Friday, December 23, 2011

My Daguerreotype Boyfriend

Molly just introduced me to a really fun blog.

My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
 Where Early Photography Meets Extreme Hotness.

Dashing, through the snow. 

ca. 1850’s, [daguerreotype portrait of a young man]
via Live Auctioneers, Be-hold

I love that a blog like this exists. My sisters and I just spent the last 10 minutes sipping tea and ogling over hot dead dudes. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Cookies/Cookys- Read this if you think you could use a good case of the guffaws

My dad wrote this in an email recently. I believe it was his version of a holiday greeting card. It cracked me up. P.S Pops, I am making you some molasses cookies over break. xoxo 

The fact of the matter is, that I am indifferent to the color or
shapes of cookies, even Christmas cookies. Round, square, in the shape
of a fat man or reindeer, blue green, red with sprinkles; it's all the
same to me--so long as they taste good.  So when Debi was making a
batch of Christmas cookies I was suddenly overcome by the nostalgia of
Mom's molasses cookies.  Big ones, soft and cakey, that you eat with a
cauldron of cold, whole milk.  That you can dunk, or to avoid the
ineveitable decomposition of the cookie when it is saturated, and the
disconcerting particulate suspension in the milk, which no one is
particularly fond of, you can do what I do.  Disgustingly, take a
large bite of the cooky and then fill any void spaces left over in
your mouth with milk.  To do this right you need a bib, but I never
wear one.

Well there was no recipe for molasses cookies in the family cookbook
that we put together so I went on the internet.  Some of the recipes
there used a lot of spices such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon and
allspice, but I did not remember mom's cookies being particularly
spicy, I just remembered the taste of the molasses.  So I decreased
the amounts of spices and eliminated cloves.  Some of the recipes
called for a large proportion of refined sugar as compared to the
molasses, but as I indicated before, what I remembered from Mom's
cookies was the flavor of the molasses, so I upped the proportion of
black strap molasses and pretty much eliminated the refined sugar.  I
synthesized several recipes for the egg, milk and flour components,
and because the memory of molasses cookies was so strong I decided to
double the recipe.

Then it came to mixing the ingredients together, and the truth is, I
probably could have followed the directions a little better with
regard to the sequence of adding ingredients, etc.  Looking back, it
is clear to me now that mixing half a cubic yard of sakrete in a
wheelbarrow would have taken about the same amount of effort, and
would have yielded similar results.  This is where I began to get some
premonitions of the eventual outcome.

Debi remarked that she had not seen molasses cooky dough that stiff,
and she questioned the nature of the copious white nodules in the
batter.  I explained that they were organic, and could be eaten.

The only thing about cookies, other than taste, that I am not
indifferent too is size, so I decided to make them big.  I retreived a
wide mouth glass from the cup board and used that to cut out the
cookies from the rolled-out dough.  Interestingly, as stiff as the
mixed dough was, I was able to use a standard rolling pin to roll it
out and did not have to trouble myself with renting some sort of a
roller from Uhall.

Then I baked them, I used the maximum temperature and the maximum time
from the assorted recipes on the internet for the first batch, and in
successive batches doubled the time, then added to that.  I finally
resorted to finishing them off using the convection utility on the
oven which converts it to sort of a blast furnace.

I was disappointed, the cookies are lousy.  They have the specific
gravity of a lead sinker, but slightly better texture.  On the upside
they do not dissolve when you dunk them milk, in fact, I am not sure
they would dissolve in nitric acid.  They are round and about the size
of a clay pigeon.  They could be used as such, except I doubt if they
would break apart unless they were hit dead center with a deer slug.

I jotted down the recipe that I was propounding from my imagination
and the internet sources, I am considering approaching Corning glass
with it, I think that many of the ceramic properties of the cookies
have industrial or military applications.

Then I thought of the other thing.  When I think of cookies, really
contemplate them, I come to realize that they are the villians of the
cullinary world.  What do cookies contribute to nutrition---nothing.
In fact too much sugar has been linked to all sorts of health
problems.  The other thing about cookies is that they are addictive,
they are like rabbits, one cooky begets another, and another, and
another, etc.  For example, starting with the resolve to just eat one,
the next thing that you know is that you have gone through a quart of
milk and a couple of sleeves of Oreo's.

Not with these cookies, beginning with the first bite, there is in
fact a diminishing desire to take another bite.  Finish the first
cookie (some alzheimers patients and unusually desparate people would
do that) and the the idea of having another cooky, any cooky is
repugnant.  Better yet the after taste remains with you for the rest
of the day.

If you visit us over the holidays you can have as many as you want.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A job?

               This is not how I spent my morning.

Today I had my second job interview.

I was a bit of a nervous wreck. I know this about myself, so the night before I took a diphenhydramine and went to bed at 9, so that I wouldn't be nervous and sleep deprived. I left for the interview at 7:45, giving myself an hour and 15 minutes to make a 50 minute drive, knowing that I would likely get lost in, I did. But only for a short while. The drive was nerve wracking because I hate fast paced urban driving. And I hate driving in new places. Really I am more of a horse and buggy type. So anyway. I got there. And proceeded to have what I thought was a pretty shitty interview. Sure, I shined a few times. But there were at least two instances in which I was fumbling over words and thinking to myself, "This sucks. Am I making sense. Do I sound like an idiot." Not a good sign right?

