Welcome Home, Mr. President!

It snowed today – our first real snow this winter.  In honor of the expected 1-3 inches (with another 1-3 tonight), there were significant school closures, and I’m sincerely hoping for a snow day tomorrow.  Please compare this with two years ago, when the University closed school for snow for the first time since 1979 due to 18 inches overnight, with another 6 inches accumulating during the work day.  While I do miss true winter weather and find DC winters totally strange, I think that we have maybe just enough winter weather so that I can enjoy it without hating it.


Things I’m Into Lately

(I’m sorry for all the lists. That seems to be the way my brain is functioning these days.)

  • Homemade bread using the always reliable Naked Chef recipe. I know several people who swear by the no-knead, but the tactile pleasure of kneading, rolling, reshaping, kneading, rising, etc is about half of the joy of homemade bread for me.
  • My thesis. It’s no so much that I’m into it as I’m pretty committed to it, and feeling good about it, and that’s more than I can say about some previous relationships. The first draft is done, and I’m on to the second!
  • Snow! I was feeling disjointed because we haven’t had ANY (other than a few flurries) all winter, and then the weather obliged with big fat flakes this morning.
  • Inching towards omnivorousness. Whenever SB has beef, I have a bite or two. Maybe by the next time we go to Good Stuff, I’ll be able to eat a burger all by myself. Baby steps!
  • Making tasty things, then stretching them to last for a week’s worth of meals.  Tonight I made something resembling Tom Kha soup from a recipe Laurie sent me.  Leftovers are your friend when going home for lunch isn’t an option.
  • Being a homebody. Maybe I’m just in a nesting kind of mood, but I find myself craving being at home whenever I’m not. This might be related to the bread-making, or to the hour I spent writing letters in our sunlit bedroom, or how damned cute our cats are, or to the fact that this winter won’t make up its mind whether it’s staying or going.

25 things, part two

Because I’ve been tagged again, I will try my best to come up with 25 additional things that may be of interest and/or amusement about me.  I might fail, though, so don’t hold your breath.

1. I really enjoy baking bread.  I likes kneading it, and I likes eating it.
2. I wrote my senior thesis on Joseph Conrad even though I didn’t really like him.  In retrospect, I’m not really sure why I got such a good grade on it.
3. I go through phases in which I’m really interested in alchemy.
4. I would really like to learn Esperanto for absolutely no good reason.
5. I used to think that if I ever moved somewhere new, I would like to go by my middle name, which is Marie.
6. I was a practical instructor for the med school at the University of Illinois.  This meant that among other things, I taught med students to do breast and pelvic exams.
7. As a result of #6, I am now quite competent at breast and pelvic exams, though I’m totally not diagnostically qualified to do them.
8. Also as a result of #6, I know that I have an anteverted uterus and nodular breast tissue, and both of those things are NORMAL.
9. Also as a result of #6, I learned the word ‘os’, which has come in handy while playing Scrabble recently.
10. I’m about six weeks away from defending my thesis for my Certificate of Advanced Study, a degree I’m completing mainly because I left a doctoral program and didn’t want my work to go to waste.
11. I wasn’t allowed to watch cartoons when I was a kid, so I missed out on all of the theme songs and commercial jingles that Shane and Keem seem to know so well.
12. My first pet was a fish from a carnival.  It lived a lot longer than carnival fish should.
13. Since then I have had: 4 cats and 1 rabbit, plus other secondary pets owned by roommates.  I think I also had a fish, but I can’t really remember.
14. I love love love county fairs, but really only the ones that have small animal barns for my perusal.  I particularly like the chickens that appear to be wearing pants.
15. I currently have my tongue, ears, and tragii pierced.  I used to have my belly button pierced, along with a second stud in my tongue.
16. When I went to library school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I thought it might involve kids.
17. Within the first week of library school, I decided that I didn’t want to be a librarian – not because I didn’t like library stuff, but because I was much more engaged in other things.  Whoops.
18. Last year I canned vegetables and made pickles for the first time.  I’m looking forward to expanding my canning empire in the new year.
19. I infinitely prefer sleeping with the windows open to the alternative, even if it means that the light makes it harder to get to sleep.  This may be a reaction to the fact that most of my relationship dudes have preferred a very dark bedroom.
20. I love ranch dressing.  It’s a fault, and I know it, but I don’t really care.
21. I am Very Bad at video games.
22. I played volleyball in junior high and high school.  I’m not sure why I was encouraged to do this, as I wasn’t very good.  Things that involve hand-eye coordination and/or things flying at my face are generally a bad idea for me.
23. In college I wrote some very melodramatic poetry that was published in the school literary journal.  But then who didn’t?
24. When I was 4, I was very concerned about extinction.  To wit, I cried when I learned that the dodo was extinct.
25. Serve me a relish tray, and I’ll be happy.  It was always the first thing to go at the holidays at grandma’s house because my sibs and I would steal all the olives and pickles.  That hasn’t changed.

