To Do before 12/19

It's the lead-up to going home for Christmas and the Wedding! Crunch time to-do list (in no particular order):
  1. Get on top of grading a little bit
  2. Read for meeting on Wednesday
  3. Pull together Wedding accessories
  4. Get together Christmas presents
  5. Finish shopping for Christmas presents
  6. Underwear shopping
  7. Return stuff to Gap
  8. Pack: don't forget DF's shirt and tie, cameras, batteries, wedding accessories
  9. Fill out paperwork at the Core office (12/15)
  10. Pay bills/rent
  11. Buy Guest Book


Faux toes

Fig. 1. This is Lucy on a travel day. She was having a problem with static electricity.

Fig. 2. Dan and Lucy in Chicago O'Hare Airport.

Fig. 3. Dan and I had our fourth anniversary. I made curry and blood orange martinis. Lucy wanted in on it.

Fig. 4. The African violet in my office finally bloomed again.

R.I.P. Bettie Page

I have a real soft spot for Bettie Page, and she died yesterday. I also love that she was not only a massive, gorgeous sex object, but also articulate and charming. She said, "I want to be remembered as I was when I was young and in my golden times. . . . I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people's perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form."


Thinking about Drinking

It's always a bit puzzling to me that I have such a hard time defining something that I so clearly identify as, but an article on New York Magazine .com and a response on Jezebel made me stop and think about what constitutes a Feminist in a pretty remarkable way today. I'm by no means close to an answer myself, but the following really bothered me. A few choice quotes from "Should Gender Equality Extend to Drinking."
"My point here is that the closing of the gender gap isn’t about men—needing to compete with men or wanting to feel like men. It’s about women going after the things they want and feeling that alcohol, variously, can help them. If men come into the picture at all, it’s only because what women sometimes want is sex, the final frontier of gender equality..."
This quote sounds a little unrealistic when read side-by-side with the next one, about the author's friend Kate, who works in the hyper-masculine investment banking fast-track:
Going out with them meant drinking, usually heavy drinking, which suited Kate’s mind-set at the time. “I felt like I deserved it,” she says. “I realized I can work crazy hours, I can work just like anyone else, so I can party just like anyone else.” Soon she had an agenda: If she could finish her work by 2 a.m., she would grab a guy from the office—“I had no girlfriends, it’s such a male- dominated industry”—and they’d hurry to a bar, order a few rounds of shots, and try to catch up with the people who were already drunk. “I drank almost every day,” she says. “But I thought it was normal because I was always going out, and when you’re out, everyone else is drinking.”
The part of this that bothers me is the "I had no girlfriends" and the fact that she felt like she had to go out [drinking] with "the guys" to be accepted and get ahead in her career of choice. No, none of that is explicitly stated in the article, but yes, that is the (not very hidden) subtext of this particular drinking anecdote. I think PilgrimSoul put it best in her response (on Jezebel.com) to this passage:

Also maybe ambitious young women drink more because the frontiers for ambitious young women are pretty depressing. You all know me as a bit hardcore now, but before I ended up in the "high-end" job I'm in now I thought workplace sexism was something of a myth. I thought, hey, I will never find myself in discussions where superiors are joking about prostitutes or making awkward and ill-timed remarks about what I'm wearing or people at my same level are telling me to answer the fucking phone for them because clearly by virtue of my possession of ovaries I want nothing more than to be their assistant. I never though that I would be convinced, as I am now, that, "I will always be the bitch in the corner who doesn't find your hall-soccer-playing, chest-beating masculinity impressive or something to emulate." I thought, I will never see an acquaintance hired and fired by a person who claims to care about gender equality while simultaneously justifying said firing by way of the phrase, "I tried to tame a mustang." About all of this I was, however, wrong.

So I'm not really going to fault ambitious young women for drinking, nosiree, I am not.

And then there's this one:
For the bulk of history, women have skewed toward the teetotaler end of the spectrum; not until the middle of the last century did a burgeoning relationship with alcohol coincide with Second Wave feminism and a general impulse to close the gender gap across the board. “As women ‘immigrated’ into the culture that was once unique to men,” says Grucza, “they picked up a lot of the same mores and attitudes and behaviors and ideas about what is socially acceptable that men had previously held. We call this acculturation—people adopt the drinking attitude and behaviors of the dominant culture.” Which explains why researchers have found that women in the demographic closest to being dominant (young, white, middle-class, educated) are leading the charge in terms of increased alcohol consumption. The trend is so pronounced that in Britain, home to the Bridget Joneses of the world, public-health officials launched an ad campaign picturing a grizzled man in drag (or a very mannish woman) with the caption: “If you drink like a man, you might end up looking like one.” But no public-service announcement is likely to turn back this tide, especially among the very young.
This, too, seems to undercut the notion that the increase in women's drinking is not about men. The quote about acculturation also underlines the assumption (apparently un-challenged) that male culture is still the dominant culture. The other thing that bothers me about this article in general is the comparison of women drinking more (as much as men) to any of the other feminist-driven gender-gap-closing projects of the past. i.e. "I want the right to vote" is roughly equivalent to "Another scotch, please." If we are meant to worry as much as this article tells us to about the negative repercussions of drinking, is it also telling us that our other progressive leanings are subtly dangerous as well? (This reminds me of a much-beloved teacher I had in high school who said the fall of all great empires was foreshadowed/caused by the merging of roles between men and women in a given society. In other words, the narrowing of the gender gap in our country must presage the great Fall of our Civilization. In other words, stay down and stop wearing pants, ladies!)

