September 28, 2012 § 2 Comments
October is my favorite month. Although I know the picturesque attributes of fall have been described over and over again on countless blogs and statuses and instagram captions, let me plunge into it one more time, simply because it is so worth it.
October in Pennsylvania is a fine and fickle lady;
a graceful, ancient force of nature.
She slowly brings her leaves from green to parti-colored reds and golds
and softens her white-hot summer skies to a cool madonna blue.
Corn husks rattle as she strips them bare; cold earth crumbles between her fingers.
She settles gracefully down on the ground
and spreads her furrowed-field skirts around her,
feels the molding leaves enrich her with their death.
She savors the taste of a well-aged year: a tang
of wild grapes hangs sweet upon the air.
Through her hair the clean autumn breeze is blowing,
redolent with chimney smoke and gray rain coming,
and upon her bone-white back the sun is slowly sinking earlier each day.
September 19, 2012 § 3 Comments
I see to be writing well when writing in list format, so let’s not change the pattern of success. Here’s a list:
1. When I heard that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey would be releasing a new trailer today, I jumped up and down, clapped my hands, and squealed. This morning, I tweeted about it at least 6 times. That’s my normal tweet total for a week. Well, it’s past 10 AM, and the trailer is here! Radagast the Brown rides around in a sleigh pulled by giant bunnies. Bilbo runs out of Bag End without a pocket handkerchief. The dwarves are ridiculous. Smeagol and Gollum both make an appearance. Galadriel wears a beautiful cloak and a wise expression. Gandalf ponders and says something hopeful. Elrond frowns and says something pessimistic. In short, my dear readers, this will be a movie to remember.
2. In my last post, I mentioned the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre, produced by Cary Fukunaga, because I own it on DVD and love it. It has a different timeline than most of the versions I’ve seen. I love the way they don’t just skip or gloss over her time spent with St. John Rivers and his sisters. Using the long, empty time she lives with them to flash back to her life with Rochester made me feel more than ever her loneliness and the depth of her sacrifice. If you like Jane Eyre and you haven’t seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and watch it.
3. I am so exasperated from watching political shows and seeing Sandra Fluke titled a ‘women’s rights’ activist. That’s why I love this site: Women Speak For Themselves. Thanks, but no thanks, Sandra Fluke. You don’t speak for me. Not all of us women think our ‘rights’ should include being able to take the lives of our unborn children through abortifacients while forcing someone else to pay for it. (After all, we have access to something way cooler.) (And that’s all. No more quasi-politics in this post, I promise.)
4. The Lockout. In my mind, it’s always spelled with a capital L. The NHL is officially in a Lockout. If the season started today, it wouldn’t start. I can’t prepare for my fantasy draft. I can’t start a countdown to Pittsburgh’s opening night. I don’t know when I’ll see Sidney Crosby on the ice again! The only thing making this Lockout a little easier for me is the knowledge that, unlike a lot of hockey fans, I will still get to see regular live hockey at our AHL Penguins games. The AHL will keep rolling even during the stoppage. Who knows what names we might see playing down here?
5. I’m taking Mervy to the vet on Friday after work. My poor rattie is missing fur in some patches and I don’t know why. I think he had a flea problem but I sprayed him with flea/tick medicine from Petsmart and they seemed to go away. I’ve tried searching for information online but there’s so much out there and I’m just worried that I don’t know enough. The worst part is, people laugh at me when they hear that I’m taking my pet rat to the vet. It makes me want to cry. I love my rats. I love them just as much as you love your dog or your cat or your moronic fish (RIP, Paul and Joel). Mervy is the sweetest rat of our four, the little guy who bumbles around the room, happily hunting for new scents and sights; he’s the rat who protected Willy and Freddy when we first got them, the rat who eats slowly and lets little kids jounce him, and has a lil’ white belly, and blunt claws so it never hurts when he climbs up and down my arms. He sits on my leg for ages, and bruxs (like a cat’s purr) when I rub behind his ears. I love my rats and I don’t care what people (who have often had NO experience with pet rats before ever) think of them. So please, say a prayer to St. Francis that Merv is all right and that I won’t have to buy costly medicines for him. Thank you!
September 13, 2012 § 10 Comments
There are a ton of thoughts running through my mind these past few weeks. Ever since the move became official, I’ve felt like my brain is in overdrive. I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what to do first, what is more important, what’s a need and what’s just a want. I’ve always tried to not care much about ‘things’ (other than sweaters and high heels of course) and I don’t really think I’m overburdened with worldly possessions. That’s good though, I’m okay with that. However, I have realized that perhaps there are a few things I could use more of; a few things of which I have way too little. Following in the spirit of my last post, here is a short list of my stuff which falls into the “Too Little/Too Few” category:
1. When I was finished cataloging my gargantuan amount of books, I moved on to other forms of entertainment, namely, DVDs. Boy, was that pile smaller. Having grown up (relatively) before the advent of Netflix and other online programming, you’d think I’d have a lot more DVDs. I have about 10. And of those 10, it’s safe to say at least 6 were filmed before the sixties. Audrey Hepburn’s face rules the tiny stack of cases, with a smattering of Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Barbara Stanwyck, and even Grace Kelly in there. As far as the more recently produced films? I own The Italian Job on DVD. The new one, not the original. I like Mark Wahlberg, what can I say? I’ve got Van Helsing because I liked cheesy vampire movies way before Twilight ever debuted. I’ve got The Cutting Edge, because it’s about hockey and figure skating, and really, how can you pass up a movie where the main character talks about how much he loves the smell of fresh ice? Every time I watch that scene, I think, I know exactly what you mean. I have the 2011 Jane Eyre, because it’s my favorite remake of the dark Gothic romance yet. And I think that about does it for my ‘modern’ DVDs. (For those of you wondering, I couldn’t bring the Lord of the Rings DVDs because technically, they don’t belong to me. Sad face.)
