Kitchen Antics

I hadn’t wanted to get the chalkboard labels, because I wanted something permanent, but I couldn’t find anything suitable, so I got them plus chalkboard ink, which is at least somewhat permanent. And then I wrote verrrry carrrrrefully:

labels

Tip: Use them right away, or put them on your containers first and then write, because if they dry and then you buckle the paper, you get a shower of white, as if you had a shower of royal icing bits.

Partway through my organizational foray:

labelsinprogress

I know it looks like all I do is store sugar, but these were in easy-to-label containers and are also the ones most likely to look like each other at a glance.

I’ve been using a lot of that bakers’ dry milk, too; the white thing to the far left is my little Mini-Zojirushi breadmaker. I’m torn on it, actually. I wanted something small just for the sake of small. My pantry, while I love having one, is not huge, and it’s pretty full. I’m trying to declutter my counters, so I didn’t want one that was so big I’d just want to leave it out. This one fits the bill and makes yummy bread. However, the 1-lb loaves are tiny. I could eat one in a sitting, and I think most people probably could. So when I think of it I make two loaves back to back.

I do still feel a little guilty using it at all, though, considering I have a KitchenAid and I can and have made bread by hand. Rocket science it is not.

In other culinary news, I just replaced my microwave with a combo microwave/convection oven, which was the most economic option for getting a second oven. LOVE IT. I have just taken this recipe out of it. They are cooling now:

fruitandnutbars

They smell awesome and I hope they come out of that pan in reasonable shape and taste as good as they are promising to. I’m really trying to have relatively healthy, tasty snacks for work. Gotta get through those days somehow.

And in a bit I’m going to give this casserole a go. It’s a thekitchn sort of weekend apparently.

In the annals of things I am grateful for, in the midst of this, I must say: MY DISHWASHER. It really makes cooking and baking more fun. For these bars I’m glad I recently got a set of lightweight stainless mixing bowls, because I used the second largest and it was easy to manuever when I had to pout hot honey/sugar/butter into fruit, nuts, and cereal — and since my dishwasher was already packed I washed it by hand without wanting to stab myself in the eye with a spork.

I mean, usually I’ll do anything to get out of washing dishes. Though perhaps not really the spork thing.

Thank God for the three-day weekend! We have another next month, and then a Tuesday off mid-Nov, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year, then MLK, then President’s Day…and then we enter the long dearth of days off til Memorial Day. Counting, moi? Just like I have no idea it’s 15 years, 7 months, and 19 days til I retire, either. 😉

Advertisements

Lukewarm

Although I’ve thrown my hands up about the whole religion issue, there are several Bible verses that stick with me. One of them I use when I am borrowing trouble and worrying about what will happen tomorrow and the next day and the next. One is the second half of Matthew 6:34 in the KJV rendering: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

And then there’s Revelation 3:15-16: I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

I feel so lukewarm. And by that I don’t mean that I am apathetic (although lately I’ve been having spates of apathy). I mean that in so many ways I have completely competing desires, and I find myself flailing in the middle.

  • Ethically, I would far prefer to be a vegetarian. But I don’t find a vegetarian diet satisfying; it’s much harder to plan meals; and then there’s chicken, which I love love love. My wishy-washy solution to this is to eat only chicken and, very rarely, some fish. The fact that I don’t eat mammals (or ducks) is probably not a lot of comfort to chickenkind.
  • About that not eating mammals. I do wear/carry leather. I guess at least the animals’ sacrifices are much more long-lasting than a meal, but OTOH, do I need to have a leather purse? Shoes are harder — you can’t find many comfy, breathable, decent-looking non-leather shoes in 10WW. Still.
  • I wish with my whole heart I’d been born and raised in Europe — the UK or France for preference, but anywhere in the EU really.  I can’t read accounts of people who get to move there (unless this is pre-WWII stuff), because it breaks my heart in pieces. I tried to move once and failed miserably and I became discouraged. That was 24 years ago. Now I am firmly ensconced here, with a secure job and a house and animals, and if someone handed me an EU passport tomorrow I would be paralyzed with fear and might not even go. This is my biggest “I want two mutually exclusive things” issue.
  • For a long time, that’s where I was with religion — part of me wanted to be a pious Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian, while the rest of me was an extremely liberal feminist. At least I’ve finally given up that struggle.
  • I struggle between believing in Fat Acceptance and saying, “I’m me; get off my back” and applauding people who embrace their lives and bodies…and wishing I weighed 130 pounds. The last time I weighed 130 pounds I was ten. It’s never going to happen.