Also, about the ad mentioned in the quote above [see horrific image, above], why does Britain (home of famed "Effed Feminism" find it so deplorable that England's fair roses are drinking more now? Why is there a public service announcement-style campaign targeting women drinking and not one about men drinking? Even if you say that yes, Britain does have plenty of anti-drinking-in-general ads, the fact that they think women need their own, personal (beauty-standard-motivated) ad campaign (not health-related, mind you, because women -- and society in general -- only care about their looks and not the state of their livers) excludes them from mainstream society. It's just a new stripe of separate but equal, in my opinion.

And finally, this article takes a pretty heavy-handed swing at my favorite website out there:
This conversation is from a posted IM exchange (with tidied punctuation) between two editors at Jezebel.com, a Website that is an avatar of a certain of-the-moment brand of feminism appealing to women too young to remember the heyday of Ms. magazine. Jezebel is very pro-alcohol.
Jezebel is not pro-alcohol. The Jezzies talk a lot about alcohol. But they also talk a lot about health concerns, sex, careers, Feminism, and the economy, entertainment and politics, politics as entertainment, etc etc etc. What Jezebel provides, (beyond a non-judgmental (in most cases, but notably not in the case of this article's comments), supportive, progressive, feminist community at a time when I feel a good feminist is hard to find) is a forum for women to discuss what happens in women's lives. For all their immodest disclosure about bodily fluids and sexual encounters as well as bad credit and shitty jobs, why should they not talk about the cocktails they enjoy and the hangovers they suffer? It is a full disclosure website and I, for one, find it refreshing in a time when post-feminism seems to have ushered back into style some more traditional feminine (anti-feminIST) values.

To take a part of Jezebel Jessica Grose's quote out of context “You know, the whole point of Third Wave feminism is that individual choice should not be judged." While I don't know if that's the whole point of 3rd wave feminism (I've yet to find a definition of the Third Wave that doesn't grate on me), I do applaud the sentiment that we are not here to judge other people's actions or choices. At the same time, though, when a woman tells me that she's choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, my inner Second Waver gags a little, which the Third Waver in me wouldn't be allowed to do. (I also thought it was a tragedy when Charlotte quit her job to get pregnant.) I guess what bothered me most about this discussion was some of the comments on Jezebel... so many of the women there were saying some really retro/misogynistic things about women drinking being sluts and using standard conservative scare tactics about getting trashed/getting STDs. It was just so negative and unproductive, not like Jezebel usually. All of these women, the ones saying "Yes, drink!" and the ones saying, "A feminist models herself on the Virgin Mary" were all flying the flag of feminism. So what is a feminist these days? Is it someone who feels she has the choice to do whatever she pleases or someone who bristles at other women choosing more traditional roles because their very progressive feminist values tell them it's okay to not want to be CEO? Does considering myself a feminist give me the right to question other people's decisions? Or is it specifically anti-feminist to judge, no matter what your motivation is?

In the interest of clearing up any confusion, I drink, not heavily, but regularly (I am getting a Ph.D., as you know, and the article drives home the point - mentioning it twice - that the more educated a woman is, the more she drinks -- ergo, less education = better for women in general, since drinking is so bad?), I do not think that drinking is feminist, but I think that women feeling like they have the choice to and that it's not specifically forbidden them is a sign of progress. (Also, many of the more inflammatory comments on the Jezebel post have since been deleted based on the rules of Jezebel posting etiquette.)


It's my birfday.

I looked back at the blogs in search of something interesting I wrote on my birthdays past, but apparently I'm not very inspired on my birthday. I'm a great proponent of New Years' posts, though. This is what I found.

2007: a Boring meme
2006: the same Boring meme
2005: nothing inspiring

Huh. I thought I had posted resolutions before...

Anyway, I'm posting new-birth-year resolutions, since I've decided in recent years that January 1 is kind of arbitrary and generally disappointing. Please bear in mind that this list reflects a small measure of anticipatory holiday funk-ness and the attending need for cheer.
  1. I'm smart, so I'm going to start doing smart work more smartly.
  2. I have friends, so I'm going to see my friends more often and keep in touch with the ones who aren't handy.
  3. I actually have it pretty good, so I'm going to be a little more aware of that and thankful for it.
  4. Short-term: I will enjoy the rest of the wedding planning a lot and I will also enjoy my wedding.
  5. I will attempt to be healthier.
  6. I will attempt to be happier.
  7. I will read for pleasure regularly.
  8. I will do things other than go to work and watch TV.
  9. I will cook more interesting things.
  10. I will be creative.
That's the short list, anyway.

Happy birthday me. Now back to grading tests.


