18 September 2008

This week’s media consumption, briefly:

Liked:

  • Real Food by Nina Planck.  Full review at Good Reads, but in general found it to be an informative, enjoyable, and persuasive argument for eating traditional foods rather than the bizarre-o things that most of us eat without thinking about it.
  • Jamie Lidell’s Jim.  He was so fun at Pitchfork two summers ago – the album is great.
  • Luna’s Penthouse.  I’ve had this album a while and have loved it, but forgot how great it was until I had a craving for 23 Minutes in Brussels, and ended up listening to the disc FOUR TIMES in one day.
  • Keren Ann (self titled).  Shawn recommended this ages ago, but I just got to it this week.  Melancholy and lovely.
  • Jem’s Down to Earth.  Not as great as the last album, but still very enjoyable.
  • Glasvegas (self titled).  Dan forcefully recommended this one and it’s growing on me.
  • The Diane Rehm Show interview with Maggie Scarf about September Songs.  I was in tears on my walk to the Metro this morning.

Meh:

  • Guillemots’s Red.  It just didn’t work for me.  Too – something.  Schmaltzy?
  • The Sundays’ B-Sides 1989-1997.  Three stars straight through – fine, but nothing that’s going to make me find the album again.

17 September 2008

Today I did the following things:

  • wrote some letters
  • went to EXTREME TRAINING and worked so hard that I felt like I’d throw up
  • wore a long-sleeved shirt for the first time in months
  • rode yellow bike
  • listened to The New Pornographers and also The Watson Twins
  • ate some soup
  • got embroiled in office politics
  • helped a deaf patron
  • drank a mocha
  • learned about fats

I’m too tired to form complete sentences.  Except that one, I guess.

16 September 2008

Our new place has no outdoor space – not even a balcony for our little garden – so about half of our plants went to Mark’s house, and the surviving herbs were transplanted and are living in our kitchen window.  The cats have helped themselves to the chives, but otherwise everything seems to be thriving.

Someone in the complex, however, covertly stashed their basil in boxes by one of the flower beds.  I noticed it on my way to work one morning, and have subsequently checked on it regularly, pinching off any flowers or buds to keep it growing.

Yesterday, though, I noticed that the basil is gone.  I hope that the sneaky farmers retrieved their plants and that they weren’t just tossed by the maintenance people.  That’d be a sad end for two bins of lovely fragant basil.

15 September 2008

I grew up in a very heavily Swedish town in Northern Illinois.  I guess it’s more of a city, really.  And I guess it’s probably only the side of town where I grew up – the northeast, but generally the side east of the river – that is or was heavily Swedish.  I could be wrong about that, though.

Anyway.

I grew up in a heavily Swedish church in a heavily Swedish town, and the thing to do on Sundays after church was to go to Stockholm Inn for Swedish pancakes and lingonberries.  It didn’t seem odd to have several Andersons, Ericksons (or Ericsons), Gustafsons, Johnsons, Olsons, or Petersons in any of my classes.  I never thought anything of this until I moved away to places that were not overwhelmingly Swedish or – like where we are now – weren’t Swedish in the least bit.

None of this is the point of this post, however.  For work today, I made my Swedish Apple pie from the Kitchen Table Cookbook.  I’m not in the least bit Swedish, and I have no idea why the pie is Swedish, but it’s delicious, and tangentially related to another food that I have sentimental memories of, and there you have it.

14 September 2008

A year ago today I said my farewells to most of my Champaign friends.  I packed up my last few things from my job.  I went out for drinks with my coworkers, except that Jill couldn’t drink, and Garret was blinded by the late afternoon sun.  I had dinner at Bread Co, and a bourbon outside at the Esquire, too cold for the little dress I was wearing.  I danced my ass off at 80s night, with lots of songs played by my DJ friend just for me, lots of laughs as one of the professors joined us, lots of sweaty happy hugs at the end of the night.  The next morning I packed up the car, hugged Molly goodbye, had a last breakfast at Sam’s with a few sleepy friends, then hit the road with Jimi’s mix CD before I could lose my resolve and composure completely.

Do I still miss Champaign?  Absolutely, almost every day.  I miss my friends.  I miss my job (though Karla is filling my shoes wonderfully, including insanely multi-tasking, though she’s taken it much further than I ever thought about).  I miss our sunny cool apartment, and I miss our easy life, and I miss the way I could fly down University on yellow bike at 7am.  I miss the garden patch, and knowing people everywhere we went, and eating and drinking (and smoking, but only sometimes) with Carl.  The missing is palpable.

But there are really great things about being here, too.  Today we biked down to Old Town for brunch and had a lovely time, even though we were drenched in sweat when we arrived.  We’re better cooks and better partners.  We’ve made some friends, and have found some favorite places.  We have a funny Mina.  Life is good, though the hole in my heart shaped like East Central Illinois hasn’t gotten any smaller.

Getting Caught Up

Hey there.  Long time no post.  How’ve you been?  Busy?  Yeah, us too.  We unpacked the last of the boxes today, so we’re looking forward to a whole lot of the following:

Sunshine Sleepies

Two weeks ago, we made the move from highrise hell to a cute condo north of Old Town Alexandria.  We’re right off the George Washington Parkway, just a hop skip and a jump from the Potomac on one side, and Buzz and Rustico on the other.  The new place certainly has its challenges, including a tiny kitchen (at least when compared to our last two):

New Kitchen

but it makes up for it with sunlight and a washer and dryer and no elevator and trees and quiet neighbors and lots of things for Mina to climb:

Nobody puts Mina in a corner

This weekend I was supposed to be in class Friday night and all day Saturday, but due to a registration snafu, we unexpectedly had an entirely free weekend ahead of us at 5pm on Friday night.  We took advantage of it and went on a date, watched a lot of football, and found farmers’ market treasures on a very hot Saturday:

How much does $4 get you?

8 pounds of peppers for $4!  I roasted most of them while SB relaxed after lugging them (and lots of other stuff) around the market for too long in the sun.  They’ll make for fantastic eating in a few months.

In other news, a frittata miracle occured Thursday night:

Fritatta in the panFrittata out of the pan!

The secret? Amply coating the bottom of the pan with butter, then spraying the sides with non-stick spray. Genius.  Now that things are a bit more settled, I’m hoping that we can get back to more regular adventures – and also more regular blogging – around these parts.  Until then, please make sure you’re registered to vote, and keep cool and out of harm’s way.

13 September 2008

We might not have an overhead light in the bedroom currently, but the rice that I made and the pretty pre-fab dinner that Shane is making smell amazing, and the music on the radio is pleasant, and we had an excellent trip to the market, and Iowa beat Iowa State, and I got eight pounds of beautiful peppers for $4 (and now have four containers of roasted peppers in the freezer), and tomorrow we’re going here for brunch tomorrow, and I might take a bath later.

A nice day.

12 September 2008

In truth, I’m not at all disappointed that my class registration was messed up (and by that I mean, not completed despite me doing far more than I should have had to do), as it meant that I got home at a normal time, and SB took me out on a date, and tomorrow we get to do fun things instead of me having to be at school all day.  I’m feeling a strong urge to nest, so I imagine this weekend will be full of home-y things and also exploring Alexandria.  Having an utterly free weekend is a wonderful surprise.

Also, happy #24 to my little sister!