28 June 2007

All of the week

Q: So, Nora, what have you been up to?
A: Oh, not much. Working and not working, sleeping and not sleeping, reading, sweating, not cooking, and taking cold showers.

Q: Whatcha reading?
A: Well, I just finished re-reading Tipping the Velvet and last weekend I ripped through All the Pretty Horses, the writing style of which reminded me of Faulkner, but somehow I was able to stand it--can't say the same for Faulkner. I'm late to the party on Cormac McCarthy, and I've wanted to read The Road ever since that guy I interviewed with at The Retail Bookstore back in September mentioned that he was loving it (you can always trust employee recommendations of that sort) but I am concerned I will lose some cred reading an Oprah book. She ruins everything. But still...the book existed before she picked it, and there's some comfort in the fact that a post-apocalyptic novel of ruination and devastation will be in the hands of many people more used to things like guest appearances by Dr. Phil or Best Friend Gail. Right now I'm tackling Anna Karenina. Little light beach reading, you know...

Q: Bitchin' hot, no?
A: It was worse yesterday (Wednesday). The power outages in the New York City region must have rolled over the main technology office of My Big Employer, because all systems out of their New Jersey office went down around 4:00 so we all beat it. When I got home it was too hot to move. I put on my home-wear only hippie dress and cuddled a kyew-jay-oh-eye-doubleyou (Quart Jar Of Ice Water) and waited to feel normal. Never did. The cat is barfing up puddles of clear, thick liquid, which is a little unsettling, but he's drinking alright and eating about what one would expect in this heat. I'm eating less too, all of it raw and most of it green. Our power went off for about half an hour around 8:45, but all I lost was the radio and the ceiling fan, so I wasn't out much. The community board on LiveJournal was buzzing with much bitching about losing the AC for a time. I have zero sympathy for that, frankly. If you have AC you don't have the opportunity to feel that finest thing of the summer: cooler breezes in the night, through your open bedroom window.

Q: Heard you had a rough Tuesday.
A: Yeeeaah, I did. All I wanted was to come home from the 94-degree day and have a big quick green salad with the arugula I bought at the farmer's market, drink a G&T, and go to gamelan rehearsal. But my smoke alarm was going off. There was no fire (I checked) and there had been no fire for the three hours my neighbour reported it had been shrieking (note to neighbour: times like that, a call to the landlord might be in order. Just might, is all I'm saying). The cat was mightily freaked and the ringing exacerbated my dehydration headache, setting me just enough on edge that I must have sounded a treat in my phone message to the landlord. If only he'd addressed this smoke alarm the first time I had trouble, all of this might not have happened, or might have happened anyway... Anyway, to his great credit he left a grill-out at his house to come pry at the wires hanging out of my ceiling and determined that the unit itself--not the wiring or the backup battery--was faulty, and the alarm company would make amends and fix the thingy. So instead of fab dinner, I had half a glass of water and two ibuprofin. Nummy. It's been a bad week for the cat--later that night the cheap-o roller blind freed itself somehow from its bracket and fell on him, and my head.

Q: I bet you're glad that you have tomorrow off. You'd been saying how one of the finest aspects of Your Big Employer is the every-other-Friday-off summer hours.
A: Yeah, I was pumped until this morning when I got the email that informed me that the meeting tomorrow morning is actually mandatory, not "you are cordially invited to." My Big Employer really needs to work on its importance language. So I have to go in to work in time to be ready to sit down for a town hall meeting about our just-publicly announced merger; this meeting begins, for the alphabet group that encompasses "Rocket," at 9:00 AM sharp. I am thereby denied the finest pleasure of the day off--sleeping in--and obliged to scoot my brunch plan considerably. I am much inconvenienced by this and at this time, just past midnight when Thursday has turned to Friday, am considering just not going and trying to pass it off like I went. I won't actually do this, of course.

Q: Dude, a thousand natural shocks.
A: Don't I know it.