Holidays again

It's getting to be Holiday time again, and though this one promises to be different from any other so far (Wedding, anyone?), the same thoughts I always have have already started running through my work-weary brain. Nostalgia for holidays past with pets past running around Christmas Trees past, the residual memory of the smell of a particular dish that we'll never eat again, precisely, the wish that some family members were still with us and that some disagreements had never happened. All this is bundled together with the hope of good things to come, of new families evolving out of the old one, and with the hope that these holidays will be different, but will also be exactly the same as all the others.

These thoughts are all hitting me at a time when I actually do have a little free time on my hands and when I am beginning to feel old creative urges that I haven't indulged in at least a couple of years. It may be time to create again and to try to get myself back to a happy, productive energy that also allows me that creative outlet. I'm taking film home. I'm envisioning a collection of still lifes (lives?) taken around my house. Maybe also some scenic shots, but I want to do something a little more rigorously artistic. Whatever that means.

Writing is what I always wanted to do, but I worry about the influence of all this academia. Clearly, A.S. Byatt manages all right. I just need to find that balance (does it only come with rejecting, wholesale, the theories we're meant to internalize here?) and then find a story. And time and space in which to write.

Tomorrow it's the long trip home, flying in to Chicago with its serpentine suburban culs de sac, then proceeding South over the neatly parceled patchwork of rural Indiana. This time it will be in grey-greens, beiges, and browns, very different from the gold and green of the summer.

(written in the Barker Center; internal soundtrack: Joni Mitchell. You know the one.)


To-Do 24.11-26.11

  • Make Vet Appointment for Lucy (for Tuesday or Wednesday) Tuesday at 4
  • Look into haircut for Lucy Tuesday at 10:30
  • Call for cab on Thursday at 4 AM
  • Get together NOAs for travelling purposes
  • Buy/Mail that thing I have to mail
  • Read Appleton
  • Grade
  • Pack for home (clothes to wear, outfit for shower on Saturday, Dan's wedding clothes, Lucy things, book to read, Wedding stuff)
  • Talk to parents about wedding stuff: photography, music, embroidery stuff
  • Clean out fridge
  • A little laundry -Not going to happen.
  • Dinner with K: tonight at 6
  • Dinner with Emi: Wednesday at 4
  • CVS run: band-aids, cotton balls, lip stuff, etc.
  • Start Christmas list
  • Start Christmas shopping


Muppety goodness

If you're in a bad mood, this is the ultimate antidote.

Apple Cider Martini

Delicious - my own recipe

3 Parts Vanilla Vodka
5 Parts Apple Cider
1 Part Spiced Rum
dash cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar

Shake with ice and serve with one maraschino cherry

When 1 Part = 1 Oz this recipe yields two generous cocktails.


The Clip Show, Part The Second

Warning: The following will only be funny to German speakers.

Imbissbudendeutsch für fortgeschrittene

Deutsch für Nazis

Die Deutsche Kochschau


The Clip Show, Part The Third

There has been a rash lately of suggestions for economical good eating. A result, obviously, of the economy going down the toilet. These struck me as good (and they're the only ones that I managed to save the links for).

This article has good tips on cooking "for one," but their tips also work for cooking "for two," if you both work and don't eat a lot of leftovers.

This is a great suggestion on how to make one chicken last three (or more) meals.

The Clip Show, Part The Fourth

This is an awesome graphic comparing the first 100 Days in Office of all the presidents since FDR. They've pulled famous quotes from inauguration speeches ("The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; "Ask not what your country can do for you..."; "A thousand points of light"), violent moments (JFK assassination, Reagan shooting, etc.), and major policy moves (the pardon of draft dodgers, Emergency Banking Act, etc.). It's really fascinating to see where lots was happening and who didn't get jack done (Nixon and - oddly - JFK, I'm looking at you) and to imagine how the days between January 20 and April 30, 2009 will look. (Also to think about the 100 Days of Action - fun project.)


The Clip Show, Part The First

This very amusing post from Jezebel makes me think about my ideal morning routine. The difference between me and these other women is that I don't have the fantasy of massive productivity in the morning. I do, however, have the fantasy of a life in which I can sleep late, spend time with my mans in the evening and stay up reaaal late at night. So here, in Jezebel fashion, is my ideal routine.

10:00 - Roll out of bed, walk Lucy while coffee is cooking. Eat leisurely breakfast of yogurt and granola while reading the internets. At work by 12. Home from work at 6, eat delicious dinner, watch amusing TV OR go out to fabulous club or bar with fabulous friends who can also sleep late. Alternatively, resume work for a couple hours around 11 or midnight, then go to sleep.

Alarm goes off at 6:53. Snooze until about 7:15, at which point my mans and I begin the morning firedrill of fast showers, no breakfast, abbreviated dog-walk, and half-running to the bus. Somewhere between 7:55 and 8:05, get on the bus. At work by 8:45. Prepare for and teach class til 10, at which point I procrastinate until it's time for a leisurely lunch with my fabulous colleague. Then more procrastination until I go home around 5. Ready for sleeping by 6, but drag myself through dinner and doze while my mans watches TV and moans at me for sleeping.


This is really really awesome

Look at these election maps!

