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Monthly Archives: December 2010


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Christmas has come and gone– a Christmas Eve complete with a nephew that I got to meet for the first time (and had to convince myself not to steal…hello, he is adorable), a Christmas morning spent with family and popovers that I wish were a more regular fixture of my breakfasts, and a dinner with a third wave of gifts, dad, and in-laws, who stayed around for about a week so that we could have a few adventures (a trip up to the city, a gluttonous fondue extravaganza, and a fairly humiliating– for the team, anyway– NHL game). I’m loving my week off between Christmas and New Year’s, but am excited to get back to work because, oh, did I mention? I got a new job! It’s at the same place my internship has been, but is in a different department, and will put my librarian skillz to good use as I help researchers go about their business. I was mostly joking when I tweeted that all I wanted for Christmas was a job (right before the interview), but when they called me before break to give me the offer, I had to try pretty hard not to squeal right into the phone. Looks like I’ve got a good start on my “2011 goals” (not resolutions, for some reason that makes a difference to me, semantically), so here are the rest:

Take more (and better) pictures. I know myself too well to try and commit to a photo-a-day project (but who knows, maybe I’ll give it an unofficial try), but now that I have my fancypants camera (well, have had for some months now), it only seems right to know actual things about photographic composition.

Read 40 books. I mentioned this one to GP yesterday after I finished my first official Kindle book (I’m not counting A Christmas Carol, both because I generally dislike Dickens and because it’s more of a novella, right?), and he said it seemed low, given the velocity of my reading, but I only got around to 24 this year (which will likely be recapped later, because who doesn’t love talking about books?). But I’m done with school and armed with the Kindle, so 40 seems doable– and there’s nothing like blowing a goal out of the water, right?

Meet a blogger in real life. There is a 50/50 chance that I will go to BlogHer this year– it’s in San Diego, which is a lovely place, but I am…um…awkward. With strangers. Even strangers about whom I know very much. So, you know, start slowly. Anyone want to hang out with me?

Try 30 new recipes. Whereas 40 books seems like a stretch compared with what I’ve gotten through this year, 30 recipes seems nearly scanty. We’ve got to eat, right? Here’s hoping that some of these make it into the regular rotation.

Regularly practice some form of exercise. Look, I am the worst at exercising/being active. I hate it. It is boring, and sweaty, and often involves something at which I do not immediately excel. All of these add up to me being the person who would much rather greatly restrict her diet as a means of weight control/loss than take a single step even toward a gym. But! I do like Zumba (yes, it is humiliating, but we’re all doing the same gyrations) and I have a few yoga Groupons that I need to cash in. All I want is for something to stick, so that I’m not brittle or diabetic when I’m an old lady.

Dinner at the dining room table (“like people”) twice a week. When we lived in the apartment (yes, a year ago), it was easier just to sit at the coffee table and eat dinner in front of the tv– our kitchen table and chairs were from Ikea, and were not exactly comfortable or luxurious. Now, though? We have nearly no excuse for eating like college students/bachelors. If I’m making dinner, I’d like to eat at an actual table, like grownups.

I’m hoping for a (relatively) low-key New Year’s Eve, which will likely involve a fair amount of drinking and a bit of liar’s dice (a given, when we’re at my parents’ house), and then the annual New Year’s Day huevos rancheros– a perfect hangover cure. What are you up to tonight and next year, internets?


Subdued, if not silent

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Clearly I’ve fallen off the #reverb10 wagon, but I’m stashing those prompts away so that I’ll have something to unstick me when I feel like I have nothing to say. The last week and a half have been active, but mostly pleasantly so: a big work project completed, Christmas shopping and cards completed, settling into the holidays with relatively minimal stress. I watched White Christmas earlier today (I know, someone as obsessed with Christmas as I am should have seen it years ago), and am currently recording Miracle on 34th Street, another classic that somehow slipped from my grasp (must have been all those years watching Christmas Vacation umpteen times). I can’t really believe that, within a week, we’ll have exchanged our gifts, gorged ourselves on sugar cookies (which, fine, still need to be decorated– but are at least made!), and braved nearly a week of forecast rain. For now, we’re cozy.

