Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up: 5 Pies

This Thanksgiving we hosted dinner in our little apartment in our little town. I looked around the table, and I was so thankful for the people sitting around it. I have spent the last three Thanksgivings away from my family of origin--the last two years I spent with Eric's family and the year before that I was eating turkey with my American brethren in San Jose, Costa Rica. So it was extra special to have them all there. Plus, as time goes by, the distance I have put between myself and Arizona becomes more palpable. I didn't just go away to college. I really moved away. I actually live far from home. Somewhere in my subconscious I knew that this is what was happening in late August 2005, as I cried and cried after my going away party. I knew that I was really leaving then, but in college you go home plenty, and everyone is far from home, and its just normal and it just seems like a phase and the truth of it fades. But the truth of it is clearer to me now. The realities of distance are clearer to me. And I know now what it means to gather your loved ones from far away into one place.

So, the people around the table: We had my brother there, who had just successfully completed his Basic training at Ft. Knox, and who found it generally easy and enjoyable, unlike everyone else ever. We had his girlfriend, who had made it through 4 months separation on nothing but letters, a few phone calls, and a few days in October. I truly don't know how she did it. My dad and my mom, who I appreciate more and more as I grow up. My friend Natalya was there too, who is from Kazakhstan and was very patient with us as we explained American Thanksgiving to her, even though I'm sure she heard the same schpiel last year. And next to me was Eric, my co-host who will sit next to me for many Thanksgivings to come.

We ate dinner. And then we ate pie. I made three pies: pumpkin (recipe from the Stokely's can), maple bourbon pecan pie (courtesy of Martha Stewart, and also my mom who took the reigns on this one), and cranberry apple.


Now, the title of this post says 5 pies, because last Sunday I made another cran-apple pie for Friend Thanksgiving, and also because my mom and I can't count. I knew I had to make 3 pies, so naturally I made enough for 6 crusts. But this neglected the fact that there is no top crust for pecan or pumpkin pie. So we had 2 extra crusts. So we threw together the fruit we had--frozen berries and leftover apple/cranberry filling and made a 4th pie on Black Friday. The guests are now gone, but hey--I have berry-cran-apple pie! That should help get me through the next 3 weeks of school insanity.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Life List

There's a little movie I was particularly fond of as a young teenager, and its called A Walk to Remember. In it, Mandy Moore's character has a list of things she wants to do before she dies. More recently, there is something of a blog meme going around where people make life lists. I have thought absent-mindedly about making such a list for myself before, and I've had some semblance of the list in my brain, but then I read this Cary Tennis column about a man unhappy with his life even though he seemed to have everything. Maybe, I thought, this man never thought about what he actually wanted out of life. It is hard to get what you want if you don't know what it is. I do not want the same fate as that man. So I opened a new Word document. And here's what we got:

  1. Take a Eurorail Trip. Bonus points if its before I turn 25, so I get that sweet discount.
  2. Have more than one child. In so doing, parent with long-term love in mind, keep me being me, and enable them to confidently be who they are.
  3. Be an extra on a movie or TV set.
  4. Own a dog.
  5. Make a habit of homemade, simple Christmas gifts for neighbors and friends. Homemade jam or something.
  6. Dance around a fire in a faraway place.
  7. Go on a cruise.
  8. Become strong enough to dance en pointe again.
  9. Watch all the Best Picture movies.
  10. Go back to Varanasi.
  11. Go back to Biolley.
  12. Have a garden.
  13. Have a tree house with a pulley.
  14. Stop being afraid of fish and other animals with unpredictable movements.
  15. Have a home where all comers feel welcome and people just stop by.
  16. Floss.
  17. Take a hot air balloon ride.
  18. Become good at wine pairings.
  19. Have a job that requires power suits and heels, but don’t stay there too long.
  20. Take my parents on a vacation.
  21. Go on a hard cider tour of Europe.
  22. Never make a pie with pre-made crust.
  23. Open a pie shop in Austin, Texas
There are 23 things on this list. I got to around 20 and decided that 23 would be nice, since I have that many years of life behind me, and maybe I can add one new thing each year. I realized a few things after making this list:
- Making this list made me very happy. I felt an overwhelming sense of possibility as I wrote it, so much so that it made me feel almost teary. Like anything could happen.
-This is the list of someone who has already been very, very blessed. The list has two items about going back to beautiful, distant places. I have already done and seen and experienced so much. If never do any of the things on the list, I'll still have lived plenty.
- My career is nowhere to be found on this list. I tried to work it in, honestly. But the things on this list are mostly things that reach for something beyond what I already know and feel capable of. Work, school? That I can do. Having a home where people just drop by? For me, that is the greater challenge. That's why I had to put it on the list.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The News

People always complain that there is only bad news on the front page of the paper or leading off the nightly news. Presumably, this is because bad news is more interesting than reading about how everything is fine and absolutely no one in the west side neighborhood had anything bad happen to them at all today.

