Welcome To My Bed

Brain food, and that other stuff that just tastes good.

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Good morning, sunshines. I got a solid ten hours of sleep last night and I am so ready to kick this day's butt! Too bad there's not much to do. While I wait for my laundry to finish drying, lemme sing another chorus of "Young and Healthy" from 42nd Street and then I'll tell you the tales of the past few weeks.

The past semester has contained more revision than any other period of my life to date. Til now, and as a writer I'm endlessly ashamed to admit this, revision was more of an afterthought than process. I see now that such an attitude was burying some of my best ideas in a whole lot of junk, and feel my words are better able to breathe now that I tend and prune them properly. It really is a lot like gardening; afterwards, my back tends to hurt and my hands can get ornery, but I always sit down to eat a helluva lot more satisfied than when I let things have their own way. And I'm going to cut that metaphor off right now before it gets away from me.

The preliminary final drafts of both my novel and my poetry manuscript are due next week. I have this. I can manage it. I am endlessly excited for the outcomes, as my projects have taken their time becoming what they are now. I have been peeling back layers for months and letting intuition do the bulk of the real work. It is both rewarding and excruciating to let your instincts write a book for you. If you only write when the mood strikes as it is, waiting for the mood to strike and your instincts to indicate where you must go next is like holding out both hands for lightning strikes. But it is getting there. I am getting there. In a month's time, I will be done with college and gearing up for tour. This all boggles my mind. I am still just a little girl playing house. Here, evidence of the playing--an experiment in soup turned genius fall meal. I literally just put things into pans and hoped for the best. Magically, that worked out with such success I had to record it. Jericha usually does the cooking at home, but I bested my roomie at her own game this time. She asked for the recipe, so I thought I'd write it down here for everybody. (And it's vegetarian.)

Accidental Onion Soup

5 medium-sized onions, chopped
1 bottle Opa Opa Light Lager
5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups water
salt & pepper, to taste

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and remaining butter in layers. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. Allow to cook, unstirred for 25 minutes. Do not worry about burning (it won't happen). After 25 minutes, stir occasionally, continuing to cook onions until they are a deep mahogany, 15-20 minutes. Once a rich brown color is achieved, mix onions, beer, and water in a large stock pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and parmesan cheese on a brisk night when you want hearty comfort food.

Or, you could always stop by Nakedhaus and I'll cook you dinner while reciting for my latest project. No kidding. It happens at least three times a week now.

Summertime is not easy living, but it can be.

There is a serious amount of cherries in the fridge right now and one of my managers gave me a cherry mojito recipe not too long ago that I'm itching to try out. I have a feeling that will be the best beverage for tonight's dinner. I want to make roasted salmon with a citrus glaze. I'm being ambitious because Kait and I never have time to sit down for real dinner anymore - this is our first opportunity in weeks. But anyway, the mojito thing reminds me: I am obsessed with this Bacardi commercial. And not just because there's a Matt & Kim song in it.

With limbs akimbo.

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There is a lot to talk about and I have been putting off doing any of it, but now that I have done four loads of laundry and read two chapters of a book (finally making a dent in the epic summer reading list, which will be discussed later), I feel it important to check in with the rest of the world. I have been living in relative isolation, and the solitude of it is doing wonderful (if sometime painful) things for my psyche. I get out of bed in the morning solely because I want to, which has to be both the most foreign and most fulfilling feeling I've had in a long time. I have been writing a lot as well, and taking care of the apartment as best I can without becoming overwhelmed by the small sink filled with many large dishes. So things are good, better than expected, and in spite of being somewhat lonely, I know already that it is going to be a good and productive summer.

Graduation was very strange, but mostly enjoyable. Maggie and I watched the whole thing with our mouths hanging half-open, and I would not have believed half of it if I hadn't been watching with a cup of coffee in hand, most definitely awake. Several people received diplomas with dog leashes in their free hands. And yes, there were dogs at the end of those leashes. All of the speeches were so casual, I was a little taken aback. No one was required to wear a cap or gown, but the people who did wear them looked like they were wearing said attire that was left over from when they left high school four (or however many) years ago. The ceremony opened with bagpipes and ended with live jazz, not a hint of Pomp and Circumstance to be heard of. And you can download the whole thing from the school website, at least eventually - right now it's only available for streaming. Bobcat Goldthwait and Ken Burns spoke, which is really all that you need to know about how unorthodox the whole thing was. It got me excited for next year, but it also made me nervous for how my family would respond. The only other college graduation I have attended was my sister's from Providence College (well actually I only went to the mass the day before, but that they had a mass really says something about how different our school are), and it was in the Dunkin Donuts center in Providence. Not exactly the outdoor, social change-oriented, barefoot hippie somewhat-lovefest I witnessed on Saturday. Next spring will be interesting for sure. Congratulations again to all my Div Free friends, may you experience the career-less life of following your passions wherever they take you. If that's what you're gunning for anyway.

