Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taking Stock, 2008 Edition

More money or less?
Marginally more, thanks to a merit raise that ended up being wiped out by inflation.

Biggest way to waste time?
You know, I put Katamari away for a long time, only to take it back out late this summer, at which point I promptly played it until I got little blisters on my thumb, driven by an unreasonable urge to roll up the North Star. Other than that, I don't know that I really wasted a lot of time.

Best use of time?

Ash and I have taken up hiking. We bought some boots and everything, and we're working our way toward being able to do some camping/ hiking trips, hopefully this summer, if we can get our work schedules to cooperate. We've been having a lot of fun tramping around the trails in some local parks, enjoying the outdoors and having lovely talks about everything under the sun.

Best movie?
We didn't watch a lot of movies this year, so it's a very small pool to choose from. In comedy, I loved "Kebab Connection". But for sheer movie roller coaster fun, Dark Knight is the first movie in a long time that I would have been willing to pay full ticket price to see again.

Listened to?
Lots and lots of NPR. I think I worked my way through almost all of the This American Life Podcasts, and I listened to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" during all of my physical therapy sessions.


The unholy trinity of Jen Lancaster, Laurie Notaro, and Ayun Halliday helped keep me laughing in a rough year. I also re-read Pride and Prejudice, Les Miserables, and Oliver Twist, and made heavy use of my library card, reading pretty much anything that caught my eye.

Fatter or thinner?
Thinner. Then fatter. Then a little thinner. Then fatter. I'm working on thinner again now.

Smarter or stupider?
More cynical? Oh, wait, that wasn't an option. I guess smarter, because I feel like the scales were lifted from my eyes in several matters.

Best buy?
Our new mattress. Not only is it much plusher than the 20+ year old Sears mattress we were sleeping on, it is also bigger. After all that time sleeping in a full bed together, it felt downright spacious to upgrade to a queen. Now, after four months of sleeping in the queen bed, the full bed in Ash's mom's guest room felt so small. Ash and I kept elbowing each other and telling each other to move over and quit hogging the bed.

Best bargain?

Stupidest purchase?
I can't really think of anything, perhaps because we made a concerted effort to not buy things this year.

Drank the most?
Blue Moon, fueling my performance as a member of the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers at Pub Quiz every week.

Best drink?
I had a really lovely Sangiovese recently. Ash and I actually went to a couple of wine stores in Michigan, looking for a bottle to give as a gift.

Ate the most?
Well, I hate to admit this, but I ate a lot of Spaghetti-Os (with meatballs!!). I don't know why, it just hit the spot for a long time. I probably ate them for lunch at least twice a week for several months.

Worst food eaten?
I made this goulash one night, sort of free-styling it like I usually do. I am a cook who does not really measure things or use recipes, per se. Usually, I use a recipe only if I've never made something before, and even then, I often tinker with them.

Best food eaten?

I think the best thing I ate all year was the meal that I ate at Meat-tastic with Ash. I can't pick one thing as "best", because everything was so good. The seafood was amazing, and the lamb was practically melting in your mouth, but then, so was the filet, and the salads were to die for. I ate until I thought it might start to come out of my pores, and I still wouldn't have stopped if it had been physically possible to continue eating.

New friends found?
One of the best parts of this year has been the way my group of lunch buddies has morphed into a group of friends. Funnily enough, the one girl who I thought I would really dislike when she first started last fall is the one who I am probably closest to. In fact, up until this past week, I was one of only two or three people who knows that she's pregnant. She and her husband didn't even tell their parents until Christmas. Keeping the secret is killing me, but I don't think she's planning to tell anyone at work for another three or four weeks.

Old friends lost?

Not that I can think of.

Resolutions not kept?
Heck yes. For the record, these were last year's resolutions:
1) Get a thicker skin at work. I cannot continue to let a certain recurring problem get under my skin the way it has the past several months.
2) Get to work earlier in the morning so that I can leave earlier at night.
3) Learn something new-- a new skill, for example.
4) Get back to blogging regularly. I miss the creative outlet.