The Best of Yesterday’s Inauguration Coverage (by my friend Abigail)

Facebook | Abigail Constantino’s Notes

What I did on Inauguration – Bullet Points Yesterday at 7:53pm

* Woke up. Rode metro. Annoyed by irresponsible gum chewer.
* Met up with Liz and Steph on corner of North Capitol around 7 am.
* Interviewed by Emerson College students making a documentary. I am a Communications genius! I should be Press Secretary.
* Diverted to 3rd Street Tunnel.
* Arrived at Mall.
* Liz and Steph hoist me up to take a picture of the crowds. Turns out Greg Rec from Portland Press Herald snapped a picture of us. Check it out! Scroll down to Images from DC, photo 7.
* Gave up parade route plan, set blanket down at Mall, next to Smithsonian exit, around 8:00 am.
* Amanda calls, “Come over there’s plenty of room on Penn and Conn!” Folded blanket, headed towards 7th and Conn checkpoint.
* Used the cleanest port-a-john in the city.
* Found Amanda! Boo!
* Played cards, ran in place, did lunges, had friends sit on feet. Soooo cold!
* Went for a quick jog around the area. Lo and behold, a street vent!!!
* Obama inaugurated.
* Nell arrives.
* Ate sandwich
* Antics: running in place, swinging side to side, taking pictures of the Sheriffs of Wilmington County, NC’s butts, America’s Next Top Model poses, breakdancing.
* Several trips to the vent in between all of the above.
* Parade…FINALLY!
* Walked with Nell to Dupont.
* Took Metro. Home in 20 minutes. Kudos to WMATA today!

Wine-Braised Chicken with Shallots and Pancetta

Wine-Braised Chicken with Shallots and Pancetta

Guys, seriously this is the new awesome recipe of deliciousness.  We’ve gotten into making one big pot of something on the weekend, then eating it throughout the week.  The problem with this recipe is that it’s so damned good that there’s barely anything left.  Seriously, if you are a chicken eater, MAKE THIS TONIGHT.  OR TOMORROW NIGHT.  I’M NOT PICKY JUST MAKE IT WHENEVER IT’S CONVENIENT AND THEN EMAIL ME TO TELL ME HOW AWESOME IT IS.  Because it is awesome.


I know that all of you are dying to know if we’re going to the Inauguration or not.  To be honest, I’m not sure!

DC is supposed to be just totally effing nutty in the next few days. We found out today that our friends Aggie and Jason will be driving down from Chicago after getting tickets at the Very Last Minute.  We’ve fielded at least one other inquiry about sleeping on our floor.  I can’t imagine what my friends who actually live in the city are hearing!  We heard on the radio that the market for renting out your apt for the inauguration kind of went bust – which is consolation for not doing the same thing ourselves, I guess.

I’m off work on Tuesday as a result of the inauguration – GW is closed because of its proximity to all kinds of important DC things.  The campus advisory email that went out today sounded terribly alarmist, warning members of the GW community to make sure they had cash (to avoid long lines at ATMs), to carry their GW IDs at all times when on campus, and that absolutely no one would be allowed to sleep in their offices this weekend.  I’m not sure how they’re going to enforce that last one but hey – not my problem!  I’ll be sleeping in my own bed!

The actual festivities will be going down on a day with a projected high of 32, and a low of 7.  Now, with all those people on the Mall, the body heat alone should be enough to bump it up a few degrees – but that’s pretty cold to voluntarily stand outside for hours on end with a million and a half of your best friends.  Logistically speaking, I’m not really sure how this is going to work.  Metro can’t manage to keep the escalators at Foggy Bottom running on a normal day – how’s it going to work with three times the normal population of DC swarming in for one day?

All of these things add up to my mixed feelings about trying to see some of the festivities on Tuesday.  I’m beyond thrilled about what will be taking place – the historic event, the inauguration of a president for whom I campaigned, donated money, and sent up many an anxious prayer – I’m just not sure if I want to go down to the Mall to celebrate it, or if I’d rather celebrate from my couch, glass of champagne in hand.

Either way, it’s a momentous occasion, and I’m awfully excited about it.

Awesome Discovery of the Week

First of all, did you know that George Soros is a native speaker of Esperanto?  Posting this as my status message on Facebook resulted in a whole discussion of the term ‘native speaker’ and if one could be a native speaker (or whatever your preferred term) of a made up language.  That’s all very interesting – but seriously!  A native speaker! of Esperanto! and also a very influential billionaire!  These things can’t be unrelated.

One of my lifetime ambitions is to learn Esperanto.  I don’t think there’s a rational explanation for this – I just get really excited – not even excited, GIDDY – at the thought of it.  Today I picked up Universala Esperanto Metodo De Doktoro Benson, which is this fabulous book from 1932 with pronunciation guides, an illustrated dictionary, and short stories that I assume I’ll be able to read once I learn according to the good doctor’s metodo.  If you want to see something really amazing, I’d recommend clicking on this link, which will take you to a PDF version of the first 20 or so pages of the text.

I excitedly asked Shane last night if we could raise our children to be native Esperanto speakers.  His immediate response was, “No, that’d be terrible.”  I figure it’s worked out OK for George Soros, though.