no simmering life but a boiling one

1.
I woke up this morning sick as shit. I don’t know where it came from, but it felt a little like several essential parts of my body got together and decided to put me in time out. You’ve been doing too much, they said, and it’s time to stop. I ignored the message for a while, but when I looked in the mirror at work and didn’t really recognize myself, it was time to go home. I took photos with my phone to prove the point; when I checked just now, they’re not there.

2.
Last night Erin and I saw David Byrne and St Vincent at the Chicago Theater. We both had to temper our slight disappointment with the knowledge that this was David Byrne AND St Vincent, not Talking Heads. But the sound was fantastic and Chicago got on its feet and danced, and when they closed with Road to Nowhere, it was like something out of an old revival, hands in the air, voices united.

3.
I’ve fallen into that city-dwelling habit of eating out too often while observing evolution in action in my crisper. Every couple of weeks, I buy a bag of produce from Edible Alchemy and dream big dreams about what I’m going to make – and then I devour the fruit while letting the zucchinis go soft, the potatoes grow eyes, the onions shed their dusty skins.

4.
A week submerged in The Diaries of Anais Nin. I’m not sure that I can neatly summarize it. It’s been a complicated, emotional year, and so many of the things she described resonated with my experience while also being completely foreign to me. Perhaps this, from November 1933:

Allendy took pains to delineate my character, my true nature, my human attitudes, but it was by a process of oversimplification. The mold into which he tried to fit me came to a climax the day he suggested I should take love more lightly, give it less importance, to evade tragedy. That I should take a playful attitude towards it. It should be sweet and casual, easygoing and interchangeable…This was the natural conclusion to the formation of my human self, to normalcy; and if he was right about overcoming tragedy, par contre, he overlooked the deeper cravings of an artist, for whom deep full love is the only possible form, no simmering life but a boiling one, no small compromise with reality.

5.
Fall has arrived right on schedule. Last night the thermostat dipped low. It is 6:45pm in my living room, and my space is illuminated more by my laptop than by the waning sunlight. Laurie said that we’re losing 2 minutes of daylight each day. But still the ice cream truck sits on the corner, and I dream of swimming in the lake and of all of the summer things that didn’t happen amidst all that did.

6.
Six months in Chicago, and Jeremy said that it sounds like I’m home. Two and a half years in Ann Arbor. Two years in DC. A year each at MPub and Kresge, two years at Gelman. Five years in this goddamned profession. Six years in a relationship, seven months out. I love Chicago. Chicago exhausts me. I’m envious of friends who have recently moved to quieter places. I worry that my life here will burn me out. I don’t know.

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0925 Corn Chowder and an Attempted Robbery!

Another quiet Saturday.  Shane got home last night, tired and sick after a week away.  We went to Corner on our way back from the airport, had beers and fish tacos, and went to bed early.  Seriously, he was sawing logs by 9pm – well deserved after a long day of travel while under the weather.

To his credit, he dragged himself out of bed in time to go to the market with me – on the condition that we go to Comet first so that he could get his first good coffee in a week or more.  Apparently Viennese coffee is all weak or sweetened or both – not the bracing fantastic espressos and cappuccinos from SF, alas.  Comet cappuccinos followed by pumpkin donuts and several random friend meetings at the market makes for a nice fall morning.

And so we spent the Saturday – a few chores, a little moped work, a lot of getting caught up on new tv, and another batch of corn chowder with more sweet ears of market corn.  I’ve been buying a few extra each time so that our freezer is nicely stocked for the months to come.  I just hope we have enough…

Oh, and because several people have requested more biography and less straight-up food blogging, I should mention that at the end of a very relaxing and laid-back fall day, some JERK tried to steal one of the mopeds off the porch!  I was in the bathroom, so I didn’t witness any of this, but Shane was sitting on the couch and heard a weird noise outside, and when he got up to check on it, he found some dude trying to pick up one of the mopeds.  That alone is a feat since they aren’t light vehicles and they’re kind of packed in on the porch, and probably should’ve indicated his frame of mind.  Shane yelled at the guy, who backed off of the porch as if he were getting kicked out of the club “yeah, yeah, I’m going”.  Some further yelling took place as the guy walked away down the driveway and Shane followed, phone in hand and dialing the cops all the while.

By the time I looked outside to see what the hubbub was about, both Shane and the dude were across the street and Shane had reached the cops – in time for the dude to sort of attempt to chase Shane off?  I guess?  The cops were at our place within about 10 minutes, reporting that they’d caught the guy – a homeless(?) teen or 20something from an area familiar to the cops – so all’s well that ends well, though we’re newly paranoid about the (locked up) mopeds on the porch and our general safety in the area.

25 September 2008

The weather turned cool and rainy today, and SB and I had difficulty getting out of bed as a result.  The last few mornings have been deliciously cool – not so cold that you need a jacket, but cool enough that staying under the thin blankets curled up together seems like a good idea.  We had warm homemade cereal with chopped up bites of apple for breakfast.

I spent pretty close to all day in my office, making progress on assorted things.  This week I’ve had a lot of self-directed time which is a nice change from endless meetings – but also means that I struggle at times to keep motivated or focused or – something.  What’s the word I’m going for?  Yesterday I purged my desk of clutter and made piles organized by project = focus!  In case you’re curious, a few things that I’m working on currently:

  1. An evaluation of statistics tools and processes with the hopeful end result of implementing a consistent (and systematic) workflow in all the public service points.
  2. Transitioning to a different staffing model for our IM service, for which I have basically sole responsibility, having disbanded my committee last week.
  3. Working with other campus units to create library content for the modular University portal site (well, trying to do so).