All is calm…

All is bright…

And it’s the perfect sort of night for some eggplant parm (with some modifications, naturally) and foccacia.

Answers may vary

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Today’s #reverb10 prompt:

Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

Originally, I had thought that I would end up making the response to this prompt into a list of things, but it turns out I’ve already done that. More than once, as it happens. And, quite honestly, I don’t know what else to say. What makes me different? Well, actually…the answer is…very nearly nothing. There is likely not a single thing that is not shared by another person in the whole world. Rather than seeing this as a complete dismissal of today’s prompt, let’s think about this. What makes everyone different is never a single thing– it’s always the combination of personal characteristics, personality, and experience that makes up an individual. Yes, sure, we’re all special little snowflakes. But what I find more comforting? The fact that we all have so much in common. Most overwhelming to me is that, in at least one way, we all have at least one thing in common. This is not to say that I am about to sit around a campfire singing songs with everyone I meet (and far from it– I am a jerk! Just ask the internet), but I think this idea of shared humanity is much more intriguing to me than what makes me so beautifully different.

Do I know what it is that makes me different? Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that, on its own, makes me so drastically different from the rest of the world. Wait, I know: my fancy new Cool Librarian Glasses. That counts, right?

Bonus: this prompt reminds me of a song that I love. You might like it, too.

Birthday freebies!

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…and this is why I bother subscribing to all those damn store-card and email programs! Free “Pure-fume” (with rose and jasmine notes) and Hand Relief from Aveda– and I caved and spent $8 on a travel-sized mask. On to Sephora, where I claimed my birthday eyeshadow, liner, and mascara…and put together a primer, lotion, ($1!) nail polish, and a product that I hope will make my hair Kate Middleton-shiny (so covetous!) so that I could use a $15 coupon that came in the emails. All this for less than $30?! Too bad my birthday only comes once a year. Oh, and by the way: has anyone used any of these products? They’re all new to me. I’m excited, and will certainly be reporting back on the hair shininess and whether anything makes my skin fall off.

(Note to GP: yes, you still win. Best birthday gift ever.)

My friends are your friends, and your friends are my friends…

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Yes, today’s #reverb10 prompt reminds me of that “circle time” song. Want to fight about it?

Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

This year presented several opportunities to further enmesh my various groups of friends. I am generally a one-or-two-at-a-time friend, preferring to hang out in smallish groups or pairs (I’m worried that my rambling gets out of hand and sort of annoying in a big groupand this might be made up– but it is enough to subdue me and make me a little anxious), but I do love to entertain. I love to have people over, I love to have an excuse to hole up in the kitchen for an entire day, making appetizers and bite-size desserts, and I love to introduce friends from various parts of my life to each other. GP and I joke that our friends get along well because they have the same degree of trauma from being friends with a-holes like us, so they bond over that, but really I like to think that we have reached the point where we are each comfortable enough with ourselves and familiar enough with what we want and need in friendships to choose relatively consistent “types” of people as our friends. This is wonderful, because we’ve been able to create a little community (in a less creepy, non-planned sort of way) among our various work, school, and older (college, whatever) friends, and trust that there will be relatively little awkward pausing at our parties throughout the year. (We have a cocktail party in about a week and a half, so I have high hopes!)

Now, for the community that I want to create, or at least take a more active part in. For 2011, I am hoping to become a more consistent part of this online community that I am alternately part of and completely envious of. Over almost ten years of blogging, do you know how many bloggers I’ve met in real life? Zero. Yes, I do have friendships online, send regular emails, and have carried on old-fashioned snail mail correspondence with a few. More than building something from nothing, I am hoping to strengthen my existing online friendships (no pressure, I promise, online buddies) and establish some new ones. With BlogHer in San Diego and school finished up, there is a fairly good chance that I’ll make it down in 2011; the associated goal with that, though? Don’t be completely crippled and intimidated by the fact that the blogs of others are somehow more worthy-of-something than my own. (We’ll see how this goes.)