2. There is a reason why my little sidebar is titled “Baking In A Tiny Kitchen”. It’s because I love to bake. What I have too little of, is cooking skills. I can cook, I think. I just haven’t had to do it very often because my mother likes to cook and has always had dinner at least started by the time I get home from work. (I know, I know, why would I ever move out and away from that!?) Mom is a great chef, despite her maternal failure to remember the multiple food preferences and dislikes of every single one of her eight children. (For instance, although she knows I detest nuts- and trust me, I’ve made my nut abhorrence clear on numerous occasions- she ALWAYS puts slivered almonds into her chicken salad. Apparently, Dad likes them. Big whoop. He’s older, so he should have to sacrifice.) (And another example, she makes hash-brown casserole a lot, because everyone likes it, but she has to make one side of the pan hash-browns with peppers and onions, and the other side plain hash-browns. I guess the smaller children don’t like peppers and onions. What a bunch of weirdos. She should just put them in the whole thing and pretend they’re candy.) I’m rambling now, but I thought it was important to point out my mother’s failings. Everyone else thinks she’s like a saint, or something, I can’t imagine why… So, cooking. I get to do it now. I’m actually excited to cook more often. I’m not going to lie, I intend on cooking a lot of pasta. I love pasta…. penne with vodka sauce, shells with olive oil, garlic, and broccoli, kluski and cottage cheese. Let’s hope my baking skills translate into cooking.
3. I have too few pairs of functional footwear. My closet holds 1 pair of sneakers: blue Converse that I didn’t even buy, Danny got them for me. That’s it. The end. Everything else is delicate, sparkly, high heeled, or just not really built for anything more than a day at the office or a Sunday Mass or a night on the town.
PS- I’m glad I made this list because I just remembered I left my snow boots at my parents’ house. That makes TWO pairs of functional footwear that I own!
PS2- If you have any recipe suggestions, feel free to share!
PS3- I might as well write another blog post already with all the things I remembered that I forgot: snow boots, my Gone With The Wind dvd (probably hiding in Angela & Cathy’s room), all my winter scarves (only 4, don’t worry)…
PS4- Anyone interested in more examples of my mother’s egregious cooking behavior, just let me know! I’ve got stories.
September 11, 2012 § 6 Comments
Some of you may have heard the news: At the ripe old age of 26, I am moving out of my family home. I know, I know, I didn’t think I’d move out until I was married, either. But it’s true, it’s actually happening. Due to a nice set of circumstances, this whole moving out thing happened pretty quickly. I’ll be living in a 3 bedroom apartment with Jill and Erica, and I’m not telling you where because this is the internet. Suffice it to say that my work commute will only be about 5 minutes. (Wonder of wonders, I won’t have to drive past ANY schools on my way there!) I’m very excited to live on my own for the first time. I love to cook, and I’ll get used to doing laundry eventually, right? Of course the rats will be coming with me as well!
There are a few things I’ve learned about myself, and just in general, during this whole moving out/moving in process, and part of those things are on this list. I like to call this list…
Things I Have Too Much/Many Of:
1. I went up to my attic on Sunday morning before Mass, ready and willing to separate all my books into keep/donate piles. I don’t have enough room in my bedroom for all my books, so I store most of them in the attic. I sat down in my pajamas, a well-sugared cup of pumpkin coffee steaming gently on the floor next to me. The first carton of books was full to bursting. It took me a good hour and a half to work through that and 3 more cartons, thanks to plenty of five minute distractions where I’d either pick up a book, exclaim with delight, and re-read my favorite part, or run downstairs to tell Mom that I had too many books, I had forgotten about this book, I couldn’t find that book, and- once- that there was a spider on a book. In the end, I think I set 5 books total in the donate pile. I can’t help it. I cherish all my books and am loathe to part with any of them. I love them all: the fat, bulky books missing their dust jackets with epic tales that sweep across countries inside their dull hard covers. Or the paperback mysteries from the 1950s with classy heroines who manage to uncover criminals, fall in love, get into car chases, and still wear dresses and heels. I’ve got GK Chesterton’s sly wit and sneaky brilliance stacked up with CS Lewis’ appealing apologetics; Dickinson and Hopkins and of course Bronte and Austen. I can’t give any of them up. So I picked up my (by then tepid) cup of coffee and walked downstairs to see if we had any bigger bookshelves.
2. The same Sunday brought me marginally more success when it came time to weed out my clothes. I have a lot of clothes and I don’t mind admitting that. My clothing size hasn’t changed since I was about 18 so the fullness of my closet could definitely, in some excuse-sounding but actually pretty honest way, be attributed to about 8 years worth of accumulation. Simply put, I still wear skirts and blouses now that I wore at my first job at the elementary school eight years ago. And I still have my sweaters. Oh boy, do I have my sweaters. That donate pile held plenty of clothes by the end of my closet emptying session, but nary a sweater could be found in it. I love my sweaters. Soft, long, short, brightly colored or simple- essential- black, they spilled out of my closet, a veritable rainbow of toasty warm, wool/polyester delight. I hugged them all to my chest and promised to transport them without losing a single button.
3. Shoes. I have too many. Way too many.