Q: That gives you a nice early start for your day, though.
A: It does, and in the end it'll work out okay--I'm going to get one of the first entry times for the Edward Hopper exhibit at the MFA for sure, and that'll be a gasser. Really looking forward to going to the museum. Then I'd like to come home, catch a nap, watch some of the flix on my shelf, and bake something dessert-y like for the My Alma Mater alumni picnic. The alphabet group that encompasses "Rocket" was tasked with desserts, and I think I'm going to bake that rhubarb cake that Jo does so well. S'posed to be cooler tomorrow too, so I might not be a total insane maniac for thinking about turning on the oven. Gawd, washing the dishes in the dark last night was hot enough; baking a cake for 30 minutes at 350 might be complete folly. I may just buy some Oreos and call it a day.

Q: No you won't.
A: You're right, I won't. Oreos are good, though.

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22 June 2007

It's all coming together

My finger cut, that is... nine days from the day I inflicted it and it's healing nicely, despite the fact that I bashed it open in the sink doing dishes--and twice in the shower, and on my work mailbox--during the week. As with most injuries, one doesn't realize how wonderfully and thoughtlessly in concert even the smallest parts of the body work until a part is taken out of commission. Turns out I use the thumb-side side (non-palm) surface of the "pointer" finger of my left hand quite a bit, most notably to brace the eyelet side of a hook-and-eyelet brassiere fastening. An unexpected inconvenience.

+ + +

In New York this past weekend for a event I never even considered wondering about the possibility of attending: fricking Television played in Central Park. Even without Richard Lloyd (hospital, pneumonia, and then amicably retired from the band) it was a good time. Even when they skewed juuussst a little jam-y for my tastes, it was a good time. The big closer, of course, "Marquee Moon" itself, and I held my cell phone up and recorded about a minute of it onto friend D's cell phone. His return message: "okay, two possibilities: you saw a really great Television cover band or--and this is obviously false--you saw Television." Ha.

Stayed with JS & M in Brooklyn, nice little two-level walk-up with a neighbourhood that felt on the cusp of gentrification. An exciting stay, and not just for a fine evening at Florent (delicious, with a completely nonstandard lack of pretension given the Frenchness and fineness of the cuisine) and chill grill out of a Saturday night (in the dark). No no. I hope they'll forgive the "we," but: in the middle of our horror movie showing, we discovered we had mice. During a particularly tense moment in Dead Ringers, out of the corners of our many eyes, we saw the first shadow dart across the floor. I thought cockroach, J thought mouse. J was right. Over the next hour and a half, we went from one mouse to the firm belief that there were no fewer than three, possibly four, in the house. And they were eating the stray dog food nuggets on the floor. A quick assessment of the human foodstuffs revealed they weren't yet all up in the apartment's oatmeal, and I suggested they'd just wandered in recently, to scope the joint. We put away the loose doggy nuggets, verified that the cabinets were sealed fully against the wall, put all the pantry foods in either cabinets or the fridge, and made the plan for the next day: Stinky, Dinky, Blinky, and the unconfirmed Winky would shuffle off their mousely coils at our hands, and a thorough clean would purge the crevasses beneath the fridge and stove of any habitats or leavings.

At the hardware store in Williamsburg, we had the most brutal business of all. No key cutting, fan buying, or bolt-cutter renting for us: we'd come for the lowest-fi of pest control devices, the snap trap. I was (inappropriately I admit, given that it's not my apartment) adamant about the merits of the snap trap over the glue trap. I hate those things, and if you're gonna kill something I think it should be swift, not stretched out over many sticky minutes of starving and panic. We asked the guy at the register if they really worked and he said "dees things been used for t'ousands a years, of course they work, right?"

Right. I wasn't there, but J and M reported that Sunday night they swept beneath the (relatively un-moused) stove and fridge and set out the traps. Monday morning it was requiem eternam Stinky and Dinky. Was there ever a Winky? Did he or she beat a hasty retreat to less patrolled regions of Brooklyn? No se.

