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also, quote of the day

The idea of a secret ingredient is a funny one. I think it's based on a modern American notion of shortcuts; the idea that instead of working hard to be successful, you can win the lottery or appear on a reality show or read the Cliff's Notes and still pass your A.P. English exam (I did that actually: sorry, Hester Prynne). This American obsession with getting everywhere as quickly as possible, to FastPass your way to accomplishment, doesn't translate well to cooking. Which is why, I think, so many Americans don't cook. They'd rather fast food it, or frozen dinner it, than stand over a stove. And when they do stand over the stove, they want "quick tips" and "30 minute meals" and the magical, secret ingredient that'll propel their dinner to greatness. But the truth is no one ingredient can propel your dinner to greatness; greatness comes with patience and practice, over time.
-- the amateur gourmet

French Onion Soup Recipe
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Having to moderate my language, especially when I'm furious.

Modifying sentences to say something like I'm a little disappointed that... when what I really want to say is You wretched woman, you were supposed to do this one thing we agreed on and I upheld my end of the deal and you fucking stomped all over me and I want to wring your bloody neck.

Or, I didn't realize that you were going to.... instead of what the fucking hell do you think you are doing with this campaign?

But that is apparently frowned upon in my office.



Jan. 12th, 2010 10:57 am
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I'm having an "OMG HOW HAS SO MUCH TIME PASSED SO QUICKLY" moment today and freaking out just a little.

I've been corresponding with our new contractor today and we just discovered that we are both from New England. After a couple of usual exchanges "how long have you been out here" "what brought you to the West Coast" etc... I was suddenly hit with the realization that this is my 4th year living on the West Coast, that I graduated from my masters program 5 years ago, and that my 10 year high school reunion is in fact THIS spring and not next spring like I was somehow magically expecting it to be.

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Anne Sexton

The Kiss

My mouth blooms like a cut.
I've been wronged all year, tedious
nights, nothing but rough elbows in them
and delicate boxes of Kleenex calling crybaby
crybaby , you fool!
Before today my body was useless.
Now it's tearing at its square corners.
It's tearing old Mary's garments off, knot by knot
and see -- Now it's shot full of these electric bolts.
Zing! A resurrection!
Once it was a boat, quite wooden
and with no business, no salt water under it
and in need of some paint. It was no more
than a group of boards. But you hoisted her, rigged her.
She's been elected.
My nerves are turned on. I hear them like
musical instruments. Where there was silence
the drums, the strings are incurably playing. You did this.
Pure genius at work. Darling, the composer has stepped
into fire.
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For my own reference later

We who are your closest friends )
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I spent most of today reviewing guidance for the latest round of grants coming out of my office. After 6 hours of this, my brain was permanently set on SMART objective mode, leading to the following exchange with my roommates:

Me: I'm working on SMART objectives for my dating life - I think 2010 has lots of potential
B: What have you come up with so far?
Me: By December 31, 2010, I will have gone out with 12 people, at least once. (~1/month seems like a reasonable average)
B: It only counts if you have 12 lovers in 2010!

This quickly devolved and now we have plans to put up a tracking sheet in the kitchen for all our various dates and lovers, because, you know, accountability is important. I love my household. *sigh*

But! Since I had a date tonight, I'm off to a great start. It was a good date. We are even going to see each other again. (Although, why do I keep going out with lawyers? It only ever ends badly)

One down, 11 to go!
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It snowed last night! Completely unexpectedly, not predicted (not that weather-people are really ever accurate: c'mon, it's Oregon, just predict RAIN). It just started coming down like crazy and it was sticking!! We got a couple of inches in the city and predictably, everything shut down.

Also predictably, there was absolutely ridiculous traffic. It took me over an hour to get from the hair salon to the other side of the river (~1.5 miles) and then quite a bit longer to get home. If I wanted to drive in snow, I would still be living in oh, Michigan or even Massachusetts. But seriously, these days? I invest in quality windshield wipers - not snow tires. UGH.

At least it was pretty! And now, off to sunny, 60 degree California!
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Watched Doctor Who The End of Time Part 1 last night and my reaction continues to be WHAT THE FUCK OVER?
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There was completely a theme for me at Christmas - perhaps I am becoming predictable? - but this year, my presents were either purple or sparkly, or both!

* 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, purple. Check.
* 1 carat silver/garnet necklace. Check
* Sonic toothbrush/cleaner thingy, purple. Check.
* Gift certificates for pedicures, toes WILL be purple. Check.

And then, my new glasses arrived this weekend and THEY are purple too! Speaking of, I am completely sold on Zenni Optical. $8 for lenses AND frames! And no confirmation from your optometrist required, like 1-800-Contacts or whatever. I really desperately needed new glasses (my old ones, while Versace, were 2 1/2 prescriptions behind my contacts and I couldn't afford the $3-400 for a new pair).

But back on track. I think this was one of the least stressful holidays I have had in YEARS. I was not feeling festive or social on Christmas Eve, so my roommate made me a bowl of popcorn, we opened a few bottles of wine and watched Princess Bride and Stardust. Very chill.