Strange thought

Isn't it odd to think that some places in the country are as sad and negative about the future as we are happy about it? Bizarre, but apparently 48% of us are probably a little dejected right about now.



NYTimes has an informative article about the Obama transition team. Very exciting! I would LOVE Lugar for State and think Dean could be exciting for Health/Human Services, though I'd prefer Hillary.



They called it! Woohoo!

Political Junkies: Looking forward

The next big thing is to see who Obama taps to be in his cabinet/to help out in his administration. CNN has a good list of names that have been floated as possibilities. My money is on McCain getting something and maybe Gore. I hope Clinton accepts something, though she's also good in the Senate and says she doesn't want anything else.

Key Seats to look out for:
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Secretary of State (obviously)
  • Secretary of Defense
  • And I'll be curious about his pick for Homeland Security, though I think that will be less relevant under Obama and our current economy than it has been in the last 8 years
Also, waiting to hear if any of the elder Supreme Court Justices step down immediately after Bush leaves - I'm looking at Stevens (he's 88). Next oldest is Ginsburg at 75, but she hasn't been there all that long. I'm interested to see if any of them were just holding on to see if the next president is relatively safe, appointment-wise.

RIP Wilson; Post-election link show

  • As I mentioned yesterday, our Pet Wild Turkey died yesterday. Today my dad is interviewed in our hometown paper.
  • Thanks WJH (in HH) for pointing the Spiegel.de headline out to me: "Die Wiederauferstehung des amerikanischen Traums" (Translated - The Resurrection of the American Dream).
  • Die Zeit is predictably less euphoric with "Obamas schweres Erbe" (Obama's difficult/heavy inheritance) and vaguely politically-incorrect with "Der weiß-schwarze Präsident" (The white-black President).
  • Die Süddeutsche weighs in with "Amerika hat sich neu erfunden" (America has reinvented itself)
  • Britain seems to be happy to be out from under the weight of Bush: "President Obama: Change has come" and "Live Blog: The start of a New Era"
  • Jezebel does a pretty great round-up of columnists' reactions.
  • Also, the NYtimes Blogs have an article about post-election depression. We're apparently all supposed to be depressed and have an excess of time on our hands now that the election is over. But REAL political junkies know that politics is never over! Why should we not be this interested and engaged all the time? I know, there's a lull now, but soon we'll be hearing about Obama's cabinet and early policy ideas. We'll start to think about how the new Congress is going to look and we'll start digesting the ballot issues that passed and didn't. There's ALWAYS something political to be a junkie about, so people worried about withdrawal should keep their pants on.
Anyway, Indiana still isn't officially called, but it looks like Obama just nosed McCain out, which is good. CA is upsetting me about Prop 8, which also isn't yet called, but doesn't look good. My heart goes out to all my Californians.

It is interesting to see that even during all the euphoria of the last twelve hours, some people are already shifting the tone to consider how exactly Obama is going to carry out his promises, fix the war, and save the flailing economy. The overwhelming sense seems to be that getting elected was the "easy part" and now he's really going to have to "work hard." I just hope he takes a week off first.


Liveblogging the returns

I'm too excited for much intelligent discussion today, but I want to chronicle some things. Here goes my first Election Day chronicle/liveblog.