Of course I have normal conflicts like “I wish I were a morning person so I could get up, have coffee and breakfast before I leave instead of rolling out of bed 12 minutes before I’m in the car,” “I really should get up off the couch, off the computer, and do something around here,” and “I should go to the farmer’s market and get locally grown, cheaper stuff, but the time window for that is so small and the grocery store is open until 11 PM.” But that’s not the same thing, because I don’t really want to get up early, do chores around the house, or…well, maybe the farmer’s market one works.

I’m really not sure what to do when I want two completely mutually exclusive things, especially when both choices are equally attainable. With the Europe thing, I should probably just learn to live with staying in the United States, since one choice is my current reality and the other is seriously difficult to get (even if I could get over my paralysis).

Somehow I think I thought by the time I was this age I’d have more things figured out. My bedroom seems like an apt metaphor for this — when I was growing up, parents’ bedrooms looked like something out of a hotel or, at least, a motel. Neatly made bed, a dresser or two, nothing strewn about, only actual tasteful framed stuff on the walls. My room? I never make my bed, ever — never have. My dresser has random stuff dotting it. My nightstand is piled with books, and the floor next to my bed has more books, whatever purse I’m carrying, and a laundry basket on it. Often the rocker has clothes tossed over it. I do have only framed art on the walls, but one corner has no art on the walls, a big mirror propped against the wall, a chair, a foot pedaler, and a big floor fan. It looks like the room of a twentysomething.

Yeah. It’s an apt metaphor. Now if only I moved and looked like I was still in my twenties!

 

Giving Up, Parts One and Two

Part One

When I was around eight, I kept bugging my mother to take me to church. Something was driving me. I wanted to go so badly. My mother was a (lapsed) (Northern) Baptist and my father was a (lapsed) Catholic. Since I was closer to my mother, and she was less lapsed than my dad, eventually I started going to the Baptist church.

My Baptist upbringing was not at all like what most people describe as a Baptist upbringing. Although our church didn’t allow alcohol on the premises, my mother and many of her church friends drank elsewhere. Our pastor once described being served sherry at a little old lady’s home and rather than offend her, he drank it, even though he himself was a teetotaler. Dancing was fine. No hellfire-and-brimstone sermons were ever preached in our church.

As a kid, I took for granted that God existed and, like many other things from childhood, things seemed simple on that front. On the other hand, for various reasons I kept becoming convinced I was bound for hell. So that was fun…sort of.

My mother had gone to the same church as a teenager and a lot of the adults were her friends from that era; a lot of the kids went to school with me. It’s one of the few places in life I’ve actually felt comfortable and part of a group, for the most part. I sang in the adult choir even though I was still a kid, because I was advanced for my age and a good solid second soprano. For several years, the pastor’s daughter was my best friend — until she became pretty and popular and I, not so much. Then her father left the ministry and so that edgy dynamic disappeared.

Throughout my childhood, though, I was wistful that it hadn’t been my dad taking me to church. I was absolutely fascinated by the world of my Catholic friends — rosary beads, nuns, statues, missals, crucifixes, Fathers.  I appropriated a 1960s St. Josephs Missal that my dad had, which had belonged to one his aunts. (I still have it. Such illustrations!) I read and re-read The Song of Bernadette when I was around nine, amazed that there were actual photographs of saints — and I did consider all the saints to be saints, somehow, even if I was totally unclear on the concept of what “praying to the saints” meant. I had the usual Protestant misconception about that. I always knew I didn’t want to get married in our blond-wood sanctuary with grey vinyl padded pews, frosted glass windows, and one lone, unadorned cross over the baptismal font in the back of what we called an altar, although there was no actual altar there. I figured I probably would, though, if I ever did get married.