Christmas day, woke up to lots of coffee. Roommates and significant others and dog and I opened presents at home -- gift giving successful! Then several friends came over for "Christmas Brunch" - vegan biscuits and gravy, eggs, cinnamon buns, and LOTS of mimosas. Genius. Later, when the rush calmed down, we went to see Sherlock Holmes, which was great and basically written by slashers. And that was it. Peaceful, no screaming fights. No stressing. Yay.

Three days til California, twelve days til my birthday. And now to make lentil soup!

2010 Goals

Dec. 23rd, 2009 01:44 pm
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I've been thinking about my goals for 2010. I absolutely hate the concept of a New Year's Resolution that will be most likely forgotten or broken by the end of January. My annual Goal list is my compromise -- things I want to work on, things I want to change. It is my own Continuous Quality Improvement Project! I feel very comfortable with progress on my 2009 list, and like any of my to-do lists, things roll over to the next reporting period. Here are my 2010 Goals

Go 100% Vegetarian

This year, I want to give up fish, plan and cook more balanced meals, add more vegetables to regular rotation, try new recipes, and eat less dairy -- transition to dairy from local, sustainable producers. I will miss fish tacos - but as long as I am still eating them, I am not vegetarian, just a very picky omnivore. *grin*

Save up for down payment on a house

I need to put my finances and credit rating in order, start new high interest savings account, determine what I can afford, mortgage pre-approval paperwork, think about what I want and where I would like to buy. I need to follow up with the Realtor that I have been referred to, and I need to investigate the first-time home-buyer classes offered here.

Learn to tango!

I am still not at ALL comfortable with ecstatic dance or any of the more improvisational forms of movement; tango is my compromise - I want to become more comfortable in my body and out on a dance floor when the more rigid, ballroom dance steps are not appropriate.

Get more involved in "the community"

I want to ground myself more in Portland, put down roots and other such cliches. I'm already an assistant organizer for the New In Town Meet Up Group and I need to continue hosting more events and meeting people that way. I also want to explore opportunities for more volunteering - serve on a local board or neighborhood association? Work with a local non-profit? I'm not sure, but I know I have a lot of options.

Don't kill plants

I have an absolute black thumb and I would like to not kill plants this year. I tried my hand at gardening this past summer and it did not go well. Nor did it go well the year before that, etc etc. I recently read that gardening is one of the few things where we don't have a tolerance for error and allow a learning curve. I am allowing myself a long, slow learning curve this year. I am going to try again. I've been successfully keeping two bella palm plants alive, I recently bought a tree, and this spring, I want to install raised beds in the backyard and plant something like potatoes. *fingers crossed*
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people who don't keep their word.

people who make plans and then bail on you.
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Holiday party tonight at my house and boy are we ever prepared!

From Christmas 2009

From Christmas 2009

From Christmas 2009
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I have a whole list of things I want to write about.

No, really. I do.

I wrote the list out during a very boring staff meeting today.

I want to talk about dating a married man in an open marriage; about wanting to buy a house and all the available project porn for people in nesting mode; about my relationship with dance; being inarticulate and losing my ability to express myself in any sort of fashion; squeeing about the holidays, etc.

But tonight I can't.

Tonight, my heart hurts.

And none of my usual remedies are working.
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(1) When not surrounded by relatives, Thanksgiving is quite a tolerable holiday, on the stress scale.

(2) However, when one's dishwasher fails and floods the kitchen and the repair man BREAKS said dishwasher while "repairing" it on the day before this holiday. Well. That's a bit more stressful.

(3) Good food, good friends, wine, and French card games yay! Also, potlucks are brilliant. Besides grape leaves, the only thing I made for dinner was mashed potatoes and gravy.

(4) I think it might be a new rule - house guests must bring dogs with them for the weekend. Dog walking cures lots of ills.

(5) Fantastic Mr Fox is a *great* movie. Go see it immediately.

(6) Shopping at the Bins is incredibly profitable (clothes for $1.50 per POUND) and I am completely thankful for friends who think a morning of thrift shopping is a brilliant idea.

(7) Felt very very grown up when I called the realtor and made an appointment to see the truly amazing house for sale two blocks up the road. I wants it, precious, yes I do.

(8) Wine tasting! Also, one of the vineyards we were at - the owners BOUGHT ON CRAIGSLIST! Clearly, I am not using CL to its full potential.

(9) Treating myself to a few hours at Common Ground tonight - hurray for saunas and massages and remembering to breathe.

(10) And the calm feeling when everyone goes home and the house is clean and the errands are run and the sun was shining all weekend and life is just going to fucking behave itself.
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Ticketmaster's fees are now up to $9.20 PER TICKET?

But my favorite part is where they tell you the convenience charge is only $5.10 and you say, oh that sucks, but it's reasonable, and then, when you hit the final button, suddenly you're charged with an additional $4.10 in PROCESSING fees?

What the fuck over.


Nov. 9th, 2009 08:21 pm
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Perks of occasionally dating an author, discovered thus far:

(1) Autographed books from various and sundry authors
(2) Advanced reader copies of all sorts of nifty texts
(3) The first line of gifts is *always* books
(4) Possibility of having characters based on you
(5) Dinner discussions on authorial intent have a whole new slant
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