And the results?
1) The recurring problem I referred to no longer gets under my skin, and I'm getting better at not taking things to heart so much. Having said that, I still get too hot under the collar about certain things.
2) This has been a hit-and-miss thing. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't-- more often, I don't. And when I do, I have a hard time leaving earlier, thereby defeating the whole purpose of getting there earlier.
3) I learned to swim breaststroke properly. Does that count? I think it does.
4) Not so much. I am just fried at the end of the day, so I want to flop on the couch and watch TV, or else I want to read what other people have written.

Missed chances?
I can't think of anything, but I wonder if that means that I'm missing something because I don't know that it's important-- you know?

This year, I kept hearing a line from a Patty Griffin song, playing over and over in my head: "I must confess, there appears to be/ way more darkness than light". That small snippet of song articulates my fears from the past year more than anything else. I have never worked as hard as I did this year, and yet I feel like I was running in place all year long. It's hard to keep believing that things are going to get better when it seems like they just keep getting worse.

Biggest success?
I think I had a lot of small successes this year, but no huge ones. I got a lot better at my job and did a few things there that I was really proud of.

Biggest failure?

I have made no progress whatsoever toward getting my house and life organized.

Healthier or Sicker?

Welllll... up until September, I would have smugly answered "healthier!", and I tell you, I was absolutely certain that the reason why I didn't catch any of the usual viral crap was the flu shot that I got for the first time in many years last fall. However, I also got a flu shot this year, and I've essentially been sick off and on since mid-September with some nasty viral crap. The bug I caught in November took me out of commission entirely for three days, then kept me miserable for at least a week more, and to be honest, I don't think it's ever entirely gone away.

Best spontaneous fun?

The morning Ash and I got Tim Hortons and went for a walk around a park in his hometown. It was very early in the morning-- we got up so that we could stop and see his dad before he left for work, because otherwise we wouldn't have had a chance to see him at all as we were passing through town on our way to a wedding. It was, in fact, earlier than I usually get up for work back home. We took our coffees and walked around the misty park while the sun rose higher and higher in the sky. It was quiet and peaceful, so full of still beauty that it made the moment seem surreal.

Learned the most?
I know more about government contracting than I ever want to know. I would wager that I know more about government contracting than almost anyone else in my company. Yet, I probably know only a tiny fraction of what there is to know. I do not like contracting with the Federal Government.

What I definitely don’t want to see in the next year?
More of the same, and especially more of the whole "Dumb as we wanna be" culture. I am ready for a new wind, for a new beginning. I'm ready to hope for good again.

TV puke?
More or less everything. I didn't really get into anything on TV this year, with one exception (see below), because it all seems like such crap. Even the shows that everyone else thinks are fantastic make me irritable. Like Lost. I think that show is worse than Heroes... Heroes from this season.

I love The Soup. I watch it almost every week, and every single episode makes me gaffaw like a lunatic. Every episode. I *heart* Joel McHale, maybe even more than Jon Stewart.

Biggest change?

This was the year I lost my ability to believe in a better future. But then I found it again. I am so ready for the Bush years to end, and I fervently hope that Obama can lead this country back to a better place.

Biggest loss for mankind?
After this terrible year, I simply haven't the heart to try and answer.

Biggest Disappointment?
The way John McCain ran his presidential campaign. I lost a lot of the respect that I used to have for John McCain. He tried to exploit some of the worst parts of our society to gain power, and I am still angry about Sarah Palin.

Monday, December 29, 2008


It's so very strange, the things that imprint themselves on our brain and swim to the surface cued by some small event.

I was in a particularly boring meeting, doodling across my agenda. My preferred doodles are freeform swirly things, especially since I don't draw very well. For whatever reason, though, I started doodling stars in a little row all along the edge of the paper, and found my inner voice chanting "down, up, across, down, up".