Useful links: IN (cnn), FL (cnn), MO (cnn)
  • Aaand Indiana seems to be officially blue, miraculously. Even if no one's calling it, I'm AWFULLY proud of my home state.
  • 12:17 AM: Thanks from BarackObama.com. I genuinely hope and pray that all this change we've heard about really happens. Seems likely. And this Victory Speech must have been written or helped along by the West Wing dudes. Could it be more moving? And more inspiring? And more hope-provoking? I love that this man won and that we won't have to have a government powered along by fear for eight more years. I'm so tired of being told how afraid I should feel and am looking forward to someone who might tell me what I can look forward to instead. Bless him and his beautiful family and Biden and his family. And all our new Senators and Representatives. It's all very promising for our party and for our country. (I think this election has redeemed that word - not thanks to McCain, but thanks to Obama, who has made it possible for me to be optimistic again. Thank YOU Barack and Joe. Good job everyone for voting!
  • 12:14 AM: Also, Senate is at 56 for the Dems now. Yay!
  • 12:13 AM: It's also kind of cool to see Oprah acting like a normal human and basking in Obama's speech like the rest of them. I wish I were in Chicago.
  • 12:12 AM: On another topic: CA is denying both Prop 8 and Prop 4, thank goodness.
  • "For those whose support I have yet to earn: I hear your voices and I need your help."
  • "This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance to make that change."
  • AND I hate that I haven't been working for him. Must make that up somehow.
  • Also, maybe shadows of him becoming more liberal as he takes office?
  • LOVE Obama. What a good speech already. But seriously, good riddance to Palin. And yay, shout-out to Michelle! She's so classy and great. And he bought his girls a puppy!!
  • The above screengrab is VERY gratifying.
  • fivethirtyeight is predictably happy
  • Great photo of Barack on the guardian right now: http://www.guardian.co.uk/america
  • For comparison's sake: Clinton got 370 electoral votes in 1992, 379 in 1996.
  • I'd like to kindly remind you all that BUSH is finally FINALLY a lame duck! Officially! 11 weeks til the Inaguration! Also, Sarah Palin can crawl back into the hole she came out of. And her daughter has a prayer of a normal-ish life with her baby.
  • McCain concession speech? Already? Hooray! But BOOOOOOOO for stupid McCainiacs for booing Obama. So declasse.
  • CNN CALLS THE ELECTION! Time for Champers!
  • Also, human life from conception amendment failing in CO!
  • Abortion ban in SD fails! Hooray! Thanks to Blume for the update on this vote.
  • CNN calls NM for Obama which gives him 207! 63 to go! CA has 55!
  • I've just learned that my sister's posse has broken out the bubbly. We're still sitting on ours.
  • Will I Am Hologram! Keerazy! I like him.
  • Vanderburgh County is officially Democratic! Friendly territory again!
  • Al Franken is leading in early returns.
  • Also Senate standing at 54 for the Dems.
  • Correction: In IN - McCain 49.5%-Obama 49.4%. OY. 8,000 votes difference.
  • 10:22 PM: Looks like Question 2 is strong in MA. Stoners rejoice.
  • 10:22 PM: Lucy's too nervous (tired) too look.
  • 10:19 PM: IN all but tied. 13,000 votes difference. 49.7% McCain-49.2% Obama.
  • 10:03 PM: More foolhardiness?
  • 10:01 PM: Switching over to Comedy Central where Jon Stewart (!) and Stephen Colbert (!!) are doing a live (!!!) special!!!
  • 9:59 PM: Foolhardiness at this point?
  • 9:56 PM: Also RIP gay marriage in FL.
  • 9:49 PM: I'd like to interrupt out broadcast to say R.I.P. Wilson (a.k.a. Rodan). The wild turkey that lived in my parents' yard (slept on their garage roof every night) for two and a half years was hit by a car this morning. Area children are devastated and the press is covering his memorial service tomorrow morning.
  • 9:46 PM: CNN more or less just called the election without calling the election. I'm thinking about that bottle of bubbly, but not until Obama wins a couple more states. It also just dawned on me that Indiana might be taking so long reporting results because they're taking the time to count absentee votes. It's promising. Probably still won't happen, but still. I'm proud of my home state even if they don't go blue. What great strides have been made there!
  • 9:26 PM: They just called Ohio for Obama!!
  • 9:14 PM: I'm starting to feel a little more optimistic.
  • 9:06 PM: Also, it looks like a Democratic Senate Majority! Hooray!
  • 9:05 PM: It is a GOOD day to be an American. So far, anyway.
  • 9:00 PM: Even Fox News sounds Democratic tonight. Yay! Other races to be excited about: Franken in MN, Shaheen in NH, ballot measures in MA. BTW, we didn't repeal the income tax in IN.
  • 8:53 PM: They're talking on CNN about when McCain "made his last stand" and absolutely acting like Obama's going to win. Very encouraging. Here's a roundup: 538.com shows Obama looking okay in VA, but better in FL. IN still too close to call. Okay. We lost Posey County. No surprise there, but the Dems did make a strong showing there. No progress in Vanderburgh and no word yet on Warrick. Generally calling ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NJ, DE, MD, and IL for Obama for a total of 102 electoral votes. PA looking good which would give him 123. 147 to go.
  • 8:49 PM: I love that Carville is on his cell phone while he's on CNN.
  • 8:43 PM: HOOOOOOOOOOOLY CRAP Obama is leading 53-47 in Vanderburgh county! 35% reporting!
  • 8:39 PM: Perry county is official! 60-40 Obama! 100% reporting! Also, CNN is calling PA for Obama. Huzzah!
  • 8:35 PM: Okay, Posey County's not out of the woods yet, but there's only 70 votes difference right now. That's encouraging.
  • 8:29 PM: Also this, which Dan found for me. VERY encouraging.

    "Democrats are cheered by early numbers showing that Obama holds a healthy lead in Vigo County, a place that one Dem described to us as "the most reliable bellwether county in the country."

    "Vigo has only been wrong on president twice since 1892," this Dem enthuses."