And then I went to college. A Catholic college, actually. For the first time I was taught by nuns — though none of them wore habits — and it was there that I totally lost my faith. I had never considered all the obvious questions about creation, other faiths, contradictions…things that cause some people to lose their faith and things that people who keep it need to grapple with. I also discovered politics, and in the volatile mid-to-late 80s that was often about the right to choose and feminism in general.

That left me in an emotional whirlpool. If there was no God, then there was nothing after death, and my lifelong terror of death was justified, because it meant I would cease to exist, and that also rendered life meaningless to me, since no matter what I or anyone did, we would just be extinguished when we died. On the other hand, those conservative Christians were absolutely wacko  … so … (My apologies to any conservative Christians who may read this, although I doubt any conservative Christians will.)

I made one last-ditch effort to save my belief by taking to the chaplain and deciding to become Catholic. When he told me how you had to go through RCIA and then be presented to the bishop — a process totally foreign to non-liturgical-Protestant me — I fled from that. And into total unbelief, and anger at the people who believed and were using that belief to keep the United States back, even as I mourned not having faith in an afterlife.

And I stayed in this conflict whirlpool until I was around 28.

I was on a plane to Alaska reading about the Romanovs. There was quite a lot about the Russian Orthodox Church, and I knew Alaska was a bastion of Russian Orthodoxy, but while visiting my then-boyfriend there wasn’t really a chance to find one, especially as he lived in a semi-rural community and this was just before the Internet was a part of everyone’s phone.

I came home, did some research to assuage my curiosity, and found that, yes indeed, they mean it when they say Orthodox. What was a pro-choice feminist thinking? (Oh, but the Liturgy!)

During my research, I felt myself drawn to the Episcopal Church. Anglican! Liturgical! Not (for the most part) right-wing! I wondered why I was so interested in religion all of a sudden — to soothe my fear of death? Give life meaning? Give me back the ritual I hadn’t had since I aged out of Rainbow? Or was it actually the promptings of spirit?

From 1996 until 2012, and then with one more last hurrah in 2013, I tried like anything to believe. I joined the Episcopal Church in 1996 and was married in a Very Very High Church wedding in a beautiful Episcopal church in Berkeley in 1997. (We had a female priest, but we had incense and stupendous music and the Eucharist.)  In 2002, as that marriage was exploding all around my head, I joined the Catholic Church — RCIA and all. (In a not-beautiful parish that wouldn’t know High Churchery if it hit it in the head, but it was dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes and the people were lovely.)

I eventually ended up in a very conservative parish where I wore a mantilla and where they didn’t sing any of the really ridiculous Oregon Catholic Press/David Haas music; offered confession in actual kneeling, anonymous confessionals before every Mass; and actually had the Latin Mass before Pope Benedict made it more easily accessible. I was trying desperately, by clinging to things — my missal, Latin, my mantilla, my rosary, my Divine Mercy chaplet, everything — to force myself to believe. I even looked into Orthodoxy again — I actually agree with them about things like the filioque and some other issues to do with soteriology, if you take the fundamental premises of Christianity as given.

I left that parish the day the priest compared Obama to Hitler. You’ve just Godwinned me out of God, I thought. I had pushed aside all of my philosophical difficulties, simply not thinking about them — because really, my social and political beliefs were simply not reconcilable — but that was too much. The fact that they thought Masons were evil plotters, when as a Rainbow Girl I’d been surrounded by hundreds of benign Masons who couldn’t plot their way out of a paper bag? Oh well. The fact that they thought yoga as practiced in American yoga studios was malevolent and spiritual-but-not-in-a-good-way, when I’d taken yoga classes, knew that wasn’t true, and also knew that just about every person I knew who did yoga was pretty unspiritual? OK, whatever. Praying for the “pro-life” cause every week? Sigh, yes, I knew this was what I was signing up for being Catholic. The edict against any sex outside of marriage and even civil unions for gay folks? Ditto. But the Hitler comparison was just the last straw.