As a small child, I had a lot of trouble with fine motor skills. Tying my shoelaces or folding a piece of paper in equal, even halves were insurmountable problems for me, and the adults around me didn't seem to understand that, especially since I picked up other things-- reading, composition, understanding fractions-- so much more easily than most of my classmates. I can vividly remember crying because the art teacher told me that I was folding my paper sloppily because I was lazy-- there was simply no way that someone in the gifted program could not understand her instructions, and there had better be an improvement in my attitude, or else.

By the time second grade rolled around, I was still struggling with writing. My ability to form words on paper lagged far behind all of the things that I wanted to say, and my frustration levels were rapidly getting out of control. For some reason, I became especially obsessed with my inability to draw a star.

My teacher, Mrs. Peters, picked up on this. I imagine that my body language must have been broadcasting the sheer anger over my inability to do these things that everyone else did so easily. One day, she crouched down next to my desk while we were all supposed to be practicing our cursive writing and slowly drew star after star, narrating her actions as she went: "Down, up, across, down, up". Over and over again, I tried to imitate the way her pencil glided across the green-lined paper until suddenly the words matched the motion and much to my own surprise, I produced a series of wobbly stars. I can still remember the thrill of that moment.

To this very day, every time I make a little star next to something on my to do list or, say, doodle a line of stars across some paper during a particularly boring meeting, I hear Mrs. Peters chanting "Down, up, across, down, up" in my head.


Monday, December 22, 2008

From the "That's Not Exactly News" Files

Recent headlines that made me want to find the editor and reporter and poke them both in the eye with a sharp stick:

"Poor hurt worst in struggling economy"

Really? You mean people who were already struggling, who don't have a cushion or safety net to help them weather the storm, are having more difficulty in the crap stew that eight years of failed policy has turned our economy into than people who were already financially stable and had the opportunity to build savings, or people who have enough wealth that they have "paper losses"?

"No good way to tell kids they have cancer"

Huh. You mean telling a child that they have a disease that will almost definitely require a long and unpleasant course of treatment and may kill them is a bad thing, and even if you hire a clown or buy them a special "You've Got Cancer" pony, it won't make it a good thing?

"Youthfulness is Becoming American Obsession"

Get. Out. You mean the fact that a model is considered "too old" at an age when most of us haven't even started careers yet, and the 18 - 24 year demographic is slavishly pandered to in our media and marketing isn't an aberration?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Omnivore Meme

I'm sure that I'll take some heat from Hulio for the number of times I've said that I'll never try something on this list. In general, though, you should note that those things follow a theme-- they are mostly innards. I don't do innards. Also, there are some things that I haven't tried because I have a food allergy that prevents me from trying them. Otherwise, I think I've at least tried a respectable number of these things.

As usual, bold means I've eaten it, things I would not ever eat are crossed out, and commentary is included.