  • 8:29 PM: NYTimes has a nifty county map for the whole country with results being posted all the time. It's on the front page right now, but I can't find a good link for it.
  • OH looking good.
  • Just heard on CNN - "It's a bad year to be a Republican!"
  • POSEY FREAKING COUNTY! That's Hostettler country! And it's bright, beautiful blue!! 51%-48%! HOORAY!
  • I am worried about Virginia. But Florida's looking pretty good.
  • 8:03 PM: O. also carried Spencer and Perry counties! Amazing! I don't know that we can write off Warrick and Vanderburgh just yet.
  • 8:00 PM: CNN projecting ME, CT, IL, DE, MD, DC, NJ, MA. That leaves Obama with 77 to McCain's 34. AL, FL, MS, MI, NH, and PA just closed.
  • 7:49 PM: Sad that Mitch Effing Daniels won Governor in IN again. Not surprised, though. Also, county-by-county coverage of IN here. Also, still no results from Vanderburgh county.
  • 7:44 PM: Another photo. There is something WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE. How can you call a state with 0% of precincts reporting? I understand that Vermont is safe, but SERIOUSLY.
  • 7:43 PM: I've added a warm-fuzzy photo of my (non-voter eligible) hubby and our puppy at my polling place.
  • AND VIGO COUNTY! Also known as why both of my congressional candidates lost! Also known as a Republican stronghold! Also known as a bunch of blue collar factory type worker (and farmers) terrified of losing their jobs! (538.com agrees with me that this is a good sign!)
  • ALSO Dubois County is leaning Obama! That's a deep Republican/Evangelical area!
  • Good good good. IN - 12% reporting and McCain is up. BUT Bloomington, Indianapolis, and Gary are all still MIA. THIS IS GOOD. Also, there's a strip of area along the southern border with IL that is SERIOUSLY conservative territory - but the economy, I would bet, has scared them into voting Obama. Very good sign for IN. Wonder how Terre Haute's doing?
  • The good old Courier & Press is covering Evansville's voting. Here.
  • W. T. Eff. with the silly silly "beaming in" on CNN? SO FOOLISH.
  • I am PISSED. OFF. that CNN is already making projections. Sure, VT and KY are pretty safe, but did they not learn ANYTHING from the last two elections? Especially 2000? GAH!
  • Can't believe O. is ahead in IN for the moment. Gives me hope! I do feel a LOT of guilt for not voting in IN this time... But, still there's the absentee ballot conundrum. One of my students is from IN and her ballot got lost, so I wouldn't wnat to feel disenfranchised in that way. It was nice to vote in person for once and know for certain my vote was going to count, even if MA is a foregone conclusion. Many many props to my political buddies in IN for getting out the vote for Obama!
  • More from 538. Hooray for early voting!
    31,268,357 voters have cast votes early in America, which represents 25.3% of the total of all ballots cast in 2004. Nobody doubts we are headed for an absolute record turnout in this election.
  • 31,268,357 voters have cast votes early in America, which represents 25.3% of the total of all ballots cast in 2004. Nobody doubts we are headed for an absolute record turnout in this election.
  • Pork Chops and stuffing are in the oven. Mashed potatoes waiting to be consumed. Just beginning to watch CNN... "the BEST political team" on TV. (I think Wolf Blitzer is going to give himself a stroke every time he says "BEST." He kind of spits a little.
  • 5:25 PM: And now I'm going to start our election night dinner. Unlike McCain and Palin, I like me some Pork. Chops.
  • 5:20 PM: Nate Silver's (of 538.com) hour-by-hour guide to the returns. Says Silver of my home state:
    The responsible thing to do would be for the networks to hold off until at least 7 PM to project Indiana, when polls have closed in Gary and the northwestern part of the state just across the border from Chicago—where Obama hopes to rack up huge margins among black and working-class voters. If for some reason the state is called before 7 PM for John McCain, that probably means we're in for a long night. If, on the other hand, the state is called for Obama in the first hour after the polls close, that could indicate that the force of Obama's field operation has been underestimated, and that McCain is in for a catastrophically poor evening.
  • 5:15 PM: After a little disco nap in preparation for tonight, I'm back at it. Two things from Andrew Sullivan - 1. Even the haters are sure O's going to win. 2. Obama > Kerry.

Election Day sputterings

  • 3:23 PM: 538.com is making me happy/nervous.
  • 2:52 PM: This is Ab. Surd. Joe the Plumber plungers as accessories for election day?!
  • 2:47 PM: Long live people like Jennifer Brunner.
  • 2:46 PM: This also sums up something that I'm worried about. Scary, but upbeat.
  • 2:39 PM: Well, this is sweet. Stolen from Roya's Facebook status.
  • 2:30 PM: Continuously updated - Voter suppression (and other problems) in action: NYTimes reports:
    "The Ohio Republican Party re-filed a lawsuit it previously dropped against the Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, claiming that she has not done enough to ensure that provisional ballots are counted properly and uniformly in all counties across the state.

    Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley, an election law specialist, said the lawsuit was a placeholder to be used by the Republicans to challenge the final results if the outcome in Ohio is close, using the Bush v. Gore decision by the Supreme Court in 2000."

  • 2:27 PM: This is really cool: the NYTimes Election wordtrain. Shows you how people are feeling.