I went back to the Episcopal Church, but I felt half-hearted about it. I wanted to want it, I wanted to believe, I wanted to have an anchor and some hope, but last year I could no longer keep trying.

I just don’t believe in the core Christian teachings.

I want to.

I wish I did.

I wish that I did and that there was a way to reconcile what I know and believe about life with having faith, but I don’t and I can’t.

Still fascinated by religion, I read a lot about people of faith, and essays and memoirs by them. I miss liturgy — structure and ritual — and I miss the practice of study that having scriptures invites. (I know, I should just join Eastern Star now that they admit Majority Rainbow Girls who aren’t related to Masons and get my ritual fix, and go back to school for the study. Actually and unfortunately, I wouldn’t fit in with the Eastern Star women anymore either, alas. I would love, love, love to go to graduate school, but that’s a whole other issue to tangle with.)

It does feel good, though, to give up. The struggle and tension between things I knew to be true (and things I suspected to be true) and things I was willing myself to believe were true was painful and exhausting, and letting it snap and fly away was like taking off too-tight shoes after a long day of walking.

I don’t consider myself an atheist, but an agnostic. I don’t think the Christian story is true, but I am not discounting that a) I could be wrong or b) there may indeed be a God, or something we might as well call God. And in all honesty, I hope there is, because simply ceasing to exist at the moment of death is, to me, even worse than the thought of being fundamentally alone in the universe while I’m alive.

In some ways I feel like I wasted nearly twenty years trying to force myself into a mold I cannot fit in. But there’s no point in ruefulness. It was interesting, if nothing else. And maybe someday I will find something I believe and a niche into which I can fit. We shall see.

Part Two

Has nothing to do with religion and is considerably shorter!

My job. Oh God, my job. For three years I loved it, and then a rotation happened and they sent me out to talk to strangers all day, right? And honestly, it’s been pretty awful. There are days that are okay, and individual interactions that are nice, but overall, I’m tired and miserable and I am counting the days until I get rotated back.

If only I knew when that was…I have joked (okay, “joked”) that at least when you go to prison they tell you how long your sentence is. If I knew when my blessed release from this assignment was coming I could count down the days. I do at least know every day is one day closer to whenever that is. It’s been six months. Six months of my indeterminate sentence completed.

A day came several months ago where everything came to a head. Not going into details, but I knew that if I didn’t think of a solution, I was going to either get fired (not an easy thing to do with my employer, thankfully) or come home and do something rash.

In the end, I combined two approaches. One was suggested by a friend who hates/is as bad at customer service as I do/am: When she had to do this sort of thing, she pretended she was playing a role. It was a movie or a play, and she was simply playing the part of The Employee. To the extent that this doesn’t work, I…simply don’t care anymore. My mantra is “OK. Whatever.” A member gets mad or agitated? OK, whatever. Someone yells at me? OK, whatever. I get asked to do something I, with every fiber of my being, don’t want to do? OK, whatever. Nothing matters. Whatever. I’ll just do it, accept it, take it, because it doesn’t matter — whatever comes next is bound to be unpleasant, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

I do my best and don’t generally screw much up, but I have ceased to care what happens. I don’t even cringe away from all the things I have to do that I am so bad at — the talking to strangers all day, the endless patience I have to project when I am the least patient person on the planet. I liken it to the way when drunk drivers get in accidents, they’re not the ones who get hurt because they’re all floppy and relaxed. I am floppy and relaxed in the face of this rotation, in the face of all the strangers I have to deal with, in the face of all the  terrifying stuff they ask me to do.