I battled a throbbing headache all day, then came home a little early and sat with a cup of French press coffee for a bit.  Dinner was perfect for the weather – a sort of cassoulet with from-scratch tomato sauce and tarragon pork sausage.  Rich, flavorful, and filling, though we were snackish later on.  Next time we’ll have some crusty bread and it will be exactly right.

21 September 2008

A long weekend with lovely friends, about which more will be posted soon.

Fall is upon us tomorrow, and with it has come and/or is coming cooler weather.  The last few days have topped off in the 70s (though today was a bit higher), and it’s been delicious.  Claire said she doesn’t know how to feel about all of this, but I know how I feel: delighted.  I love fall and sweaters and knee socks and apple cider.  I love colorful leaves that go crunch under foot and how the days are sometimes warmer, but the nights are solidly cool.  I love the first time that we put the really soft wintery (but not flannel) sheets on the bed.  I’m not looking forward to the end of the growing season – but that’s a bit off from now.  Right now I can be excited about apples and squash and warm kitties seeking warm cuddles in the cooler nights.

i have email in my inbox sitting long unanswered.

i came home to a cold and dark apartment, where i found a book with a handwritten note from my now-departed houseguest, who was so beautiful asleep on my couch that i did everything i could to avoid waking her.

i really want pizza & beer & to dance with my friends until i’m out of breath from laughter.

i have been wasting too much time trying to come up with my halloween costume.

i read a quiet, small, sweet graphic novel earlier in the week that hit close to home.

this time of year i fall in love with the midwest over & over & over again. this season is my “mysterious stranger”, & i could never live somewhere where the leaves don’t turn & where sweaters aren’t a necessity.

my table is covered with magazines & files & notebooks & books & a bright blue pen & a birth control packet left half-open.

today i am all about the smell of cold & grey wife-beater shirts & hot cider & cuffing my jeans up to accommodate my bike & drunk boys who pull you close to say silly things in your ear on the dance floor.

a cross-posted list

thinking about matt leaving for baghdad, and how fucked up i am over it. last night i wanted to call him back and keep him on the phone because if he was on the phone, he couldn’t be sent away from me and sarah and greg and his family and his wife and everyone else who loves him – because you can’t know him and not love him. and yet i know that this love is enough, that it will wrap layers of protection around him, and that it will bring him home to us.

thinking about assessment in online pedagogy, and how the things i’m reading point to a lack of research in this area. thinking that i have, once again, found myself at a crossing point where my reading and my interests and my various jobs are all meshing, and that maybe this is a direction that will really work. i spent an hour last night requesting books from the library, and will spend another hour or two tonight requesting articles. this is a good feeling, and borders on the excitement i’ve been so desperately looking for.

thinking about sex – ok, thinking about sex too much. it’s been a long time, and i find myself wondering if what i need is just some rockin’ sexual chemistry to knock me out of this ongoing neutral.

thinking about the turn of the season, the coming of fall, and sleeping warm between flannel sheets. thinking about pumpkin soup and hot chocolate and corn mazes and the crunch of leaves underfoot. thinking about football games on tv and mugs of hot cider and the way the light is golden this time of year.

thinking about chemistry. i spent most of yesterday baking challah for our (very early) rosh hashanah dinner. this particular recipe requires three rises – make the dough, rise an hour, knead the dough, rise an hour, braid the dough, rise an hour, and then into the oven it goes. the dough just would not rise – at least not to my expectations – and while i swam my laps yesterday the not-rising dough turned into this whole allegory for my relationships in the past year – y’know, bad chemistry, or not enough heat, or lopsided braiding, etc – and i had prepared this whole witty story in my head that i was going to present as i took the lopsided flat loaf out of my bag and set it on the table – and then it was perfect. perfect – and i’m sure there’s an allegory to go with that as well, but i haven’t figured it out yet.

thinking about talking like a pirate – it is, after all, talk like a pirate day, and it’s too silly of a thing not to be all about. i am wearing my pirate bandana and my super wench tee with pride.

Each season seems to have its own signature moment for me – sometimes there’s a new one each year, sometimes they carry over. One of my signature summer moments was swimming in the river two years ago with Eva – it was an unbearably hot June day, and we waded into the river still in our summer dresses. I floated on my back and looked at the clear summer sky, the sun drying my dress while still in the water. Fall is unexpected days off – sick days, usually – spent curled up in blankets on the couch drinking tea and watching bad TV. I was home sick on 9/11, and I remember watching Sweet November on pay per view just to get away from the constant coverage. A moment from this last winter – sitting in bed at Shawn’s, the two of us wearing his button-down long-sleeved shirts to stay warm despite the piles of blankets, reading in bed, playing on his laptop, and drinking coffee. Springtime – the first weekend it was really, really nice – walking from Shawn’s apartment to Aroma, and eating on the patio in the sunshine – people-watching and loving my new home all over again.

It’s still summer but the unseasonably cold weather has got me thinking about fall, about the changing leaves and apple cider and sweaters and curling up with my boy. I’m thinking about sick days on the couch with a mug of cocoa. I’m thinking about fuzzy tights. I’m almost ready to put my sandals away. The summer heat will come back, but I don’t think I want it to – not yet.