In thinking of my own future, my ultimate goal lately has been to find a place to go to poetry readings around here. AS 220 is only a few blocks from my apartment, and on Thursday nights it is home to the Providence Poetry Slam, which is exciting, although I have yet to attend since things have been so strange and unsettled still. But there's another poetry venue in town (that I have yet to figure out the location of...silly me) run by one the regulars at the Cantab, Ryk McIntyre. Where rumor has it, I'm going to be featuring on June 23. I was told to expect a formal invitation when I drive out to Boston for the Cantab on Wednesday night. More news to follow as the date approaches.

For now, I shall return to my function as cat wrangler/kitchen lord/scholar of Virginia Woolf, a capacity that will continue virtually uninterrupted until Saturday, which is the next time I have work. I really don't know how I managed to finagle this sweet set-up. All that's missing are the Slam Collective regulars, but they'll all be within a safe distance by June 1st, and then everything will increase exponentially in awesome. Until then, I will continue to soldier on through this non-routine routine, eating mock krema and/or citrus fruits for most meals and shooing the cats off my futon.

I leave you with the recipe my uncle's girlfriend Sarah sent me in the mail this week with Julia Child's My Life in France for the aforementioned mock krema.

1 cup bulgar wheat (Goya sells it in 1 lb bags)
3 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (about the amount you get from one lemon)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let stand for three hours. Then enjoy with pita, pita chips, in breakfast burritos, with scrambled eggs, etc. Or just eat it by itself, which I have been doing for many lunches and late night snacks.

Sand dollar days.

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It is warm enough outside lately to wear tank tops (albeit under cardigans still, but it is only April), to let my hair air dry after a shower, to go without socks. I love this.

That pot on the stove is potato soup that I am making for James, because he is currently miserable with some mysterious cold. I saw him this morning when I was at work and he hadn't slept all night. He's been slaving away in the media basement finishing the final cut of his Div 3 film(which will be showing May 3rd if anyone is interested), and it has visibly taken its toll on him. It is so close to the end of the semester too. I want him to feel better so that he can enjoy it.

Next week is the first of the two final slams for our NPS team, and I'm nervously revising and expanding upon (then editing down) so many 365 poems in some sort of preparation. I'm trying to pare down the 12 step poem to a slam length, but its proving nearly impossible and I am very frustrated, because I know it would score well.

I want to lay out on a blanket in the sun and just forget about all of the silly things I've been worrying about lately. I have all afternoon to do it, so I probably will. It seems the best possible option on a day like today, when then sun will be as warm as I want it to be.

Pie!

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Why yes, that is a key lime pie cooling on my kitchen windowsill, and yes, I am about to have a slice. The perfect activity for such an awesome day. I'll update properly later, when I'm through licking my fingers.

Armchair tourist, as per usual.

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James and I just started watching Long Way Round, this BBC travel documentary where Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman (co-stars from The Serpent's Kiss) take a motorcycle trip from the UK, through Eastern Europe and Russia, fly across the Bering Strait and continue through America to New York. He has already seen it before, but I've only seen their second endeavor, Long Way Down, which I loved. And now I'm loving this one too. They run into the strangest people. I think it's in the second episode when they're in the coal mine town and have a very interesting experience with the locals. And Ewan plays an acoustic cover of "Running to Stand Still", which is awesome.

It's hard not to notice while I'm watching the show that Ewan eerily reminds me of someone I spent some time with this summer. James refuses to believe me. But then he doesn't know the guy, so I'll trust myself on this one.

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On another note, I made a delicious hearty chicken soup from scratch the other night and I am sad we ate it so quickly. It was probably the best thing I've ever cooked.

Domesticity.

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At the library, as usual. This time, I am avoiding all the reading I have lined up for myself and doing something that shows a more physical result: crocheting baby blankets. Someone I have known for nearly half my life is having twins in a matter of months. I don't know what to do with that information. She's only four years older than I am. She is married and with child. I am knotting yarn out of anxiety. And happiness for her. Everyone is so excited.