I think this blog has sort of become like the news. Except that I feel a stronger need and/or ability to write about things that frustrate me than I do about things that cheer me up, keep me happy, relax me.

But I don't want everyone to get the wrong idea. I read over my posts and I just seem a little angry and unpleasant. Sorry about that. I don't take any of it back (I really do feel that strongly about job application notification), but on the blog there is no taste of the other side. The happy me that balances righteous-anger me.

Things are really good, actually. Sure, school is rapidly becoming end of semester crazytown. But take yesterday night for example: we walked to the grocery store, bought ice cream and hot fudge, and watched Toy Story 3 (which was so good--the last scene tugged at my heart like only the first few minutes of Up have ever done. Pixar: how do you do what you do?!?? There is some supernatural situation over there at Pixar Studios, I'm telling you.) And today there was gorgeous weather, lunch with friends, and West Wing!

And beyond those happy little things, I also just feel fulfilled these days. I just got a promotion of sorts in my school job, and I am starting to dig in deeper to the IU community. I even stood out on campus with a clipboard and asked people for signatures for a cause last week. By myself. I just...don't do those things. But it was great! I felt like a part of something. And little by little, I think we are establishing a stronger social fabric in this town. And of course, it never hurts to be in love with someone who loves you back. Plus we've got pre-cana going on and I find it comforting to deal with our relationship's challenges. Relying on the current status quo of happiness isn't very secure, but relying on our ability to work things out--that makes this feel solid.

So I've got school/career, friends, and love.

But I complain about registries. Those posts are funnier. But good news needs to be on the front page sometimes too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Roundup of Thoughts and Musings

- So I did spend money last week, as you know. I also mostly drove, but I did take the bus once. I also completely kicked the challenge to the curb on Saturday night to go out to dinner and ice cream with the boy to celebrate getting a new and better job at school. Lessons learned from the experience? Saving money requires planning ahead. Planning ahead on the daily details does not come easily to me--or, actually, its more accurate to say that ACTING on my future plans does not come easily to me. I know I have to make my lunch for tomorrow. But I say, I will do that later. And then its 1 am and its time for me to go to sleep and so I say, I will do that in the morning. And of course then its 7:15 am and I say, it is fine if I sleep 10 more minutes. This is actually how my life rolls. Now you know.

- My netbook kicked the bucket and now I am relying on my old and sturdy Gateway. It is a good and solid computer, and I am grateful to it for stepping up to the plate and being my computer when I needed it, despite probably having abandonment issues from the last year where it mostly sat on a desk under a pile of papers. Alone. Forgotten. But now it is back and working hard at computer life, and 75% of the time it is great. Except, at random and unpredictable intervals, it will just grind to a halt and go so slowly that I bang my head on my desk and contemplating chucking it through a window. My relationship with this computer is very fraught, very volatile.

- I have decided that entire world of employers needs to have a come to Jesus moment and realize that it is incumbent upon them, as members of society, to act with a modicum of sensitivity to the fact that people who apply to jobs with them probably want to know what the **** is going on with their application. I really don't know when it became okay to let someone spend precious hours filling out an application and write an obsequious letter heaping praise upon the organization and practically begging them to give them the privilege of working for next to nothing--or in some case, actual nothing!--and not respond with a 1 sentence email saying "We have reviewed your application and have chosen not to hire you at this time." This economy gives people who have jobs enormous power over those who don't or who want better ones that actually utilize the education they worked hard for and incurred debt to acquire. We want the job they advertised for, sure, but we also just want to know if we should still hold out hope. Have some compassion. Write the damn email.

- I do not know why Blogger decided that this post needed to be double spaced, but it is really stubborn about it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fail, Part II

So...the sandwich I brought for lunch was not tasty. Other than that I have an apple and chips. And a Gatorade. I am supposed to go to Modern dance class at 7.

I think I'll be pulling out my wallet again today.

Tomorrow I'm going to have to prepare better.

Caffeine and Warmth

Okay, well, I survived a day of Zero Dollars Spent Week. I'm about to go buy a cup of coffee. It is freezing in this building, and I am about to fall asleep while reading.

I accept defeat and resolve to try again tomorrow.