Heidi and I have been talking about this – she has cousins and LOADS of other family in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East who stand to be basically fucked if war breaks out. I just really feel that we’re making a mistake by going to war without attempting a peaceful resolution. Funny that we can talk and talk and talk with North Korea – WHO HAS NUCLEAR WARHEADS – but can only bomb Iraq.

no more birthday

I’m always bummed when my birthday is over. There’s just no way around it. However N did say that I can be a fairy princess on my birthday. Hooray! Too bad I have to wait 364 days to be a princess again.

The Hours is STILL not in Rockford. STILL. It looks like I might be driving in to Schaumburg on my day off on Monday to go see it at Woodfield. How ridiculous is that?

Eva’s here tonight. I hope it’s a wonderful night. I’m going to learn to knit.

my birthday

la la la it’s my birthday and i’m a super diva and katye told me to jump up and down and get in some trouble so i’m doing so. well, not jumping right now cos i’m typing – but i’m in my circus tent of a desk and am having just a really great day. n says i can’t be a fairy princess but i say it’s my birthday and i can do anything. hooray for birthdays!

bad grammar is cool

Thought for the day from The D: “Bad grammar is cool as long as you use it on purpose.”

Here’s an example of why I’ll never really get along with my in-laws:
N: “If you need ideas for E for her birthday, why don’t you get her knitting stuff? ”
Mother in Law: “She doesn’t want to learn how to knit. Knitting is boring. She should learn how to crochet.”
N: “No, she really wants to learn how to knit. A lot of her friends are knitting, and she thinks it might be fun.”
Chuck, in the background: “Maybe I should start sleeping with her friends!”
N: “What?”
Chuck: “Maybe I should start sleeping with her friends cos then she’ll sleep with me.”

MIL: “Well I hope she likes being bored cos she’s not going to like knitting. She should learn to crochet. Knitting is boring.”
N: “Well she wants to learn to knit. And you wanted ideas. So there you go.”

This is exactly the same conversation we had the last time I wanted to learn to knit. I mentioned it to N, he said I should ask his mom to teach me cos she’d be thrilled – and she told me that I wouldn’t like it and that I should crochet instead. She sent me home with a crochet hook and a book about crocheting, which promptly sat on my shelf for a year until I took it back. If she gives me crocheting stuff, I am going to pointedly ask where she got it so I can exchange it for knitting needles and yarn. And then I’m going to knit every gift for her for the next year or more.

I’m reading Circle of Quiet and loving every minute of it. It’s so wonderful. I don’t know if I like it as much as Two-Part Invention, but it’s quite fabulous. More when I finish it.

Tonight I’m making Chicken Piccata from the new Fine Cooking. Last night I made Stir Fried Shrimp with Peanut Noodles, also from the new Fine Cooking. Yum. I would eliminate the spinach, though. It was limp and kind of icky and didn’t really add anything to the dish.

My birthday in TWO days! I know when you get older that your birthday is less and less of a big deal – but I still love my birthday.


thoughts for the day from nicole kidman (of all people!):

You reach a point, when you’ve reached a certain age and have a certain amount of life experiences, where you just go, Okay, well, this is the journey. I think there’s a beautiful line in The Hours when Meryl Streep’s character says: “I thought that was the beginning of happiness, and it wasn’t; that was happiness.” I think you go, Okay, there’s happiness, and there’s great sadness. There’s a gamut of emotions. If you keep waiting to be happy, that’s never going to happen. It’s more that it’s just life. The wisdom of that comes, unfortunately, as you get older. It just does. You wish you could have it at 14, when your mother tells you about it, but you don’t have it, ’cause you haven’t lived the life.

i really liked that. i like that definition or theory of happiness – that if you wait for it, it’s not going to come. you have to accept that what you have is happiness – and if it gets better, it gets better – and if not, that’s still happiness. and that is hard to realize and even harder to live – but it’s a good
thing to believe or at least to think on.

i had a nice weekend – n was camping in the northwoods and the bitter cold so i had almost two entire days of peace and quiet and cold in our apartment. i meant to cook and to get the cooking site up and get so much reading done – and instead i did all the dishes, slept some, and spent some time with my parents. i think mom felt sorry for me – she kept calling and inviting me over for dinner or whatever – so finally i gave in and had a nice evening eating dinner and doing puzzles. my parents are v. upset because they have been annexed into the city of rockford – one of the key selling points on their property was that they were zoned county and so were exempt from the ridiculously high rockford taxes. some benefits of being residents of the city of rockford, as presented to them by our esteemed mayor, doug scott:

  • City water – which they don’t need cos they have a well
  • City garbage – which is more expensive than the garbage pick up they already pay for
  • City sewers – which they already pay for and use
  • Free library cards – OK, this is a benefit
  • City elections – for someone other than Doug Scott
  • Plowing roads – but they live on a private drive
  • City responders for 911 – this is a benefit as well
  • City parking stickers – ooh hooray, we can spend more money!
  • City taxes – better bend over and get ready….
    needless to say we’re not v. happy. some of their neighbors are already talking about selling cos they can’t afford the restrictively expensive taxes. my dad is concocting a scheme involving donating the house to the church with a provision that they can live there until retirement/death – max tax deduction plus the church wouldn’t have to pay property taxes. it’s an idea.