But I had already realized that if I was not offered the job I wouldn't beat myself up about it because I don't need the freaking commute or the challenge of teaching low-income kids who are minorities with special needs in the neediest school district in the state. I don't mean to sound heartless. I am also excited about teaching these kids. And they deserve passionate, caring, devoted teachers like me who so want to be the best teacher that they give themselves ulcers. But I am terrified. And intimidated. And would rather be doing it as a single person with no kids of her own and a less complicated personal life.

Then they told me they wanted to hire me. One of the interviewers actually said, "We want to hire you." And she said, "I think this went very well." A few times. I am pretty sure she was trying to convince herself. I am pretty sure they didn't get a lot of applicants. But I need the job. And it pays better than the district I live in. I don't quite have the job yet though. I have to be observed teaching a lesson. Unless I bomb that, I suppose I have a job. She said she wants me to start work before the 9th of January. And I am sure a month in, I will stop vibrating and putting the lettuce in the freezer like I did today.

This afternoon I bought two books that promise to help me become a better (white) teacher of minority kids.

Black Ants and Buddhists- Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades


Beyond heroes and Holidays- A practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dating- A Tragicomedy, Le Fin

Dating is crazy. Almost as crazy as a woman in a bikini trying to be a clock.

Dating for me was/is an alien experience. I never really dated before I got married. Anyone I went out with was someone I had already known. No online dating. No let's hang out first in daylight so I can make sure you are not a complete psycho. I tend to attract some pretty wackadoodle people in my non-dating life already, I have no desire to push my luck. So, beginning to date felt like being plunked down into another country without a lonely planet guide, without a compass, without even traveler's checks. Do those even exist any more? I guess they do? And if we take the confusion and pain and well, confusion that is the natural outcome of a separation, even a very amicable and loving one like mine, if we could take that confused pain out of the equation, dating is still very confusing.

The Game
There is the whole game thing. To play or not to play. Some friends/siblings/cousins will counsel you to not call the person even if you are DYING to. Some will say to wait, three, no four days to call. Some will say keep emails to a maximum of 5 lines. Some will say do not be too eager. I have always loved cats but if I were a cat or a dog. I'd be a dog. I am eager. And I have trouble not showing my feelings. Trouble?? I am nearly incapable of it, unless it has to do with kids and professionalism, in which case I can hold my own. So, I don't play games. Even if I decided to wait to call or email or whatever, I would forget an hour later and oops, I have communicated. My cousin says that is a common downfall of women when it comes to dating. She claims that men, and women, want to chase. It is biological, she says. And I get that. But I suck at the letting myself be chased thing. So I don't let myself be chased. But then I worry the whole  damn time that I should have.

So here is my story.

I dated this guy for several months. Was he ever my boyfriend? I don't think so. Did I want him to be? Yes. Could I talk to him about my frustrations with this? Hardly. At least not in any direct, articulate and meaningful kind of way. Because I felt like I was being neurotic or crazy or both. Because I was scared of being rejected. Because I did not know what I was doing, though people have been doing it for centuries. I wanted, in the wise words of Joni Mitchell, To knit him a sweater, write him a love letter and make him feel better. Or at least I thought I did. In the end, and after several months, the last few of which I was starting to feel slightly disappointed by him on a regular basis (not a good sign...duh), he dumped me. For an ex-girlfriend. Who he had been in love with for a year and a half. Who he was still in love with. And he did it in an email. And he did it the day after Thanksgiving, after declining to come to dinner at my house last minute.

So, for a few days I was really raw. And then we talked. And so many things made sense. And I realized it really was for the best. I have learned a few things. I should trust my gut more. I should not be afraid to put myself out there and be more vulnerable, maybe it would have ended things sooner with him. I still feel grateful to him. Aside from being the worst dumper, he was really sweet and he helped me get through a really tough time.

And there you have it. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Civil Wars

I am addicted to this song and this band right now. Big shout out to cousin Bobby for the introduction! Apparently they opened for Adele. That would be one amazing and depressing show. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Don't scowl at my cowl

Last year I made a cowl that was a bit too restrained, it wasn’t cowly enough. This year, armed with a chunky wool blend in a lovely peacock-teal shade and my size 11 needles, I set out to fulfill my need for a cozy (easy to make) neckwarmer. It was a success, even my fashionable NYC sister (who would declare she is not fashionable) wants one. I am making her one right now.

Mermaid Cowl- Super easy

I cast on 29 stitches (you need to use a multiple of 6 stitches plus 5 to do the chevron pattern)

1st row (right side) K5,[ p1, k5] to end
2nd row K1, [p3, k3] to last 4 stitches, p3, k1
3rd row P2, [k1, p2] to end
4th row P1, [k3, p3] to last 4 stitches, k3, p1
5th K2, [p1, k5] to last 3 stitches, p1, k2
6th row Purl to end

Repeat these 6 rows until it is the length you desire. Bind off and use a crochet hook to stitch up the seam. 


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