1. Venison
- this is a semi-regular food in our household, thanks to my father and his hunting buddy.
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare - only a single bite, once, when Finbar ordered it for some unknown reason. I found it slimy and disgusting. Certainly not something I would try again.
5. Crocodile - I've had alligator, though.
6. Black pudding - No way, no how.
7. Cheese fondue - Eep used to have fondue parties. Those were fun. I miss that, and I also miss Eep a great deal.
8. Carp
9. Borscht - Ash made some once. He gets very mad if I pronounce it with the "t".
10. Baba ghanoush - there's a place around the corner that makes a fantastic version of this. They roast the eggplants fresh every morning and it gives it the most amazing smoky overtone.
11. Calamari - A dish which I used to hate, but tried again at Ash's urging and now I love it.
12. Pho - this is on the "foods that will kill Katze" list, so no.
13. PB&J sandwich - The only time that I will eat grape jelly is in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also like strawberry jelly with peanut butter. Everything else is sacrilege.
14. Aloo gobi - This was one of the dishes I made for the Bollywood party
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses - Given how much I love cheese, I would totally try this.
17. Black truffle - I hope to try this one day when we have some money to throw around.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - One of my host fathers made a cherry wine at home. It was very potent and very sweet.
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries - Most recently, right off of a tree in Rockville, Maryland.
23. Foie gras - I dislike the taste, texture, and idea of liver in general, so foie gras would be wasted on me
24. Rice and beans - Also on the "foods that will kill Katze" list
25. Brawn, or head cheese - yet another host father was a huge fan. I tried it to be adventurous. It made me want to vomit. He laughed at me (good naturedly), and I have never had another chance to try it. I might, if it came to that. I might not.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - I don't really do heat for the sake of heat.
27. Dulce de leche - Is it just me, or is this EVERYWHERE all of a sudden?
28. Oysters - I'm not sure if I could do this. Clams gross me out, and oysters seem to be even worse. It's a texture thing, mostly. Maybe I'd try one, just to be adventurous. Can't be worse than head cheese, right?
29. Baklava - A girl in my class in elementary school was greek, and she used to bring it in for her birthday treat everywhere. That was probably my first exposure to "ethnic" food, and you probably couldn't pick something better. So wonderfully crunchy and sweet and nutty. It's like a little slice of heaven. Even though it has now joined the "foods that will kill Katze" list.
30. Bagna cauda - Not sure if I would eat this. I'd probably try it, but anchovies are not a favorite of mine.
31. Wasabi peas - I love these, but they are hard to find without rice flour.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - No. Well, I guess I'd try it again sometime. I just can't get past the texture of clams. But I'm growing fonder and fonder of seafood tastes, so maybe...
33. Salted lassi - I'll probably try this one day. It's kind of surprising that I've never tried it yet.
34. Sauerkraut - I have loved loved loved sauerkraut since I was a little girl. We used to have sauerkraut and spareribs on New Year's Day every year, and I would look forward to it with gusto. I love several variations on sauerkraut, except for the very sweet kind. I very rarely ate this when I lived in Germany, but I eat it fairly frequently in the US.
35. Root beer float - I loved these when I was a little girl.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar - Cognac, yes. I love cognac. Fat cigar, never. Disgusting habit.
37. Clotted cream tea - Something I've wanted to try for a while now.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O - Strangely enough, I've never had a jell-o shot. I've served them, but never had one. I think I may be past that age now.
39. Gumbo - I'd totally eat this if it wouldn't kill me.
40. Oxtail - I'd try it though. In related thoughts, any time I think about eating animal tails, I think about Little House in the Big Woods, and the chapter about butchering time, when Laura and Mary get all excited about the pig's tail.
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects - I just can't get past the vermin factor.
43. Phaal - probably not on my list of things to try, as I'm not a huge fan of excess heat. I bet Ash would eat it, though.
44. Goat’s milk - Yum. The goat is a wonderful animal, indeed.
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - One day, one day...
46. Fugu - If it is ever possible to try this without the taint of rice, I would probably try this.
47. Chicken tikka masala - This is a semi-regular dish in our household. We've made it in the crockpot a couple of times, but honestly, the more often I make it, the less of a true tikka masala it becomes, since I tend to add whatever is languishing in the fridge/ freezer.
48. Eel - Another texture issue here. I'd try it in a different preparation, though. Maybe it's better as a fresh dish.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - Don't get me wrong: these are good. They are not, however, worth the hype, not even fresh off the belt. Once, I did a walkathon for the American Diabetes Association, and the major sponsor was Krispy Kreme. The irony of this was far more delicious than any donut I've ever eaten.
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone

I would absolutely try any of the previous four should the opportunity present itself.

