Chemex

Let me talk for two minutes about my new coffeemaker.

After having really excellent coffee in Iowa City and at Sasha and Stef’s, I’ve spent several months lusting after the Chemex coffee maker at the Walnut Street Tea Company (which is also where I get chocolate, tea, spices, coffee, and snacks, but those are all subjects for other posts). This weekend, knowing we were going to have a small brunch today, I bit the bullet and bought the 8 cup coffee maker. I’ve been trying to make more coffee at home to save money (and the embarrassment of going to Espresso more than once a day), so investing in good beans and a good coffee maker always seems worthwhile. I’ve been using our small French press, but it’s really too small to make more than one cup – or coffee for more than one person.

I digress.

We made our third pot with the Chemex this morning, and it was fantastic. It takes longer than the French press or the regular drip coffeemaker, but the coffee was also more flavorful and rich – plus the aesthetic value of the coffee pot is really high, which somewhat makes up for the time you have to stand over it pouring in the hot water. It seems like we’ve had to use a little more coffee than in the drip coffeemaker, but the coffee has been just wildly better, so it’s worth it. It is also worth noting that when I got up from my nap this afternoon, I poured the last of the coffee (made around 11am) over ice, and it was every bit as flavorful as the hot coffee was four hours previously.

Long story short: I’m quite pleased with this purchase, and if you come over for breakfast, I’ll make you some excellent coffee to prove it.

I signed up for goodreads. It’s already proved more interesting than LibraryThing. Join up and add me as a friend!

I bought jeans that FIT last night – in a size smaller than the last pair I bought a few months ago. Woohoo! If only I could be so lucky with bras – I’ve tried on approximately 3 dozen over the last two months in a variety of sizes, cuts, and stores, and nothing fits. Augh.

I also bought a rack and grocery carriers for yellowbike yesterday. The farmers’ market starts in a little over two weeks, and I can’t wait! SB, El, and I rode in Critical Mass on Friday – lots of people, good weather, a nice time.

SB bought me my very own Mr. Bento this week, and I’ve been inspired to make fun, healthy lunches. After a long few months of Lean Cuisines, it’s fun to have fresh fruit, salads, and other small things in fun containers. I’ve been documenting my meals on Flickr, along with 500+ other people.

I was going to say something else here, but I can’t remember, and I’m sure it’s because I have brunch stuff roasting in the kitchen, and a pile of books staring down at me. I hope everyone’s well, and that I’ll be slightly less scatterbrained in a week or so.

Things to see and do

Things I have to do between today and 5 May (aka in the next 10 days):

  • 5,000-8,000 word seminar paper
  • ~50 minute teaching session
  • grant proposal

Things I’m going to do between 6 May and 9 June, when I start my summer courses:

  • C├ęzanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde in Chicago, 10 May
  • Commencement, 13 May, where my family is going to meet SB’s
  • Morrissey in Chicago, 15 May
  • Riding bikes in Brooklyn with Carrie, 24-29 May
  • lots of yoga, trains, reading for pleasure, Boltini bingo, movies, and Oberon on the porch

What are you doing with your summer?

On the spur of the moment (at the spur of the moment?), I booked a flight for a long weekend in New York City in May. I’ll be there May 24-29. I’ve never been before, so I’m very excited. The main things I’m looking forward to are walking around, tea on Carrie’s roof, Central Park, perhaps a show at Lava, pretending I’m on Law & Order, and Gridskippers’s coke bars. OK, not the last part.

But seriously, where should I go, what should I do, and how can I keep it as cheap as possible?

At dinner last night I mentioned that I really think the weekend of the Boneyard Arts Festival is the best weekend to live in Champaign, period. Three years ago I said this because it was also the best, most beautiful weekend I’d had in my relationship at the time. This year is the first in three that I haven’t had to work at Aroma, which is nice because it means I get to do what I’m doing right now – sitting on my porch drinking a beer and doing homework (not that homework is all that idyllic, but you know what I mean). The Boneyard tends to coincide with the first really nice weekend of the year, so everyone is in a good mood – plus there’s art and music everywhere, food and drink specials, and lots of other good things. I went for an eight mile bike ride this morning, and have been out here on the porch for a sizable part of the afternoon. The end of the semester is looming up ahead of me, but for now, life is good.

she was a small australian

I’ve spent the last few days not accomplishing much because I’ve been hanging out with my favorite small Australian. Heidi and I met in Europe in 2000, followed The Tea Party for a few days, and then developed our friendship as she shuffled back and forth between Italy, England, and Australia – and I finished college, married and divorced, changed jobs, and ended up in grad school. I haven’t seen her since 2002, and it’s been really wonderful to catch up – and to realize that we have the sort of friendship where we can just pick up after five years as if nothing’s changed.

We spent the weekend in Rockford with my family and my college roommate, then drove into Chicago yesterday for a Cubs game. It was COLD, and the Cubs did poorly, but it was fun nonetheless. Heidi’s entirely enchanted by America (or Amrika, as her dad pronounces it), which means we’ve spent a lot of time on completely American things like baseball and shopping and fast food. She’s here through Wednesday, and I’ll be sad when she leaves, although my productivity will probably see a marked improvement. She’s a fantastic friend, visitor, and traveling companion, and I hope I don’t have to wait another five years to see her again!

Savasana

Lying in savasana, my hands weighed down by bags of sand, my eyes covered by a lavender pillow, I remembered vividly an afternoon in Poitiers with O. After kebab sandwiches, we walked to a little park on the grounds of what used to be a manor or a castle. We stood at an overlook point, the wind whipping about us, watching trains leave the station and snake through the valley below. We talked about S, and I remember a deep longing for N at a time when things were the definition of uncertain as he pursued his Camino a few hundred miles across the mountains.

Tonight as we stirred from savasana, Mary told us to breathe in pure oxygen, exhaling anything that didn’t come from love or grace. I don’t know where that memory came from – love or grace or longing or deep sadness – but when the weight was removed from my wrists, I felt that memory lift from my body as well, leaving me at peace.

Good things: Saturday edition

Good things:

  1. Andrew Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha, especially track #2 (Imitosis)
  2. Drinking and dancing with a ridiculous and fun crew of boys (and new Elizabeth, too!) until the wee hours of the morning
  3. Buying a new bathing suit that is a size smaller (!!!) than last year
  4. Simply Breakfast, a blog of breakfast photos (see the Flickr set here
  5. Reconnecting with friends randomly and on purpose

What lovely things have been happening for you this week?

Friday memory

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love Third Eye Blind‘s self titled first album. It reminds me vividly of the summer between high school and college, which I can’t believe was 10 years ago (class of ’97, woo!). That was the summer I went to DC with church and hated every minute of it except for the parts where I was hanging out with Adam and James and being disgruntled. That was the summer I went to Vancouver with my family and counted microbuses. That was the summer I really rebelled against my parents for the first time, had my first real kiss, and met my ex.

I have no desire to be 17 again, but it’s sometimes pretty awesome to be able to flash back to an exciting and turbulent time of my life so effortlessly. Thanks, Third Eye Blind.