Taking Stock: November 2018

I am doing a series of extended list posts à la Pip and Maggie Mason.

Cooking: I made a pot of corn chowder last week. Nutritionally, corn chowder is tricky- because it’s high carb and high in fat. No bueno if you’re on low carb or low fat. But I managed NOT to butcher the potatoes and burn the sausage- so it was quite tasty. Definitely something that got better as the week went on.

Drinking: Tea, a lot recently. I bought a package of “Lady Grey” which I did not realize was a thing. It’s quite nice. So much so I don’t even add lemon to it. I’ve also been drinking matcha green tea at work. It’s been chilly here- so it’s been nice to wrap my hands around a hot cup when I first arrive to the office in the morning.

Reading: The American Plate: A Culinary History In 100 Bites by Libby O’Connell. I picked it up on our trip to New England this year. It’s a fascinating tour of food in America. Something I did not know: the town I was born in (Kalamazoo, Michigan) is known as the celery capital of the world. And it used to be considered bougie- which is interesting because I think it is a trash vegetable.

Playing: Futsal. The league I play women’s soccer in has moved from outdoor to indoor at a futsal place, which is nice. I got megged about 35317 times on Wednesday night- so that’s not great. It’s fast paced and fun. It’s nice when it’s cold out- to go to an indoor place and be able to play. Even better I have a great team- the girls are all very nice and good players. It’s a fun team to play on.

Loving: the Devon Market. It’s this little neighborhood market in Rogers Park. Sometimes they have these pizza rolls- that are absolutely divine. Picture a cinnamon roll, only instead of sweet and cinnamon, think savory and cheese. They have a ton of European candy and snacks- which is definitely my jam.

Considering: switching up my planner game. Again. I know- you’re not surprised. I’ve seen the Dapper Desk planner by Simplified Life and honestly, it looks perfect. Stylistically, totally my jam.

But it’s $60 and it’s sold out. So I got to thinking about what I like about it (the fonts and the daily layout for times and a todo list). So I am thinking of what it would take to make my own. The Dapper Desk planner doesn’t have blank pages through out- for list making and such. So it’s probably better that I come up with my own. Really, I ought to get a large custom stamp made that would help with setting up the planner. That would be huge.

But still- it’s taken me about a year and a half to perfect my current system. I wish I had a lot of spare time and “design experience” because then, I would be in the planner business. I mean, I’m even using a monthly tracker.

Buying: Christmas presents now. It’s one of my favorite things about Christmas. I love thinking about and pondering what a person would actually like, what they would find useful, what they would love.

Smelling: fall. I love the smell of crisp air.

Admiring: People who get their shit together to vote early. Right now I am 75th in line to vote early in my neighborhood. Honestly, I didn’t think the line would be this long- in the middle of the day, in the hood. But here I am. I came with about 30% battery charge, like some kind of amateur.

Disliking: Still kinda annoyed that new movies aren’t released for home viewing around the same time as theater release. Like, I get it: popcorn sales. But honestly, I would pay extra to be able to watch new releases in my home.

Snacking: on maduros. Last month, my Whole Foods featured maduros on the hot bar- honestly it was nice. I’ve bought 4 plantains to make my own at home that are taking their sweet ass time to ripen.

Thinking: ahead to Christmas. This year we’re “off” from Texas. So we’re gearing up for a drive to South Florida. Road trips are my absolute favorite. Of course- it’s hard not to like sitting in a car for 18 hours, not doing chores and eating garbage snacks.

Watching: The West Wing. Again. I listened to Bob Woodward’s book on the Trump White House. And you could say I am horrified. West Wing is my comfort blanket.

I know its wrong.  I have confessed previously my shame and compulsion.  But it is slow and there isn’t any sex or violence- so its not the end of the world if Nico passes by the TV while I am watching.

Here is the thing: I don’t know many things. But I do know that the world is a complicated place. I know things aren’t always what they seem and that rarely is one thing ever 100% good or 100% bad. Take for example, Rob Porter. His official position was White House Staff Secretary. Yes, he abused two former wives. But he also worked as part of a coalition within the Trump White House to inhibit some of Trump’s worst instincts.

Trump doesn’t seem to understand the complexity of anything. And he doesn’t seem to be capable of learning, which is troubling. And I wonder if he is actually as dumb as he sounds in Woodward’s book.

Honestly, that was nothing that you could ever say about Obama.

Marveling: last month I listened to a WWII book with Nico that described a German war vehicle: Kampf Wagen, which is probably supposed to mean something like “battle car”. But I interpret kampf as “struggle” and “wagen” as wagon. So some days, I drive the struggle wagon, and it makes me happy to think about.

Worrying: About my kid in school. Always worrying about him in school. Maybe his struggles with focus and attention are evidence of a superior intellect. Maybe his mind rails against the institutionalization of schools and he’s gonna come up with the cure for AIDS or poverty or something. I have a hard time understanding his struggle because I loved school- loved completing worksheets- showing how smart I was.

What does that say about me??

