Monthly Archives: October 2012

Random Moments of Happiness: Day 0

Last November I took part in National Blog Posting Month (aka NaBloPoMo), where the challenge was to post an entry every day for a month. And I actually followed through with the whole thing.  I haven’t heard much about NaBloPoMo this year, but I like the idea of recommitting myself to blogging more regularly. At the same time, I have two major writing projects that I am aiming to complete by the end of the semester (which is a frighteningly close six or so weeks away) so I am hesitant to add something else onto my plate that might take away from time put towards more important writing. (By important, I mean that this blog sadly is not going to get me any closer to getting my PhD.)  And considering the existing levels of distractibility and procrastination I’m dealing with, I don’t think my advisor is going to consider, “But I had to work on my daily post for my blog last night,” as an acceptable excuse.

At the same time, I have to maintain things outside of school that keep me happy and fulfilled. Lucky for me, I have an advisor who understands this, too!

My compromise with myself was to come up with some sort of challenge that requires daily postings, but does not demand a lot of time. So each day in November, fitting somewhat with it being the month of Thanksgiving, I am going to post something from that day that made me happy. It might be a photograph or just few sentences. Or maybe I’ll feel like taking the time to go into greater detail. The best part: at the end of the month, I will have at least 30 things to reflect on that make me happy.

To give myself a head start, here is today’s random moment of happiness:

 

Finding a container of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream in the freezer. Not because it’s my favorite ice cream. I certainly won’t turn it down, but it doesn’t have enough chocolate and/or crunchy things to be in the running for my number one choice.

The reason Cherry Garcia makes me smile: it reminds me of the first night Nick cooked dinner for me. He showed up with two bags from Whole Foods to prepare a multi-course meal (with enough food to feed at least four people, if not more). I cannot recall what the main course was, but I remember dinner beginning with amazing bread (and cheese, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar) and ending with Cherry Garcia.

 

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Things I’ve Been Wanting to Tell You (PS: This Could Get Lengthy)

Apparently there is a storm coming. A monster storm. A storm like no other we have seen in our lifetime.  (And by “our lifetime” I mean the lifetime of a newscaster who is probably a good 15 years older than me.)  So I figured I’d take a break from school work and catch up on a variety of things I’ve had in the back of my mind to share with you. Because if the power goes out, I can always grade papers by candlelight. Blogging without electricity, I suspect, would prove to be more challenging.

When I was a kid (and a teenager and an adult) I would occasionally be inspired to start a diary or journal. And yes- my first diary was pink and had a lock. Wait- I take that back. I think the first one was a black-and-white marble composition notebook decorated with scratch-and-sniff stickers from Woolworth’s and filled with weird ramblings of a six-year-old including a fictional account of my falling into the panda exhibit at the National Zoo and becoming friends with Ling-Ling. Oh, the strange things I remember.

Anyway, I would be on a roll for a while, with regular entries for a couple weeks or maybe even months.  And then I would lose focus and all of a sudden it would be a year later, and I was ready to get back into journaling.  But I didn’t want my mature, evolved, middle school insights to be bound together with the insignificant thoughts of a fifth-grader. There was no flow, no smooth transition.  The only way to resolve it? Start a new journal. In some instances, shred the previous one.

Why am I bringing this up? Because it’s been way too long since I’ve posted a blog entry. And part of me immediately concludes that means I should just scrap the whole thing. But because I have matured and evolved even further since middle school, at least in some ways, I have learned to accept that it’s okay.  Part of being an adult is recognizing that sometimes certain parts of your life take precedence over others, and that doesn’t mean you have to abandon them forever.  It could very well be that after today, you won’t hear from me for another month, if school and/or Monster Storm Sandy have their way. But for now, let me tell you about some things.

Why I’ve Been Absent….

Turns out, I love teaching.  And consequently it’s taking up a lot of my time.  And when I’m not working on lesson plans or grading papers or designing fancy Prezi presentations, I’ve been trying to get myself to work on my own school work and research. And when I’m not doing that, I’ve been trying to relax and not multitask. Em and I signed up for once-a-week Pilates classes. They are way harder than the Pilates DVD that I have, but in an awesomely torturous way.  Nick and I have claimed Sundays as our adventure days (more on that later). I’ve taken to painting my nails at the beginning of watching TV or a movie so that I am not tempted to split my attention between the movie, a game of Sudoku, and Facebook.  Bonus- I don’t bite/tear my nails anymore.