I burned my lip when sampling the potato soup I was making last night for dinner. It is very annoying. I try to be a good faux-housewife and disaster strikes. Last time it was much worse though. Last time, the blender spewed hot pureed potato all over me right before I had to go to class. So maybe these are just baby steps towards normalcy.

I get to register for spring course in a matter of days, and I feel like a nerd for how excited I am about it. So much reading and writing yet to be done. If you could see me, you would laugh at how I am diabolically rubbing my hands together as if plotting and evil world takeover. I have a stack five or eight books high on my desk that I will read in the next few weeks, and that makes me so happy. But I think the most bookworm-y thing about me is that Thanksgiving is a day I look forward to not for the food or my family (although I am obviously excited about both), but because I left my brand new hard cover copy of War and Peace on my mother's desk when I left for Massachusetts in September. And I want it. My brain aches for words.

Also, I miss the Cantab. I love my fiction workshop more than I have loved a class at Hampshire so far (with the exception of Black Mountain Blues, which was just the most riotous good time because of Benfey, and I can't count it because he is a Holyoke professor), but I miss off-campus poetry. Especially after the kinds of things that apparently happen at our venue when people forget that respect is a two way street.

Soups.

I spend too much time on the Food Network website looking up recipes. I think I am going to attempt this recipe for chicken tortilla soup tonight.

I am hungry just reading it. And today is just a soup kind of day.

The saga continues...

I spent four hours in the library computer lab today, and finally finished re-typing my book from a manuscript and various other sources. I printed it putting four pages on one side of a piece of paper, and it fits on sixteen piece of paper double sided in this tiny ant format. I keep emailing the file to myself, but as a result of recent events, I no longer trust technology. Everything needs to be backed up or in hard copy from now on. I don't know what I would do if for some reason the meticulous editting and revisions I did disappeared into thin air. Probably just start re-typing again.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at the Holyoke Apple store to get everything checked out. My IT people lied, and I still have two years of warranty left. I am crossing my fingers that I won't need a completely new laptop, and that they won't need to keep my computer overnight. Driving back and forth to the mall is a pain in the ass. Malls remind me so much of New Jersey...I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Probably more of the second one.

While in the computer lab, I drank a giant thermos of coffee to combat a hangover, the first one I've had in about two years. I only get hangovers when I get sick the night before. And man did I get sick last night. Thankfully, no permanent damage has been done. Except that I'm crashing from my afternoon caffeine OD. But James is making pasta. Hopefully I can distract my body by filling myself with a lot of carbs and pretending away this intense back pain that won't quit.

The epic string of mysterious illnesses really needs to leave me alone.

I am getting an external hard drive for Christmas from my dad. Thank god my family has never given me useless presents.

Monstrous.

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The pit of the avocado I am eating right now for breakfast is the largest I have ever seen and eerily resembles a dinosaur egg. I want more creamy goodness for my money, not a giant ball of useless that is proving far too difficult to pry out with a spoon.

I think I have finally found a way to eat that fits both my budget and my distaste for the dining hall. I will cook fresh pasta every Tuesday and Friday. If I make new sauces every night for it, I will never feel like I am eating the same thing too much. Occasionally there will be chicken salad or meatballs. And for breakfast, I will eat as much fruit/vegetables/toast with jelly as possible so that lunch is an afterthought. I managed to avoid the dining hall almost entirely last week, and that was only on two quarts of wonton soup. If I cook, I will be even better off. Of this much I am sure, it is time to compile a list of recipes.

Tomorrow is my last day of classes for the week already. Yom Kippur conveniently extends my October break, a week(ish) off that I will use to watch as many movies as possible, have a dentists appointment, and write a paper that is due Friday. When I go back to New Jersey for the day on Thursday, I will most likely steal two weeks worth of groceries from my family's pantry. I swear to god, my grandma grocery shops as if there is an impending nuclear holocaust.

French press coffee is delicious. pretzels and peanut butter are delicious, avocados eaten out of their skin with salt and nothing else are delicious. I am getting very used to all of this.

Fall Essentials

red zelnik


It hasn't been time for a list in awhile. But now is definitely the time. The leaves are starting to change. It is below forty degrees outside. I am sitting at the reference desk in the library waiting for someone to ask me about something. They won't. So let's enumerate the things I deem integral to the passage of the coming months.

1 - Movies that feel like fall.

2 - Ryan Adams' Love is Hell on vinyl.

It is impossible to find. There are only rumblings of it on the internets at large. I am very distraught. I want this album, I need this album. With the highest quality sound available. I ran my mp3's of it into the ground this summer, which is not even possible. But if it was, it would've happened.

