Archive for March, 2008

Okay, I have been bad about writing lately, and though last week I had an excuse, today I have none at all. Just sheer laziness, and my easily distractable nature. I will be better, I promise I will. Especially since I will definitely NOT be blogging next Monday, as I’ll be returning (and recovering) from what will most likely be a gluttonous and debauchery filled weekend in New Orleans (which Jay still doesn’t know about- I’m the sneakiest wife ever!!!). So I have to make up for future lost time.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if there’s a reason I haven’t been writing. I mean a deeper reason than mere distractions or exam preparations. I wonder if, as I am wont to do, I’m running away and giving up just as things start to get good and useful. I tend to do that- or I have tended to do that at certain points in my past. I got tired of boyfriends whenever things got really comfortable and normal. I’d diet and exercise like a mad woman, lose 15 lbs, and then immediately go back to my old eating and laying around habits.  I’d get all worked up about a hobby, buy all of the proper accoutrements and then promptly never pick them up again. But I don’t think this writing slump is anything that serious. I’ve changed my quitter ways, I have! I’m enjoying this whole “expressing myself more” thing (I almost typed “phase” instead of thing- how very telling), I really am, and I do believe that it’s helping me, in a lot of different ways. I also truly believe that it will eventually help to motivate me to get off my butt and write those short stories I’ve had floating in my head for so long. I’ll make it to Prince’s Oscar party yet!

So no worries, I will get back on the writing wagon. And soon. In fact, as a sign of my good intentions I will tell you that I signed up for a weekend workshop at the Iowa Summer Writer’s festival in Iowa City last week. The workshop is the weekend after I get back from Italy, and it’s all about how to get started on writing fiction. The teacher is this great writer I saw speak the last time I did the Iowa workshop. He’s really inspiring (and totally cute, in a nerdy, Jon Stewart kind of way), and currently heads the creative writing program at Harvard. A whole weekend of writing, while oggling a cute and talented writer, and wandering around an adorable Midwestern town- if the thought of that doesn’t get me back into writing, I don’t know what could!


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Tidbits for Friday

This week has been a long hazy blur of studying and wasting time (in order to put off more studying). I’m not making excuses, just telling the truth. So I will try to get back on track with writing longer entries next week. In the meanwhile, here are some things I’ve been wasting my time on:

This song is beautiful, and nostalgic, and makes me wish I had a painful love affair to pine over.

This post makes me want to eat more vegetables. And join a CSA, which I’m strongly considering.

These posts make me wish I lived in New York.  Or was visiting soon.

This blog makes me wish I had the talent and patience to be a self-employed, super-crafty, blissfully happy stay at home mom.

This blog makes me wish I had an entire week off to rigorously clean out my entire apartment and throw out half of my stuff.

This site and this site make me wish that I had a bottomless bank account to empty on first edition vintage cookbooks.

There are about a million more, but those are the first ones that spring to mind. Speaking of “springing” to mind, walking back from lunch today I saw loads of brave little flower shoots poking their heads up through the cold, cold, still partially snow-covered ground. Talk about the audacity of hope… I hope those little guys know what they’re doing- I’m definitely rooting for them! (no pun intended, really)

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Okay, so Chicago weather, you and I need to have a serious chat. Remember all that stuff I said last week about liking the snow? About how it was all cozy and romantic and inspired? Well, I take it back, I take it all back. Bring on the spring, any day now- I’m ready. Those winds you’ve been tossing around this week are no fun at all. I know for a fact that that’s not why you’re called the Windy City, so who do you think you’re fooling? And, those big white fluffy raindrops that are currently disintegrating on the sidewalk outside my window do not a snowstorm make, my friend. That’s just some nasty drizzle in a dress. All the cold, with none of the style. Which I now have to walk through. Which doesn’t make me feel very cozy at all.

I expect some warm breezes and sunshine by this time next week, mister, or I’m reporting you to the proper authorities.

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Studying for an exam, and currently lost in the fascinating history of paper, printing, and bookmaking. Actually, it is pretty interesting, in a totally geeked out kind of way. And it’s giving me a chance to brush up on my website and database evaluation skills to boot! I can be such a librarian… More later when my brain is not swimming with papyrus and wood blocks and Gutenberg (oh my).

