Friday, March 27, 2009


Last night, I made half a batch of Mohnschnecke, my all-time favorite baked good. (Note: If you know me, you know that I'm a baked-good fiend. Truly, it was difficult to determine that Mohnschnecke are indeed the top-ranked - I also love a good danish - but my decision is final. For now.) The 'schnecke (if I can so abbreviate them w/o looking like a total douchebag) turned out objectively well: that is, the final product was delicious and pleasant looking. But it didn't taste like the bakery version(s) available in Berlin. Perhaps this discrepancy is inevitable? I'm not sure. I'm an OK baker, but not a great baker; I have never invented my own recipe. I have a few ideas for altering the recipe I used - OK, one idea - and I will see how this alteration pans out. Mostly, though, I was happy to be baking, happy to be remembering Mohnschnecke and the wonderful bakery experience that is Germany. Also: happy to have so many poppy seeds in my possession.

I love poppy seeds.

This weekend will be frantic and glorious. I will finish editing my thesis, and Jane and I are having a bake-a-thon Saturday afternoon and evening. This bake-a-thon will be accompanied by the viewing of Now and Then, which I haven't seen since I was approximately eleven and which I don't remember. (It is also Jane's favorite movie.) So, fun and hellish business, hopefully in some sort of balance.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Took a brief hiatus from updating: last week was spring break, and I wasn't feeling especially internet-y. Also, though I was technically on "break," I was actually frantically revising my thesis, which has to be done and distributed to my committee by April 3rd. I spent a few long days at the public library (which is a lot louder than you might expect a library to be)/Neilson library (which is the perfect library volume)/Starbucks. Am feeling better about my thesis now - though, make no mistake, I am still working frantically - but will feel better when it's totally done.

To half-assedly make up for lost time, here is a list of updates from spring break(!):

1) Bike riding! It was semi-warm out this week (high 40s/50s), and I finally got my bike out of storage and road-ready. The trails were mostly clear, minus a few snowy patches; I took three nice rides. It's colder this week...might wait until the springlike weather returns before taking more rides. Yes: I am wussy in this regard.

2) BASKETBALL. Watched both Wisconsin games while drinking promotion ally-priced Miller Lite and enjoying deep-fried snacks. Midwestern, right? Sadly, Wisconsin was out of the tournament after round two, and Marquette is also out. Who(m) will I cheer for? Not sadly, I won a basketball and a hat through the beer promotion. Huzzah!

I have no idea what I'll do with a Miller Lite hat, but this is not my point.

3) I Love You, Man. Saw it on opening night (a real feat for me, the cinephobe...or however you would classify a person who is lazy about seeing newly-released movies) & it was excellent. Paul Rudd was perfectly cast, and Jason Segel's UGGs were perfectly cast. I'm now also calling everyone "Jobin."

There were other highlights, too, but they kind of blur together with my memories of [blissfully] sleeping past 5:00 am and just bumming around [albeit, with guilt in my heart re: thesis]. Ah, spring break.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Man, like half of my links under "Friends and Neighbors" are now defunct. C'mon, guys: stop quitting your blogs! Also, update your blogs! I like to read them whilst at my office job.

A quiet, productive day. I deliberately prepared a shorter To-Do list, streamlining it to include only the most necessary of tasks. I still haven't taken my new (or at this point, "newish") jeans to the tailor. Where is motivation for alterations? Finished a full draft of Weirdos, Exes, Telesoliciters, Uncles (a short story I've been working on for, oh, the past year. Not continuously: in little bursts.), and now have to make my corrections to the electronic version. I make all initial revisions by hand. I'm pretty satisfied with Weirdos, satisfied too that it will be in the neighborhood of 27 pages. I never used to write stories this long(!) But now, I do.

Reading Nobody Belongs Here More Than You and am sadly underwhelmed. I don't dislike the stories - I found It Was Romance touching and concise and admirable - but the collection, so far, seems hit or miss. (A common complaint for me lately, I guess.) Am going to keep on keepin' on, though: I bought the book.

Listening to Jolie Holland. Thinking about my hurty teeth and what I'll wear to the party tonight. Enjoying the quiet house.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Musical choice.