Listening: Queen. I’ve been looking forward to the Queen Biopic. Mostly because I think Remi Malek is brilliant and I am intrigued about the band because I don’t know much about it- other than that Bohemian Rhapsody was part of the soundtrack of my teen years- because of Wayne’s World. And radio stations didn’t play them a lot when they started out.

Resisting: the urge to start new knitting projects. I do not need another cowl or scarf. What I need to knit? A hat that fits my giant ass cabeza. Or socks. But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I just am not a good enough knitter for either. That does not change my desire for sumptuous, beautifully colored yarn in my hands.

Waiting: I saw an ad about a month ago for a movie about Marie Colvin, a foreign correspondent who was killed in the Siege of Homs in Syria. Then, this weekend, I heard a NPR story with a colleague who has written a biography about her, which is coming out this week. An audible credit purchase later and now I’m just waiting for it to be released.

Also, Netflix (!) is releasing Springsteen on Broadway in December.  December 15.  Not like I am waiting for that day.  Or weighing the possibility of shutting down all commitments in order to watch.

Random McRandomski

So, I just got back from a conference in Orlando. I drove through Tropical Storm Debby most of the way. I made the unfortunate mistake of taking adderall when things got hairy (so I cold stay alert and focused- and not accidentally drive into a sink hole). The result? Guess who is still wide awake at 1240 am? This girl!

Am glad to be back. Nico was especially snugly. Apparently, he hasn’t exactly been a model citizen while I was gone. 😦 hopefully we can get him back on track. Speaking of which… He is almost to the age, I think when he can travel a little better. I am hoping that a year from now he will have progressed through the Age of Unreason.

So, I did a chopped down version of the Myers-Brigg personality test a couple of weeks ago. Apparently I have an INTJ personality type, which is actually quite rare.

Turns out that my my crushing self-doubt may be unfounded. Apparently, INTJs do well in Academia. So that is nice. Unfortunately, this does not help with one thing I am terrible at: networking. This particular conference was nice because since I don’t know most of the big timers in health services research, I wasn’t all weird. Like when I go to sociology or demography conferences, I am totally like Garth in Wayne’s World: “we’re not worthy, we’re not worthy… We suck!”


Suddenly, I am asleep!

So Nico is doing the most DARLING thing lately.  Dave actually got it on video yesterday.  Hoping he will get it uploaded to youtube, because you HAVE TO SEE IT. 

Back story:  when I was in college, I was a different person.  I was really accomodating and basically just wanted to be liked.  Our first road trip with the guys (back in the days before Lee U was good, the women’s program was sort of an afterthought.  It was like, “The Mens team is traveling to Memphis to play Union.  Why dont we bring the women’s team too?”) was a long one- I think it was either 4 hours to Nashville or 7 to Memphis, whatev.  One of the guys on the team had really bad leg cramps from being cooped up for so long and was complaining because the cramps were in his hamstrings. 

I offered to massage them out if he would lay on his stomach on the floor of the bus.  He did and I did.  He probably thought I was weird because who offers that?  Plus the hamstring starts to venture into the a$$ area- so that was probably weird.  Of course he had this crazy girlfriend from highschool- so it definitely was NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL.  Plus, he was the guy who insisted on doing f-ed up things with his hair.  In the time that we were at Lee, I saw him shaved bald, with a fro, in corn rows, and for an unfortunate period our junior year with a Julias Ceasar look- which, lets be real, is never good on anyone, including Julias Ceasar.  But I digress. 

Because I am also strong, I got a little bit of a reputation for being able to help with muscle spasms and muscle cramps and the like (this differs in stark contrast to the “happy ending” masseusses… which are basically hookers.  Yeah, I wasnt one of those.)  Once when we are at the National Tournament, one of my teammates had a kinda sore back and asked me to massage it out for a bit.  I was sitting on the bed and suddenly just fell over and said, “Suddenly, I am asleep.” 

She basically peed her pants laughing at that.  And I have done it a lot since then.  Whenever someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do, that is my response.  Dave asks if I can help him with the dishes?  Suddenly I am asleep.  But its not complete unless you fall over onto a bed or a couch. 

Nico has started doing this.  The other day, Dave was trying to get Nico dressed for school.  He said, “Nico, let’s put your shirt on.”  And Nico would lay himself down in the crib, as if he were asleep.  HILARIOUS!!  Really hoping I can get the video up here. 

I cant imagine that he got that from me.  Maybe this is just his way of protesting going to school?  Either way, its funneh!!

The reason I never saw Aerosmith Live…

It is amazing the things you don’t remember.

In the process of moving, I am forcing myself to go though stuff and throw it away.  I heard a thing on NPR this week about hoarders (maybe last week).  The guest was saying that for a lot of people, they hang onto stuff because they are afraid that they will forget about the experience.  And if they dont remember they were there, who else would?  What follows below is a narrative about some of the stuff I have come across during the move…. if you’re not into long slow walks down Memory Lane, you probably should click away.