54. Paneer
- Oh, my, do we love paneer in this house. I wish it wasn't so freaking expensive.
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal - In more than one country, sadly.
56. Spaetzle - Um, hello? Exchange student to Germany? Actually, I've only had this once in Germany. It was fan-freaking-tastic. A friend's mother made it for me just to make sure that I had it once before I went back to America. I've had this several times in the US, notably in Amish country. I love this type of thing, by the way. I would happily eat them plain.
57. Dirty gin martini - No, but I've had a dirty vodka martini. It was okay. Nothing I'd break a door down for or anything.
58. Beer above 8% ABV - Given my affinity for belgian beers, this is one I've done many a time.
59. Poutine - Once, in Niagara Falls, and never again. I don't know, I'm not a fan of mixed up food topped with gravy. I was never a kid who couldn't have foods touch any of the other foods on the plate, but I certainly could not abide the whole "mix it all up in to a big goopy pile" thing that my sister did.
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores - Also, do you know what is delicious? Caribou Coffee's Campfire Mocha.
62. Sweetbreads - I don't do innards.
63. Kaolin - Um, this isn't a food. Why is it on the list?
64. Currywurst - So bad for you, so delicious. I have to eat this at least once in the first week I'm back in Germany, every time. I ate it a LOT when I lived in Hamburg with the second host family, where the host mother was super nice and a terrible cook.
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - A fair isn't a fair if you can't get a funnel cake. I wish the people around here would get that through their heads.
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain - They serve this at the brazilian churrascaria we love (otherwise known as "Meattastic"). It is so delicious I can barely stand it. I have considered making these at home, and may yet do so.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette - Listen, Wikipedia describes andouillette like this: "The taste is an acquired one - as it is with all offal - and can be compared to strong, decaying pork sausages. The texture is somewhat rougher than sausages, as the content is roughly cut." I don't want to eat something that is described using the phrase "strong, decaying pork sausages".
71. Gazpacho - The place I waitressed at in college made this fresh, from scratch in the summer, and it was amazing. I've had it at other places, and when it's bad, it's like eating a big bowl of watery salsa. When it's good, it's like a little slice of tomato heaven.
72. Caviar and blini - yes, to both, but not at the same time.
73. Louche absinthe - I'd try it, I guess. Luneray and I had some swedish liqueur that was heavily flavored with wormwood, and it was unbelievably bitter, so I don't know that I'd rush out to try it. And I don't really need to brag to people that I've tried absinthe (not nearly goth enough, I guess).
74. Gjetost, or brunost - Yum. Super yum.
75. Roadkill - um, Hello? Diseases?
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie - I was always partial to the blueberry ones as a child.
78. Snail - I'd try it if I had the chance.
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky - And the cat likes it, too.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare - We have rabbit in the freezer right now (Thanks, Dad!), but that's not exactly the same, I guess.
87. Goulash - This was a semi-regular dish last year. In fact, we made this when we had the mormon missionaries over to dinner. I haven't made it in a long time. Maybe it will make a new appearance on our menu soon.
88. Flowers - Just last week, in fact, at a work luncheon.
89. Horse - I don't know if I ever told this story on the blog before. When I was in Sweden, and had been there less than a week, and was therefore still filling in the gaps in my vocabulary, I went grocery shopping. One thing I bought was lunchmeat. This was pre-packaged stuff, much like you might buy Oscar Meyer Bologna. On the front of the package, it said "Hamburgerkött". Okay, I thought, Hamburger Meat. It sort of looked like pastrami. So I bought it. At home, I opened up the package and made myself a little smörgås for middag. I took a bite, and immediately gagged and spit it out. My immediate thought was "What the hell part of a cow could taste so awful?". So I got the package out of the fridge and turned it over to read the fine print, thinking it would either say that it was "Cow Butt" or detail some special preparation that could account for the nastiness. And sure enough, there it was: "Häst". I double-checked it in my dictionary just to make sure that I hadn't lost my mind, and that is the story of how I ate horse meat. I am not likely to try it again.
90. Criollo chocolate -If I ever did try it, I didn't know that I had something special in my mouth. Now that I've learned about it, I'll keep my eyes open for it.
91. Spam - So very nasty. And yet every ten years or so, I decide that I need to try it again, just to make sure. I'm due in another four or five years.
92. Soft shell crab - This grosses me out for some reason, even though I'm sort of favorably neutral on crab in general. Ash really likes it, but the idea of eating all the crunchy bits freaks me out. I have texture issues, if you didn't already guess that.
93. Rose harissa - It sounds pretty good. I'd give it a try if I had the chance.
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox - Lox is another thing that I don't like, but I keep trying it because I think that this time will be different.
97. Lobster Thermidor - Lobster is something that I don't like enough to pay for, but I'd probably try this if I had the chance.
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake


Scenes From a Stop Light

Ash and I were out Christmas shopping this afternoon. Actually, in an act reflecting the exact level of procrastination we have reached in our household, we went out to do all of our Christmas shopping. When you shop on the busiest day of the Christmas shopping season, you have to expect and accept a certain level of insanity. I did not, however, expect to see this little vignette unfold in front of my eyes.

We were waiting at a red light, directly behind one of those small pickup trucks that sit pretty low to the road. A couple was riding in the truck, and the man had a long, wild, Fabio-type 'do that had already caught my eye, but before I could comment on it to Ash, the woman reached over, took hold of the back of the man's shirt and started pulling it off. He ducked his head, did a little wiggle, and suddenly, we were facing his freckled, hairy, bare back.

Pandemonium broke out in our car.

The woman reached over and handed the man another shirt, which he ducked into, pulling the huge mane of hair out and fluffing it up. Then he casually leaned his hand over the top of the steering wheel, as though nothing whatsoever out of the ordinary had happened.

Best. Bathroom. Graffiti. Ever

In a local italian restaurant/ bar, the ladies room is wallpapered in a red-checked pattern reminiscent of those red-checked tablecloths you think of when you think "local italian restaurant". All along the white lines inside the stall, young ladies have scrawled the usual nonsense: "Emily + Sarah BFF!" "Mandy loves Steve Oct 2006"

Down in the lower right hand corner, a large blue script announced "Samantha loves Tim 4-eva". Directly below it was a small arrow pointing to an addendum in a different, smaller blue script: "yeah, until you realize that you're headed to two different places and can't keep up the long distance thing"

Monday, December 15, 2008

You Do Know Other People Can Hear You, Right?

At the grocery store tonight, a woman who appeared to be in her mid-twenties passed by me, engrossed in a conversation on her cell phone. She did not appear particularly upset-- no tears or anything-- so it was deliciously incongruous when the words coming out of her mouth as she drew even with me were "Do you think I would have been together with you if I didn't care about you?", said in the most indignant, pained tone. Then, just as she turned to go down the next aisle over, she belched into the phone, loud and long.

Nothing says true love like a cell phone conversation in the grocery store and a violent attack of gastric gases!

I so wish I had been able to hear the other end of the conversation.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Too Tired to Think of a Title

I stole this from Luneray, because it sparked my interest and was kind of fun to answer. If you like it, take it. Have you noticed that no one tags anyone for memes anymore? Tagging is so 2004.

. Magazines Subscribed To
: Real Simple and Self. I used to subscribe to Time and Newsweek, but they have gotten so utterly insubstantial that I can read them cover to cover in 45 minutes. I want a little more for my money, you know? I really miss the big, hefty news magazines in Germany, so I looked into getting a subscription to Der Spiegel, or even Focus. Dear God, that's expensive! I guess I'll stick to reading the news online.

2. Aside from knitting, my favorite pastimes are: reading, writing, and well, I'm out of free time now. I'd also like to get back into some sort of lessons. Ash and I have been talking about taking dancing lessons together, and I've really got to start practicing my Swedish again before I lose it.