I also take a lot of anti-anxiety meds,  but without Playacting and Not Caring, it wouldn’t be enough.

And it feels so much better. I’m still exhausted at the end of every day, but less so — I don’t have to go to bed at 7:30 PM anymore. I still get depressed and full of dread on Sunday nights, but I apply Oh Well Whatever and it eases a bit. I still will go buy a bottle of real Champagne and drink it all myself when I finally get rotated back into the back, but I think I can survive until then. Floppy. Relaxed.

As the old Ashleigh Brilliant postcard says: “I feel much better now that I’ve given up hope.”

Sounds very dreary, but I think of it more as just backfloating down the river of this assignment, not fighting the current, and waiting for it to be over.

So two struggles let go. I wonder if this will give me more emotional energy for other things!

 

 

 

Get Your Pre-Monday Right Here

Ye gods and little fishes, it’s Sunday night again.

My current job assignment has sent me to the doctor twice in four months for stress-and-anxiety-related stuff. Tomorrow I have to go for something else, and I am so miserable with work that there is an awful voice inside half-wishing it were something serious because then I might get a break. How terrible is that?!

I am looking for ways to have some energy in the evenings, so that I don’t end up in bed at 7:45 after being gone from 6:15 to 6:15. So far I’ve come up with: Have a cool shower as soon as I’ve fed the cats, to invigorate me and help me stay vertical; have a cup of espresso; do some gentle yoga. I know exercise is supposed to be good but the walking I have recently incorporated into my days has actually made me more exhausted at night (I know that’s just short-term adjustment). Having said that, when I go abroad I walk everywhere and it wears me out, so I need to do more of it here in order to be in some semblance of shape then!

Still…this is one hellish rotation for this here introvert with general anxiety!

Today has been a day of knitting, reading, a lot of black coffee, and The Day I Saw Your Heart. Is it just me, or does Mélanie Laurent look like a cross between Scarlett Johanssen and a young Rosanna Arquette? It was a good movie, and I caught quite a bit of the language, which makes me happy, but a bit wrenching as well. Nonetheless it was good to spend ninety minutes in France this afternoon.
And now I think I am going to be a totally irresponsible person and get fast food for dinner. If I were in France I might go to the local brasserie — like the one at Place de la Nation where I had my last lunch in Paris in 2012, the yummy Alsatian butter noodles and chicken — but since I’m not, and since I have not got cooking mojo today, I’m defaulting to lowest common denominator here.

Gorgeous Sunday (Sorry, rest-of-America)

While most of the country is freezing and/or buried under snow, today was a lovely day in the Bay Area. A friend and I ventured to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco for the Anders Zorn exhibit, with a small Matisse show from the SFMOMA thrown in as a surprise.

After the Legion, we went to Baker Beach for a little while to enjoy the view and sunshine. It was the sort of day that I could have actually sunbathed, were I the sunbathing (and not the burning-just-thinking-of-the-sun) sort. Have some pictures! (Click to embiggen. They look a little washed-out in their smaller forms.)

The entrance to the Legion of Honor. A little taste of France for me.

The entrance to the Legion of Honor. A little taste of France for me.

Archway into the entrance courtyard at the Legion.

Archway into the entrance courtyard at the Legion.

Outside the courtyard, to the right.

Outside the courtyard, to the right.

Moving a bit to the left, you can see all the way over the City to the East Bay.

Moving a bit to the left, you can see all the way over the City to the East Bay.

To the left, the other lawn and the entrance to the Bay.

To the left, the other lawn and the entrance to the Bay.

Baker Beach, looking oceanward.

Baker Beach, looking oceanward.

Surf and frolicking people at the beach.

Surf and frolicking people at the beach.

The money shot.

The money shot.

Got home rather early, and spent the rest of the day knitting and reading. Back to work tomorrow… a full, holiday-less week that is going to be busy and not fun and all that, but hopefully I can whip up another weekend like this soon.