So I have come across some interesting finds.  When I went off to college, it was kind of a big deal.  My mom kept a stack of postcards on her that were stamped and addressed to me.  Whenever she was at the soccer field or work or wherever she saw someone and they asked about me, she’d offer them a postcard to drop me a note.  I saved them.  All. Girls I played ball with… my brother’s teammates…people I met through work.  That is pretty cool.  I also have a collection of letters from the smartest person I ever met in real life (JED).  I had the fortune of attending FMHS with him.  We seem to have kept in touch pretty well… I hope that I wrote him as much as he wrote me… and that they were half as entertaining as his were…they were mostly about stupid people and the like, including several written as though they were British Military communications (you’d have to know JED).

I came across an envelope that contained a bunch of flourescent stars (the kind you put on the walls of your room) as well as a printed copy of Corinthians 9: 24-25.  Also written onto a piece of paper: “You must either conquer and rule or serve and lose; suffer or triumph, be the anvil on the hammer.”  Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe.

I also had one of the signs from our dorm hallway “Absolutely No Males Beyond This Point!!!”  and a small printed picture of a very young Elvis Prestley… that I had taped to something.  Someone I cared about gave it to me, which is why I kept it… but I can’t remember who now.  I also have a note from my bestfriend/roommate ELF apologizing for stealing a paper that I had been working on.  She hid it in our room and had meant to give it back to me… but forgot.  Apparently, I had gotten mad at her? (I do not even remember this situation).  I also found a letter explaining that I was on chapel probation, Spring Semester of my freshman year.  You got on probation when your attendance dropped below 75% for the semester (this definitely sounds like me).

The best find from this box of memoribilia?  A letter from my sister:
“Dear Jess,
Hey dork. How are you. Everything is fine here. We made it home at about 230 in the morning.  How in hell did we turn a 12 hour trip into 16 ______ hours?  Dad was being so annoying.  He kept wanting me to read aloud from his book.  (My cue to start reading: he would start singing “read me a story… read me a story…” Needless to say, I didnt get my book for English read.  Ms. Miller made me take the test Friday.  I think I did pretty good for not actually reading the stupid book.  So anyway, when is your court date?  Are you going because you are going to contest the ticket or because you have to? Did you give plasma again?  I told Tawnya about that and she laughed until she got kicked out of Mr. Cunningham’s class. I got 2Qs 4U:
1) Why did you even tell Mom, it’s not like you are a minor?  2) Are you going to take BB’s Money? He must be really rich or really stupid or really in love with ELF.  Which is it?  Anyway, how are things with your other problem?  Did you get your demerits under 50?
Anyway, I have the best idea for you RS, JS and ELF.  Ok.  You’ve gotten in trouble at school, so you don’t want to risk sneaking out, but you still want to go clubbin.  Here is what you do… first you sign out, like you are going home (that way you wont be in trouble for curfew.  Second, you go clubbin…. have a blast… blah, blah, blah.  Then, whenever you get back you sneak into your room.  When you are asked, why you are back, just say you changed your mind about going home.  Isn’t that the best idea ever?”

Seriously?  I had to get advice from my 17 year old sister on how to sneak out of a dorm?  Really?  In defense of me:  She refers to the single worst/best weekend of my LIFE…. it started out crazy.  I dont know if you have gathered from the letter from NLB, but Lee was a little bit strict about girls/guys being unsupervised together.  Apparently, I had a little problem with “authority” my freshman year, because I thought the rules didnt apply to me. So ELF and I snuck into the boys dorm Friday night. Simmer down now.  It was early (like 8pm).  And it was Lee weekend, so we took that to mean that rules weren’t on… in any case, we were on the first floor with some of the guys from the basketball team… listening to music, discussing plans to go out.  When we got busted.  Totally got in trouble.

So I freak out a little…am sure that I am getting tossed from the team.  So I lay low on Saturday.  Sunday ELF and I decide to go cliff diving with another group of friends (the kind that typically didnt get in trouble ever.)  We go up to Charleston to jump off of cliffs into a river (HOLY HELL?  WHAT?  HOW is this ever a good idea?) It was pretty fun… the group we are with decides that it would be fun to go jump of a railroad trestle further down the river.  When we got there, I decided it was way too far (50 feet, maybe, instead of the 20 or so the cliffs had been).  So ELF and I decide not to jump… but we are hanging out.  Then the cops come and start writing tickets for trespassing.  Now, none of us have IDs.  And rather than lying to get out of the ticket. I give them my real name?  WHAT?  What is wrong with me?

The amount of the ticket ended up being the cost for the Aerosmith ticket that ELF’s friend BB had gotten for us, to go with him (he offered to pay the trespassing tickets so that we could still go).  And since I couldnt do both- I ended up paying the trespassing ticket.  And missed Aerosmith.  Yeah, the tour right after the movie Armageddon came out.  Remember how hot the soundtrack was? Aerosmith and ZZ Top all over it?

So this little trip down memory lane reminded me 1) how gullible/easily influenced I used to be 2) how NOT hardcore I was and 3) I still haven’t seen Aerosmith live.