I'm not someone who is able to listen to music while working. This is a sad fact, as I enjoy listening to music - as an accompaniment to another activity and as a singular activity - very much. In fact, I think listening while working would improve the work experience, and consequently my greater quality of life. For a brief time in high school, I was able to listen to certain classical recordings while working on math homework, but only classical, and only with math. This fleeting trend gave me hope that someday, I might join the ranks of those who can listen/work, but no dice. I'm sitting in my kitchen in silence.

This disability notwithstanding, I can work while I have a song in my head. At times, I'll listen to an album just before starting to write or edit so that album's "imprint" or echo is left with me. Just before sitting down, I listened to Challengers. It's aftereffects are priming me for an hour of good editing.

Go Places.

It has been a tortuously busy week, one during which I've had scads of appointments/meetings/obligations/usw., but during which I have gotten little actual work done. Tonight, I had a three hour meeting with the English Conference Committee. I'm not complaining about the three hours - we needed all of the time to rearrange panels, assign moderators, and such - but am lamenting my posture in that restaurant booth: I think I undid all of today's chiropractic therapy. I've hardly worked on my thesis at all (though I met with my adviser on Wednesday: does that count?), and now, instead of doing real work, I'm researching destinations for an upcoming trip Eric and I are planning. We're arranging a weekend getaway for my birthday/his birthday/our 2-year anniversary, which three dates fall within one week of each other. The potential destinations are:

1) Nantucket
2) Bar Harbor
3) Niagara Falls
4) Montreal

My personal favorite is Montreal(!) I mean, come on: Montreal. Right? He's pulling for Nantucket. In the interest of fairness, we've each chosen two destinations (he the former, I the latter) and are going to prepare presentations (handouts & all) on our locales of choice. !. If I knew how to use PowerPoint - or cared to learn - I would totally make a PowerPoint. In fact, I just might. After all, this thesis is practically editing itself.

News flash, y'all: this birthday is the big 2-5.

News flash 2: If I could make an unsolicited recommendation to any and all readers: Pilates will change your life. But who am I to talk? I've been to the gym once this week...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

God bless New England

because, when it snows, school is pretty much always canceled. I've never lived in a place that has so many snow days, but I can't say that I mind. I don't! Free day off! Anyway, I needed a snow day yesterday: I was still coughing and sneezing all over the place, unable to get out of bed until early afternoonish. I even ate chicken soup for lunch, which indicates the true nature of my illness (as those of you who know my feelings about chicken soup will verify). Feeling a bit better today, possibly due to 1) the chicken soup 2) chiropractic appointment 3) the mass quantities of liquids I consumed 4) Pilates (that one's a toss up, though).

In other news: that new Fillet-O-Fish commercial creeps me out, a lot. So much so that I'm mentioning it here. Eeesh.

Soon, it will be time to visit the sugar shack: yessssssss. Spring can't come soon enough.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday night, and I am thoroughly relaxed. I should be mildly panicking - I hardly made a dent in the pile of work I set aside for myself this weekend, and instead made several costly, arguably frivolous purchases, and am suffering from the Cold of Death - but I am not. Nope. I am kicked back in my Executive Chair, drinking a cup of Tazo Passion tea, wearing some fleece pants, and inhaling the fragrant vapors of a Vicks-infused tissue. These Vicks-infused tissues are the best invention since the Swiffer Mop (which, in a previous post, I claimed was the best invention ever.) (Seriously, though: these tissues give you all the perks of Vapo-Rub with none of the greasy unpleasantness.) I have roughly two.five months left of my master's program, about three (four?) months left in Western Mass, and a calm is setting in. I know, realistically, that I'll get my thesis/Independent Study/screenplay done, even if "Gettin' R' Done" means pulling all-nighters at the library. Which it may. If I continue at this pace. Back to the calm: my goal is to maximize my productivity by allowing myself a little latitude with when/where I complete my work. For example, I was freaking out a little this morning because I had not yet started working on a certain story I'd wanted to edit, but instead of continuing the freakout I calmed myself down, did some laundry, watched some Arrested Development, and cooked a delicious dinner with E. After dinner, I sat down and wrote four pages. Lesson: freaking out does not help a situation, so why bother? (I hope I can maintain this level of calm closer to my defense date.) The end.