3. If I were not a _____________(insert your own profession here), I'd be: OK, is this like a , not-qualified-in-real-life-but-I-think-it-sounds-fascinating kind of thing? Because I think it would be really interesting to be one of the people who works in the "back rooms" of a museum, learning about and caring for the objects in the collection. Or else a person who restores very old or damaged objects/ artwork.

If it has to be a potentially realistic profession, I have often considered going back to get a degree in library science so that I can be a librarian. I think it is unrealistic to consider taking on any more student loans, so that's probably not much more realistic than the museum thing.

4. I am irrationally worried about: Nothing, really. I am worried about several things that are very rational to be worried about: our finances, whether I'll be able to have a baby, my parents ability to retire, my own ability to retire, the state of the economy...

5. If I were the opposite sex: I would be thrilled to be free of the horrible mood swings that I can't seem to control and I would enjoy the sensation of being able to walk around at night with out fear. I would miss being allowed to show vulnerability in public.

6. The thing I miss most about childhood is: the fact that I didn't believe that there were any limitations to what I could achieve, or do, or experience. But to be honest, I don't really miss childhood, and I certainly don't miss high school. Life gets better all the time, even though I also have to admit that things aren't always easy.

7. I like to collect: books. I hate to get rid of them and love being able to walk over to my shelf and pull a comfortable old friend down any time I want to. Ash and I have sold well over a hundred books to Half Price Books since moving in together, and yet we still have four bookcases stuffed to overflowing and could probably really use a fifth.

8. Though I've never been there, I feel inexplicably homesick for: South Korea, because that's where my lovely Dami is.

9. I've never really liked to eat: Beans. I want to like them because they are nutritious and cheap. I keep trying to like them, but at least 90% of the time I just can't stand them. There's just something about the mouth feel that grosses me out. At the place I waitressed at right after law school, they served foole m'damas, and the look and smell of it was enough to make me feel ill.

10. When I have nightmares, they are usually about: When I was in law school, I had a recurring nightmare that my teeth were crumbling and falling out of my head. I had this dream several times a week through all three years and right up until I passed the bar exam. I haven't had the dream even once since then. In college, my recurring nightmare was that I was being chased and couldn't run away. (Eventually, I developed this thing where I would say to myself in my dream "Hey, this must be a dream. And since it's a dream, you can fly away." Then my dream self would push off from the ground and fly like I was swimming though the air until I woke up.) Now, my recurring nightmare is that I'm being chased, but instead of being stuck in place, I am running away and managing to stay one step ahead of the people that are trying to get to me. It doesn't really take an expert on dream analysis to see the meaning in how those dreams have changed over the years. Another big difference is that I used to have extremely frightening nightmares that were unbelievably vivid. I would wake up and be terrified to fall back asleep, lest the dream start back up again. Today, when I have nightmares, they are usually filled with a vague feeling of dread or worry, but they are very seldom as vivid or as frightening. They are also much more... crazy. For example, I recently dreamed that Molly Ringwald was trying to catch me so that she could kill me. Why, why, why would I dream about Molly Ringwald to begin with, and why would she be trying to kill me?


Thursday, December 04, 2008

How You Can Tell I've Been Really Sick

I did not drink any coffee for two whole days because I could not muster up the energy to make it, nor could I stay awake long enough to drink it.

This is a monster cold. It knocked me out flat for two days. Today, on day five, I am technically awake all day, but I still feel awful. Last night, the crap moved into my chest, which, on the plus side relieved some of the almost unbearable pressure in my head, but on the negative side is making me hack like a tuberculosis patient. Even NyQuil didn't keep me asleep last night. I've dragged myself into work for the past two days because I'm almost out of time off for the year (so much for the week that I carefully saved to carry over to next year in the hopes that Ash and I could take a little vacation together), but I'm so unproductive -- in fact, I'm probably destructive, given some of the mistakes I've probably made-- that it's almost like I didn't come in.

These have not been a kind couple of weeks for my health.