Caturday

Yesterday was a lovely, perfect day. I woke up amazingly early for me — 8.45 — and spent the day reading (I finished Autoportrait, about which more another time), putting Post-Its in my new Christmas-gift cookbooks (What Katie Ate, Smitten Kitchen, and Homemade Winter), knitting, blocking finished knitting, watching a little tv, drinking tea, and watching my housemates be this relaxed:

 

comfy alexander

I also had some assistance with the blocking:

 

feline blocking assistance

It was pretty much my ideal day.

Almost Ready

Every year I get one brother-in-law a bottle of Crown Royal as his Christmas gift. It’s easy; I can get it at the grocery store any time. And yet it’s the last present I bought, today. Why did I let something so simple hang over my head?

In a few hours I will go to my friend C’s place for Christmas tea and gift exchange, and then we will go over to the Oakland Zoo for their Zoo Lights. Since I live in between her house and the zoo, I’ll drive and her husband will later come fetch her here. My house is not exactly presentable, but it will have to do. Coming home from work and being so tired all I do is have a sandwich and go to bed isn’t conducive to a lot of tidying up. Nothing is particularly dirty, just a bit of a mess. Alas.

I am also being stalked by a Shoe Demon. Several pairs of shoes have suddenly decided to develop holes or suddenly not fit. And I ordered a pair from Zappos I need to send back. My feet have always been wide but they seem to be in cahoots with the Shoe Demon and are becoming even wider over the instep, while remaining narrow at the heel. Damnit to hell.

Seriously, I don’t want to be one of those women who wear sneakers with everything. Or clunky orthopedic-esque shoes. In the spring and summer, sandals work. But if I want a closed-toe shoe I’m challenged. Feh.

Work has been… all right. No one has yelled at me yet, although I’ve had a couple of weird interactions. But so far, no one has driven me to tears. Watch this space. On the other hand, the exhaustion factor of being onstage all day sometimes means I’m in bed, lights out before nine pm. For someone who is a) not in grade school and b) a night person who is most happy after the sun has gone down, this is, shall we say, a bummer. Slowly, though, the nine pm nights are getting spaced out a bit. Monday nights are the worst, because it’s hard for me to go to bed super-early on Sunday, so by 5 pm Monday I am shattered.

And we only get one day off for Christmas. One of the few things I miss about my last job was having Christmas Eve off. Oh, for the lovely two weeks we had in grade/middle/high school and the month off during college!

Alas.

Some coffee and reading now. Thank God for Saturdays.

Panic Hangover

This last week was a roller coaster — started in Member Services, where I love my cozy, surrounded-on-three-sides cubicle and my coworkers are lovely, but I’m still terrified; then went to hear David Sedaris read in Marin (he was hilarious and touching); had a blissfully lazy Thursday off; back to work Friday where I sort of froze and didn’t do so well; got an affectionate text from someone I once sort of dated, meant for whomever he’s dating now, which was awkward; screwed up a lace scarf three times before I realized I just wasn’t ever going to enjoy this pattern; and then spent Saturday trying to catch up on NaNoWriMo.

This was problematic. I had chosen for my November writing a quasi-autobiographical thing, because I thought it would be the easiest to zoom through in thirty days. No research or anything. While that is true, I am also disliking the narrator (hi! that would be me!) and finding reliving some unpleasant things (yay! divorce!) kind of harrowing.

On top of that, I’ve been writing in the dining room, when I normally spend more time in my room or in the TV room, and so I am near the cats’ water dish. I don’t know if my older cat is drinking more than usual or if I just never knew how much either of them drank because I was rarely in here. Coupled with reading on another blog about the death of a much-beloved old cat, and the depression engendered by my NaNoWriMo project, I spent last night following my cat around and actually catnapping her and making her come upstairs to sleep with me. She’s fine, really, she’s just 11.

But I lay in bed last night with my heart pounding and my stomach aflutter with worried butterflies. And today I have a hangover from it.