+ + +

I hesitate to reveal my Friday night plans, but this 4-hour Ken Burns PBS documentary on the Lewis and Clark expedition surely would be better (than it already is) if that red wine hadn't soured on me...

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14 June 2007

Today was my birthday, and it's been quite a week.

I received three birthday cards, each one featuring a cat in a state of either whimsy or affection. All senders pointed out the similarity between the cat on the card and my personal cat. I thought, whose freaking birthday is this, anyway? Mine or his?

Happy birthday to me, y'all, ME ME ME.

+ + +

My series of unfortunate mornings began plainly enough: unexplained 20 minute transit delay on Monday. We sat on the bridge right before Charles MGH for some time. On Tuesday, I thought I'd save a few minutes by hopping on the bus--turning a 10 minute walk into a 3 minute ride. But traffic turned my 10 minute walk into 15 minutes of going nowhere. On my train car, the doors stopped working, which lead to 15 minutes of futzing at Harvard before they emptied my car into the adjoining and moved us along (and I'd even had a seat too...). On Wednesday, I thought, "I'm going to get up in plenty of time to take a shower, really think about what I'm going to put on, eat breakfast, and make it to work on time, finally." Instead, as I sliced the bagel that I'd purchased at the farmer's market the previous afternoon, I sliced open my left index finger. Even as I did it I realized my stupidity--bagel slicing! The number one home kitchen injury! And me with six years of bagel-inclusive food service work! I screamed silently in the kitchen, bagel cast to the floor and bloody knife askew on the block. Then I ran to the bathroom, dripping blood--finger cuts bleed a lot and this one was not deep but definitely open. Once I'd taken the edge off the throb with cold water, I slapped a pantyliner on it and went looking for the gauze and tape. Which I found, right where it should be. My cut is now knitting together from the bottom up, from the little comma at the bottom of the slice created by the serration of my bread knife.

For my birthday, all I really wanted was to not oversleep, not get on a dumb bus, catch a train that went straight to my stop without breaking, and not cause myself injury. Everything went swell.

The actual day of my birth was a Thursday, moreover. My dad and I hashed this out over the phone this morning, with the last of the juice my mobile had (who lets their phone run down on their birthday? Me.). I don't recall what Thursday's child figuratively is, but it is not meek and mild. Is it swarthy and busy? Meticulous and stingy? Bad with names? Shouty?

I am many things on many days.

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06 June 2007

Down the block, around the corner

It's amazing how rosy my disposition has become. Love the new apartment, love the new neighbourhood, love that Johnnie's Foodmaster down the block had Boca fake sausage, faux burgers, and meatless patties on sale, two for five. I got four for ten. Bring on the summer grilling season and whathaveyou: I am ready to hit the park, the beach, the streets.

Today I picked up ingredients for a sorbet I saw in The New York Times: buttermilk lemon. Buttermilk is one of those items that you really need when you need it and have no idea how to use otherwise. So now I have, in addition to a really stellar tart-sweet sorbet (so what if a
certain someone is stuffing her piehole with gelato even as we speak (well, 6 hours ahead of our speaking time...)), about three-quarters of a cup of buttermilk. Waffle party? Waffle party. Additionally, as I was feeling ambitious, a big dinner: roasted sweet potato, beet, and quinoa "salad" with orange-shallot-garlic dressing. Big on quinoa right now. Very tasty and, if I can believe the box top (seems the honest type) amazingly healthy in that whole-food-for-a-whole-planet way. Also fun to pronounce: Keen Wah. Wah ha! Will make a great lunch tomorrow with that avocado I've been waiting on all week.

You may not believe me, but I write about food about 1/3 as much as I talk about food, and about 1/5 as much as I think about food. When I am bored at work I think about food, and when I'm waiting for my ebay auction on cherry red danskos to end I shop for tiffin boxes.

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