    anyway, it was a nice weekend. yesterday i slept in, then got up and made lou’s mushroom soup and a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and read about two weeks’ worth of the news. our illustrious and wise governor decided to commute all the death sentences and essentially (in deed if not in fact) do away with the death penalty – which is a major victory for human rights advocates – but a lot of the people on death row were there for doing really REALLY awful things, so i don’t know how i feel about it.

    n came home around 5, beaten and sore from his adventure. no one froze to death or lost any extremities, thank goodness. i had a funny (well, funny in retrospect) panicked moment sunday morning, though. i was standing at the sink, doing dishes, and suddenly had a wicked chest and stomach cramp – like my entire torso cramped up. my first thought (after OW!) was “oh my god, my husband!” and then i said a small prayer to god that please please please don’t let my husband be dead or dying. later in the day, i talked to mom, who mentioned to me that the codeine i’m taking can cause intestinal distress – and i was quite relieved and felt very silly.

    another v silly moment: i went to the grocery to do my shopping for this week’s meals (lots of yummy stuff!) and could NOT find capers anywhere! i looked and looked and looked and then i stopped and thought about my pine nut adventure of 12/14/02. when i couldn’t find pine nuts, i stopped and said to myself “god, i can’t find pine nuts anywhere!” and then found them the next place i looked. mindful of this, i stopped and said to myself “god, i can’t find capers anywhere!” unfortunately, i still had to look for about twenty more minutes. ugh. i love logli cos it has so much fun stuff – but i’m more comfortable at hilander.

    i finished two-part invention saturday night – god, was it wonderful. i cried and cried and cried – and really felt enriched by the reading experience. i ordered my copy from amazon; – used, of course – and once i receive it, i’m going to reread the book and mark it up with all my comments. madeleine l’engle’s writing is familiar and comforting, even in the face of great tragedy and pain. i’m going to start circle of quiet tonight i think – it’s the first in the crosswicks journals series (two-part invention is the fourth).

    only three days til my birthday!!!! for those of you who still need to do your shopping, my amazon wish list is full of enticing goodies. 🙂

  • almost my birthday!

    my birthday is next thursday! everyone sing hooray for me! seriously, i’ll be 23. how do i feel about that? i don’t know. but it’s coming and i’m excited. i know as you get older people care less and less about your birthday – fewer people remember – no one makes as big a deal – but i still love my birthday and want it to be a big deal. 🙂

    today i’m going to do something a little different. i’ve read a couple of really good articles/blogs lately that i’d like to quote here, rather than adding my bit of craziness. first, a journal entry from moby on homophobia. i’ve added it in the moby section but i’d like to add it here too cos i think it’s that important:

    i’m kind of a simpleton, but could someone please explain homophobia to me?
    i would never go so far as to say that god condones or condemns homosexuality. i would go so far as to say that christ definitely seems to condemn violence and hate and anger and arrogance and judgementalism. christ encouraged people to love one another. so seeing as christ never mentioned homosexuality in his list of what’s evil in the world, and seeing as christ encouraged his followers to practice love and humility and tolerance it does seem a bit odd that people would justify homophobia and violence in the name of christ.
    why can’t we all just agree to let adults enjoy sex and love in whatever consensual way they see fit?
    and why, i ask again as i’ve been asking for a few years now, are homophobia and misogyny so much more culturally acceptable than racism and anti-semitism?
    racism and anti-semitism are horrifying and despicable. homophobia and misogyny are equally horrifying and despicable. but so many people turn a blind or encouraging eye to homophobia and misogyny while decrying the evils of racism and anti-semitism.
    to hate a black person because of their ethnicity is just as offensive as hating a woman for her gender is just as offensive as hating a gay person for their sexual orientation is just as offensive as hating a jew for their religious and cultural heritage.
    prejudicial hate and violence are always despicable and offensive, it’s as simple as that.-moby

    that makes sense. it is simple and makes sense. i don’t understand homophobia. i understand that people are sometimes uncomfortable with things that are different – and if your whole life you’ve only been around men who kiss women and women who kiss me, it can be strange to see two women or two men together. that doesn’t make it bad or unnatural or freakish or something you should react towards with hatred.

    my in-laws are extremely homophobic. the things they say make my blood boil – but i don’t know how to react without giving the whole game up. i’m not ashamed of who i am or the life i’ve chosen – but i haven’t told them about it because i don’t think they’d understand. they would just make life unnecessarily harder for my husband and for me. i hate it when they make off-handed comments about things like that. sure, we call our cat gay – but i really do think he is gay. he’s the most effeminate thing i’ve ever seen – he’s just the stereotypical gay man – and he likes lounging around on my lingerie and fluffy scarves and soft skirts more than any het male cat should. but we don’t say those things in a hateful or demeaning sort of way. i just don’t understand.

    this article is from slate. i read it the other day and found it very astute and (i feel) accurate. what do you think? i know some of my friends are hardcore beatles fans – others can’t stand them. i’d love to hear from you.

    in unrelated news, i still have a cough – now diagnosed as bronchitis. i had a half day at work today so i got some lunch at a moveable feast – their fabbo basil, mozzarella, and tomato sandwich plus ginger sweet potato soup – then stopped at wonderland and the library. i came home to find the porch door open at my apartment – it has been blustery all day so i think it must’ve blown open – and my apartment freezing cold. i’m about to log off, brew some hot cocoa, and crawl into bed with my new treasures. the book club has chosen two part invention: the story of a marriage by madeleine l’engle for january, so i should probably get to work.

    stay warm!
    love – e