And it’s Sunday, which is its own day of anxiety and dread. GOOD TIMES.

I’ve been making a concerted effort to read happier things online, to avoid all but the most important news, to surround myself with uplifting things, because between work and my natural tendency toward depression and anxiety, I certainly don’t need any help being downcast.

It works, to a certain extent. Any suggestions for fun, bright, intelligent reading material or other entertainment welcome.

Lighting Advent candles soon should help too. i just bought these gorgeous handrolled beeswax candles:

 

You can buy the sheets to roll them yourself, if you're the handy sort.

You can buy the sheets to roll them yourself, if you’re the handy sort.

Now I’m off to have coffee with the same ex-sort-of-boyfriend who mis-texted me the other day. At least there’s a latte in my future, no?

Tomorrow, back to work, where I am going to try to steel myself and do better. At least I get to be ensconced in this cozy corner:

No one can pop up behind me and startle me anymore.

No one can pop up behind me and startle me anymore.

And, as always, I start the day by getting there early and making a strong cup of coffee. Whatever bribery works, eh?

Living Life on the Edge

Many years ago, when I was a bride, my beloved was making hamburgers for us to eat while watching baseball. I got out my brand-new mandoline to make french fries.

The guard slipped on the sticky moist potato and my right thumb came sliding down onto the blade. It didn’t actually hurt, but it bled like a fountain. I sat with it above my heart, wrapped in a towel, while we ate just the burgers and watched the game. No dice. Off to the ER…which was packed on a Saturday night in Berkeley. We decamped to the small hospital in my hometown, where they stopped it with magic gauze, and then a sadistic doctor who looked like she could have been in a movie about the USSR scrubbed at it with gauze dipped in disinfectant, which was the single most painful thing I’ve ever had happen to me. There may have been a very loud obscenity shouted. Then — then! — they gave me Novocaine.

In the end, no stitches, and I have no scar or loss of feeling; it really just made a flap of skin and took some of the tip of my nail. But my husband made me sell the mandoline on eBay.

Bwahahahaha!

Bwahahahaha!

So I’ve been divorced nine years this month and damnit, it’s time to have a mandoline again. (I was thinking this while slicing the radishes for the tartines the other week.) I did get a safety glove, and the guard on this one is much better than the one I had circa 1999. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m excited just to have one again.

Square Peg

…which is always the first thing I think of when I think of Sarah Jessica Parker.

And it doesn’t exactly describe me, but I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing lately. I remember as a teenager reading magazines and I’d stress over them trying to pigeonhole their readership into things like athletic (no); studious (yes); romantic (sure); and various other slots. I never fit into any of them and it drove me nuts. I was insufficiently sophisticated to say screw it, these don’t apply to me.

That kind of thing segued into my “almost, but not quite” era. I went to a great women’s college — but unlike almost every other student there at the time, I didn’t live on campus. Unlike almost all the other commuting students, I lived with my parents.

Later I worked in Silicon Valley during the dot-com bubble — but I was paid less than anyone save the receptionist (maybe); I was certainly not buying houses or sports cars, and though I was married at the time, I was not honeymooning in Italy or sporting a big ring. Boy, did I not fit in there. (When we did buy a car — the cheapest model Corolla — people asked me “What does your husband drive?” Uh…the cheapest model Corolla. That Corolla.)

These days, it’s morphed again. I think about how my pretty traditional theological views clash with my very liberal politics; my deep-rootedness in the United States clashes with my visceral, painfully passionate desire to live in France, Belgium, or the UK; my loneliness clashes with my love of solitude; my firebrand feminism with my longing to be housewife.

To turn some of this tension to good account, I’m using this theme for my NaNoWriMo project. While I wish I could just freaking wholeheartedly commit to something already, I know I’m not the only one who is ambivalent about things, even important things. It’s at least something that gets under my skin, so I won’t be at a total loss on November 1. Which is Friday. Oy!