  • 2:24 PM: More ballot problems - Soggy ballots. No problems where I voted (Watertown, MA). No electronic machines - optical scan ballots and the weather was dry and fair.
  • cnn.com: things looking grim for McCain. But who knows.
  • Here are pictures of people standing in line to vote.
  • 2:16 PM: I voted and feel good about it. There's a warm feeling of civic pride that follows finally voting in person, amidst old ladies and little kids having an election day bake sale to raise money for the fifth grade. Also, this is crazy. Tim Robbins getting arrested at his polling place? Wild.
  • 12:52 PM: This is kind of funny/scary. Hasn't happened since 1824, but what would happen if the Electoral College were tied?! Looks good for Obama.
  • 12:45 PM: I have purchased provisions for tonight and am going to vote in a few minutes. For now, though: this is amusing.
  • 10:56 AM: Andrew Sullivan is collecting good voter stories. This one and this one are particularly nice.
  • 10:44 AM: Karl Rove is calling it a landslide for Obama. (That's the first time I've ever been thankful for anything he's said.)
  • 10:33 AM: Great image from Jezebel.com See over there -->
  • 10:30 AM: A much needed admonishment about the evils of exit polls from the dudes over at fivethirtyeight.com
  • 10:28 AM: From an email from my friend the (Indiana) City Councilman:
    What a GREAT campaign...There were 45 cars at my precinct at 0600... 42 more than last Fall.
  • 10:25 AM: fivethirtyeight.com is giving McCain a whopping 1.9% chance of winning! Woo!
  • 10:19 AM: cnn.com
"Monday evening's CNN national Poll of Polls -- incorporating our new CNN survey, as well as new tracking numbers from Gallup and Hotline taken October 3-5 -- shows Obama leading McCain by 6 points -- at 49 to 43 percent.
President Bush may be part of the reason why Obama's making gains. Only 24 percent of those polled approve of Bush's job as president, an all-time low for a CNN survey.

"Bush has now tied Richard Nixon's worst rating ever, taken in a poll just before he resigned in 1974, and is only 2 points higher than the worst presidential approval rating in history, Harry Truman's 22 percent mark in February 1952," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland."

  • 10:12 AM: Great. Voting machines breaking down in VA. Maybe a delayed poll closing as a result? Also some places have switched to paper ballots - more hanging chads! Great news in a Tossup state. Oy.
  • 10:08 AM: This is kind of fun. You can make your own election map. Like an Oscar ballot. Mine came out (optimistically) with Obama at 342 electoral votes and McCain at 189.
  • 10:06 AM: A good graphic from the NYTimes: Poll closing times for Key states.10:05 AM: Awww... that's cute.
  • 6 AM: New Hampshire village Dixvile Notch (with 21 people voting) goes BLUE. CNN.com



I love this election and I hate this election. To be more accurate, I don't really HATE it... I think I'm suffering some election fatigue - not in the sense that I just want it to be over as if I were bored, but in the sense that I'm exhausted by the anxiety I'm feeling about it. Now, only 24 hours (and change) away from a result and I'm still obsessively looking at polls and reading the news and hoping for some definitive sign of who's going to win. But no. There's are positive profiles of both Obama and McCain in the NYTimes today, so no help there. fivethirtyeight.com is still showing very positive numbers for Obama, but there's the fear that too much comfort will jinx it. Both candidates are "confident" they will win, but of course that can't be. I VERY clearly know who I want to win, but there are still (24 hours out!) undecided voters in states that could swing the whole thing! And I still get all worked up thinking about the supreme court eight years ago making me (and Al and all our good Dem friends) cry about the Electoral College (is it outmoded or not?), and I completely freak out about vote flipping in electronic voting machines, but I also don't want to hear about hanging chads, either. What if I go in and the computer registers my vote the wrong way? Getting it corrected makes my personal ballot look suspicious. Luckily (or not) I'm in a state where it's unlikely to matter, but I'm sad to not be voting in my home state, which for the first time since 1964 is tilting toward the light blue. It's a very stressful time.

But, it's also a really exciting time. I always said that if Hillary got the nomination, I would quit what I was doing and work for her. That didn't happen and I was disappointed for a long time. But now, I'm wishing I had quit a couple months ago and worked for the Obama camp. It's really exciting to feel the political juices get going again and to want to be involved again (even if too little, too late). The 2004 election left me really depressed for a really long time and I even stopped reading the news until the 2008 campaigns started spooling up. But even then for a long time I was only reading out of fear - what crazy candidate will the GOP dig up? Will the Dems find someone exciting and electable? It feels like I'm thawing out after almost eight years of numb apathy and despair that things couldn't get any better.

In this election I love a lot of things. I love so much that so many people (on both sides) are engaged in the campaigns. Obama's effort to get young people involved has also been simply inspiring and I'm sincerely hoping it will result in a LOT of young people turning out to vote. In fact, I hope (and believe) voter turnout in general this year will be really high. I guess that's the good thing that has come out of the Bush administration. It became very clear in 2000 and 2004 just how much just a few votes count when the situation is right. I also think it's wonderful that people are starting to see that this decision actually does make a difference, even in their own lives. There has been a sense in the past that every candidate is just looking out for Number 1 and that they are all similar. Even I (shamefully) complained that Bush and Gore were saying the same things and running on the same platforms (save Gore's continued interest in the environment, which didn't seem as urgent then, somehow). And that continues to be a problem - in fighting for the same undecided voters, both candidates find themselves forced to tone down their positions for fear of alienating anyone on any single issue. But that's the case with a two party system, I suppose.