If that doesn’t seem like enough of a reason to have less time for blogging, my final excuse is this: for some reason, school work does not seem as efficient as it could be…


Food-Related Things…

So, I didn’t manage to meet my summer list item of making some sort of recipe with watermelon. I bought a watermelon at the university farmer’s market.  And that watermelon got some mileage. I carried it around campus that day. A couple weeks after sitting in my fridge, we took it to our friends’ house one night, only to discover they already had cut-up watermelon they were eager to use up.  Then the watermelon went to the beach with us, only to sit in the back of the fridge, forgotten for the week, until our last night there, when my mom finally cut it up, and I decided that I no longer like watermelon.  Or maybe I just don’t like old watermelon that has traveled far more than a watermelon should ever travel.

But I do think I got my fair share of tomatoes this summer. And by early September, I was ready for some autumn produce, and I had Brussels sprouts on my mind for weeks. So much so that when I finally saw them in the grocery store, I swear my heart sang and I did a little dance. On the inside. I had several passionate conversations with grocery store clerks about the lil’ green guys within a week. When the cashier gasps and cradles your bag of Brussels sprouts to her chest, you know you’ve found the right grocery store.

In other food news, I recently experienced culinary deja vu for the first time.  Driving home from work one day, I started to mentally concoct an easy throw-together dinner using pantry items and veggies I had on hand- baked polenta topped with a sauce made of (canned) fire-roasted tomatoes, cannellini beans, Swiss chard, olives… As I was cooking it, I got so excited and was patting myself on the back for such brilliance and creativity.  Then, when I plated it, I realized I had made the same exact dish at some point in the last few months. And even though it was good, I had no recollection of it.  I guess this is what I have to look forward to as I continue further into my thirties and failing memory.  Wearing the same outfit three times in one week, watching a movie only to realize half-way through that I’ve already seen it….  And more deja food.

Oh, I think the other exciting food thing to happen recently was Nick and my encounter with The Corner Spore at a local farmer’s market. I don’t think I’ve met people who are as enthusiastic about anything as these guys are enthusiastic about mushrooms. When you have two people thrusting containers of just-picked shiitakes at you and telling you how beautiful they are, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. And next thing you know you’re walking away with $15-worth of mushrooms and discussing how to cook them for dinner. They really were awesome- sauteed with butter, olive oil, shallots…. Yum. We haven’t made it back yet, but not for lack of interest; our Sundays have just been a little busy.

We Went Antiquing in Western Maryland and All We Got Was This Cat Plate…
Between Nick’s schedule and my schedule, Sunday is the only day that both of us (usually) have free.  So we’ve taken to taking to the road and driving semi-aimlessly until we find something interesting. One week this took us to an antique mall outside of Hagerstown. Nick spotted a plate with a cat face that somewhat resembled Matilda. It was $10. We decided to continue looking around and come back to it if we didn’t find anything better.  Ninety minutes later, we were still wandering around the same place but getting hungry, and we left, completely forgetting about the plate.  Honestly, I don’t know if we could have found our way back to the kitty cat plate in that giant place.  But I felt bad, because Nick was excited about that plate.

Then, after sampling six sauces and eating approximately 10 pounds of pork product at a BBQ joint, we found our way into another antique mall. And we found something even better than a $10 Matilda face plate: an $8 B-Cat face plate!

We made sure this one came home with us.

That looks like my brother!

We Wandered Around St. Michaels and All We Got Was This Photo of Weird Bathroom Art…

Another absolutely gorgeous Sunday, we headed in the other direction over to the Eastern Shore.  We wandered around lots of stores, ate some delicious pizza, drank beer, and ate the biggest oysters I have ever seen.  I’m not kidding- they were easily three-times bigger than the largest ones I had seen up to that point.  We also found this in the restroom:

Seriously, what is wrong with me? We passed tons of beautiful historic houses and waterfront views, and this is the only picture I took all day. I didn’t even document the massive oysters. Guess I’ll just use that as an excuse to go back another day.

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