Making and doing

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Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I know it may seem as though I procrastinated on today’s #reverb10 post just so that I could have a more immediate answer, or one that is a little more impressive than “my first cup of coffee for the day” (though that in itself is a bit of a challenge some mornings), but it should come as no surprise that the last thing I made was food-related. The last thing I made was dinner: coconut chicken curry (a new recipe) and saffron rice (an old standby). Cooking dinner is something that I was able to get out of during the majority of last week, what with an overwhelming amount of Thanksgiving leftovers having taken over our refrigerator, but this week the turkey is in the freezer and I am back in front of the stove. I am happy that, at present, my life is such that I am able to come home at a reasonable hour, relax for a bit, and then spring into action with my knives, cutting board, and a set of ingredients, working through any accumulated stress from the day. Rather than being something that hovers over me like a dark cloud in the early evening, cooking dinner is a way for me to put some distance between myself and whatever anxieties I might have– I love it when the only thing I have to worry about is not burning myself or a meal. While ingredients may (and do, oh yes they do) vary, the patterns and habits that I have created in the kitchen make up a little cocoon into which I can retreat at the end of a workday.

One of the reasons I love to cook is because I am a little impatient. I want to see results, and I want to see them sooner (/immediately) rather than later. One thing that is not about to rush around in the kitchen, though, is bread. I would love (and am working) to become the sort of person who is content to put together a dough and sit patiently while it proofs…and then visits again to punch it down…and then again to shape and bake it… You get the idea, right? Making bread, really good bread, takes forever. And, while I am all right with doing things like pizza crust and cinnamon rolls, which are relatively fast, I am still working on the patience to make things like truly great baguettes and rustic boules. The recipes and ingredients are simple, sure– just a bit of flour, salt, yeast, and water– but that last one, time? I’m still working on the patience to deal with that one.

Let go

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I really wanted to do a good job with today’s #reverb10 prompt, because I am sort of in love with its author, Alice Bradley of finslippy. I don’t know why, and keep it quiet, ok? I’m trying to play it cool. At any rate, here goes nothin’.

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

At the risk of sounding like one of those hippies that has decided to live life with only 100 objects (including, say, socks and teaspoons), I have to say that this was the year I gave up “stuff.” Without veering into the sort of lifestyle in which I am rejecting the notion that things can be imbued with a sense of the life that contained them– especially after an evening partially spent hanging ornaments on a Christmas tree at my mother’s house, little tchotchkes that contain snippets of a life we’d hardly recognize anymore– I can confidently say that I am ready to be a person who collects memories rather than…stuff.

This started pretty early in the year, when we moved into our new place in the middle of January. If there is anything that moving can convince you of, it is that you can– and will! Yes, you will!– make do with less stuff. We heaved things into our apartment Dumpster with abandon: a VCR (much to PaGP’s chagrin), old VHS tapes, papers from a Mexico vacation in 2007, issues of magazines that were at least two years old. Others were packed into paper grocery bags and hauled off to the used book store or Goodwill, to find a good home somewhere else but ours. When we moved into our new-but-actually-a-century-old house, it was with the sense of possibility, the idea that we would be filling it with memories and not piles and piles of paper and junk that we’d never be touching again.

I am not at the point where I can entirely reject the idea that objects contain history; no, I am too sentimental for that. I will save menus and ticket stubs and snippets of a magazine article that really meant something in a single moment…forever, most likely. Sorry, future children! I tried. I really did. And really, in a fairly meaningful way, this was the year that I really did let go of so much that was weighing me down, scraps of paper and all. It added up to much more than the sum of its parts, and though keeping up with it is tricky (hello, tidal wave of stuff that seems to crash around our console table), I am determined to keep fighting the good fight and remember that memories are more often intangible than truly touchable.