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(Major correction from earlier post. I won’t even admit to my former ignorance, and have therefore merely erased all traces of it. Please forget my prior punctuation misnomer and lame attempt at international affairs humour- really, put it out of your head right this minute.)

Beatles business associate Aspinall ‘dies’

Maybe someone should teach the people over at CNN.com about the proper use of quotation marks, because death, well, death is a tough subject to effectively suit up with the ‘air quotes’…

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As I continue this slow and steady journey towards self-acceptance, it’s helpful to acknowledge the small victories. Here’s one of those:

This past Sunday night I was making a lasagna for some friends who just had a baby (Synge, if you’re reading, it’s the same fab mushroom lasagna I made for you), and things weren’t going as smoothly as I’d hoped. Firstly, I got a much later start than I’d planned to, only starting to prep at 7pm, with my and Jay’s own dinner still neither made or decided upon. Secondly, and more importantly, it was one of those experiences where every little annoying thing that could go wrong, did go wrong. I couldn’t get the onions to stop sliding around as I was chopping them and they made my eyes water so hard I could barely see. The 12″ pan called for in the recipe didn’t even come close to holding all of the liquid required, so I had to change pans mid-cooking. Jay forgot to pick up garlic at the store and the only cloves I could find lying around were way too small and dried out to work in the garlic press. I didn’t have anything measured out or planned out right, causing me to run around our small awkward kitchen like a crazed squirrel.

As time ticked on- it was well past 8:30, I was hungry, Jay was hungry, and the lasagna seemed no closer to being finished- I got more and more ticked off. All of these small and (I know it, deep inside I know it) ultimately meaningless annoyances were building up into a huge wall of frustration. So, being me, I started yelling and swearing. At the onions, and the pot, and the recipe testers at Cooks Illustrated, and  whoever designed out kitchen’s layout- naturally. I knew I was being silly and immature, and that telling an onion that it is a “sucky, fucking evil onion”, does not in any way make it easier to chop, but I was angry, and getting it out made me feel better.

Jay was sitting in the next room watching television, and when my cussing began, he immediately got uncomfortable. I could feel it from across the room, every before he piped up and offered to come cut the “damn onions”. This has been a trend in our relationship; whenever I get riled up over something, be it something I feel passionately about (ie. my hatred of George Bush) or something trivial and pointless (slippery onions), he gets uncomfortable and annoyed. Therefore I usually try to scale back my diatribes, or restrict them to road-rage induced rants in the glass-paned privacy of my car. I wouldn’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I was angry, or out of control. But this time it was too late- I was mad as hell, and I didn’t care who saw it. I countered Jay’s irritation-induced offer of help with a gritted-teeth, “No, no- thanks- I’m fine. It’s almost done”, and continued to huff and puff and “fuckfuckfuck!” my way through the cooking process until Jay eventually retreated to the back of the apartment.

When I finally finished what had by that time been christened “that %!*)$#@ lasagna”, I went into the office to find Jay fiddling around on the computer (aka: hiding from my wrath). I sat down beside him, said I was sorry if I had upset him, and asked him why he was so annoyed by my anger. He began with a counter apology and offered a well thought out explanation involving his parent’s divorce (I am married to a future therapist, and that often comes in handy). I then offered my own calmer, more reasoned explanation of why I needed to act the way I did: because I was angry and frustrated and I felt like it. I explained how I’m trying to learn to live with those emotions instead of hiding them or feeling guilty about them. I also pointed out that I had made a distinct point not to yell at him, or take it out on him in any way- all my rage was directed quite pointedly at inanimate objects- he just happened to be a witness to it. And I was sorry that it had made him uncomfortable. But I wasn’t sorry that I’d yelled. I wasn’t sorry that I’d sworn. I wasn’t sorry that I’d felt something and then acted on it. That actually felt really good. It made me feel better to express it, as silly as it may have looked or sounded. And now that I had let it out, it was gone.

So there’s one small step for Julia. Hopefully, one of many still to come.

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Oh Happy Monday!

Spring Break- with whole office gone

I took a long lunch.

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