3 - Dawson's Creek.

I don't care what anyone says. My sister just sent me season four for my birthday, and I could not be more excited to watch twenty-somethings pretend they are in high school. Yessss.

4 - Mountain climbs.

5 - NYC.

I miss Maggie, and she is all the way in Brooklyn. Plus New York in the fall is my favorite, hands down. Yes, I know I live in New England and we supposedly have the best foliage ever. But to me, there's nothing like a brisk walk down Bowery when it gets frosty out. Or a sidewalk table at Virage for french sandwiches and delicious conversation.

6 - 40s of Miller High Life.

Champagne of beers. Duh.

7 - Spliffs.

8 - Writing as much as humanly possible.

9 - That burger with apple chutney at Amherst Brewing Company.

10 - Photoquests when the leaves start changing.

11 - Bicycling at night.

The wind toothing its way through even my heaviest jacket does not deter me from loving every second of the ride to and from James's house.

12 - Sex. Obviously.

13 - Reading more than my brain can handle.

14 - Tins of Bali Shag.

15 - Free piercing at Lucky's for my birthday.

16 - New tattoo.

Depending on the money situation, this one may or may not make the cut. But I am keeping my fingers crossed. I am trying to be diabolical and am hoping to save the fifty dollars my grandparents gave me for my birthday to go towards one. Because I know how against it they are. And they never have to know what their money was spent on. But I'll know. And I'll smile about it all the time.

17 - Strong coffee, chai tea.

18 - Sending and receiving snail mail.

19 - Hampshire Halloween!!

20 - Making awful choices about the things I put into my body.

Save for the multi-vitamin and fish oil I take on a daily basis, the semester so far has been nothing but bad times for my body. Ramen, various illegal substances, among other things. But mostly I just haven't been eating very much at all. The reason this is an essential, is that the food in the dining hall here is nigh inedible. Being on the full meal plan without a kitchen at my disposal is situation very different from what I got used to last semester. That is to say, deciding when I ate and what I ate. Which made me want to eat. The dining hall is a fate worse than death. So I will stick to my Trader Joe's microwaveable noodle boxes and sesame crackers in the middle of the night. I am sure I can survive the winter this way. Absolutely sure.

Feel loved.

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My shark brings everybody eternal happiness. Thank god for such things.

The ways that I have been spending my time cause me to lose huge chunks of the day that I might spend reading for class or getting to know the people on my hall. But I am content to lay around watching Hostel: Part II on blu-ray, because, to me, that is much more important than cleaning my room or reading a shit-ton of Shakespeare. I avoid parties, choosing instead to drink my 40's in the comfort of James's mod, where I can be sure that things will be fun. I have an unhealthy distrust for other people's attempts to entertain me lately.

Rearranging my furniture for the bulk of today has gotten the gears turning. I'm sure my room will be clean by the end of today, that I will probably get around to changing my sheets and making some coffee. Also, I will eat some of the delicious chicken salad I made yesterday in the only kitchen I currently have access to. It has tarragon and dried cranberries and is one of my favorite foods. Amid cooking lunch for myself for the next week (and also making dinner for myself and James), I submitting my 20 page piece to my fiction workshop. I will get feedback on Wednesday. In the meantime, I am going to continue scouring my room, making everything beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. All of my books are in size order, my records are alphabetized (I bought Jawbreaker's Dear You on Friday at Newbury Comics' 30th anniversary sale, and I am more in love than I was to begin with; loss-less sound!!!), my dishes are stacked, and I am fully prepared to finally finish something that I start. And then dive into my homework.

And to top it all off, it almost smells like fall.

Crunchh!

Celery and peanut butter is highly underrated. I am currently enjoying some, and good God is it lovely.

Saturday was 78 degrees and I went for a drive and then baked pizza from scratch. I love kneading dough. It makes my shoulders hurt though. I think I get too excited about it. Two weeks left of classes after this one. Everything is coming down to the wire. I am surprisingly placid.

Last night brought new meaning to George Harrison. I can't even think about it without getting chills.

My John Cage book came in the mail this morning. All smiles.

Famished.

As I get more and more hungry, I have remembered that I had an awful nightmare where someone forced me to eat veal last night.  Probably because James made me watch the veal episode of South Park the other night. The cows were so cute. But then again, I think the cows we see on our way to the supermarket are adorable, even though they are covered in mud and probably very smelly.

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After I get out of class, I have forty minutes until I have to go to a meeting. Plenty of time to eat something real. But I will most likely take the easy way out. Cooking in the microwave is just so easy.

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