The other thing that I love about this election is that even some jaded politicians and reporters are getting caught up in the hope of things getting better. I think it's relatively safe to say that no matter who gets elected, things can't get much worse. I don't personally believe that McCain will dramatically change the direction our country is going in (down the toilet), but I also don't believe he's as stupid as Bush. I do believe that Obama has the desire and courage to try to stop the bad things and to start some new good things, and it looks like the Congress may be shifting in a direction that will help him (and at least forestall McCain a bit, should he get elected, God forbid). I love the enthusiasm that has come about as a result of the feeling that our country is teetering on a precipice and I sincerely hope that tomorrow doesn't crush us all again. If we have another disappointment in this election, I fear that my political engagement will sputter and die for good. Or, will at least be transplanted to another country - one where I won't be able to vote, but where I will be able to get away from this one.

But back to the positive. There is a sense that history is being made in the way that there wasn't even with Gore/Bush back in the day. Then I think we (Dems) were too cocky that that election was just a formality that had to be put up with before we could continue the happy reign of the Clinton years. In 2004, I feel like there was a general political anaesthesia in place which made voter turnout dip and which made everyone believe that Bush was inevitable. Much as I wanted to see him defeated, I didn't really believe he could be and I didn't lift a finger to stop his reelection. But this time it's different. In the media there's a lot of talk about the history books and both campaigns seem conscious of the potential historical heft of their campaigns (this is also clearly influenced by the historic nature of both campaigns) and both seem aware of the potential for changing the trajectory of the nation.

The thing I like most, though is the fact that it's possible to feel about this campaign. Politics is always emotional, but the emotions in these campaigns have seemed especially potent and palpable. Obama's passion comes across in his calm intensity and McCain's has come across (somewhat less positively) in his sarcasm and huffiness. But they both really want this. There's no apathy anywhere in this campaign, which is novel and encouraging. I really want the election to go well and for the first time in a LONG time, I feel like it just might.

If it doesn't, you might have to scrape me off the walls and ceiling. But I do have hope and believe in the potential of this country to recognize it's time for a real CHANGE.

Happy non-academe

Why don't more American fashion magazines mix it up with different fonts on their front covers?



I am SO afraid McCain is going to win.


Day labor.

This reminds me of this.


Gaaahhh Language Police

Another one: "squee"


Sex Bomb

In keeping with our theme of late, this woman gives me hope


Is everyone some shade of anorexic?

First of all: required reading if you want to completely understand why I'm so worked up:

Margarita Bertsos - Glamour Magazine "Shape-up" Blogger introduces herself.

More from Margarita - The one where she brings her own food to restaurants.

Jezebel's commentary on diet blogging. They've already done it better than I will, but I'm going to go ahead and rant.

As a disclaimer, this is meant in no way as a criticism of Margarita's diet OR her blog. I admire her candor and her courage in writing so freely and honestly about things that are typically so wrapped up in shame that people won't admit to even thinking about them. God knows, I wouldn't have the guts to write so in-depth about my issues with food and my body on such a highly publicized stage.

That being said, it seems like a version of something I've done in the past and something I've heard other people planning to do - entering into a semi-codependent agreement to go on a crazy diet with someone else. I call it "keeping me honest" and I guess it is helpful to have someone help you be accountable for your actions (ingestions), but it seems like Margarita didn't necessarily enter into a healthy agreement with her thousands of avid readers (brought to her by the Glamour Magazine publicity department). It seems instead like she was frustrated at not advancing out of her "Executive Assistant" position and saw that in her chosen industry, she would have to be thin to be successful.

And so she volunteered to put her insecurities on parade and embark on a project of precipitous weight-loss (looks like about a hundred pounds in just over eight months, though I don't know her height, so can't really gauge) in order to advance in her work. If diets involved sleeping with her boss, she could level the company with a sexual harassment suit. (And I realize I'm being a little reactionary here, as the company doesn't seem to have approached her and said, "it's too bad you're not skinny, because you'd make a great health editor," but I am, I think, rationally pissed off at the tacit understanding that anyone working at any level in fashion or related fields must be thin. See also the diet Emily Blunt had to go on in order to pretend to work in Fashion for the movie The Devil Wears Prada, as well as the really unhealthy pressure that Anne Hathaway's character succumbs to - and to which she also seems to have bowed in real life... girlfriend is THIN now.)

Anyway. This is all hooked in with my body- and food-issues. The standards for what is overweight these days seem entirely insane. Sizes of clothing keep getting smaller and smaller, while the population's size as a whole doesn't seem to radically be changing. This results in lots of perfectly normal-size women looking for a lone size 10 in a sea of 00s left over at the end of a season and in other women (myself included, in some stores) never fitting into even the largest of sizes that stores stock, (and here the issue is not that they don't make clothes that fit me, but that they don't make them available. I, for instance can't try on a pair of jeans in the Gap store I most often shop in because they don't STOCK a size 14 Long. They stock a size 2 Long, but not a 14 Long. Because THAT'S logical.) without being fat. (And here I don't mean to imply that "fat" women deserve to not fit into any clothes at the Gap... I'm simply trying to point out the illogic and unfairness of the way retail has changed to reflect the radical thinness that is in style in fashion magazines and on runways. It is NOT a realistic ideal, even for the naturally-waif-thin women of this world.) There is also, for the record, a gulf between where "normal" clothes stores cut off and where "plus sized" clothes stores pick up. That's where I live. And while I think I've actually got a pretty great body (at the moment and for the first time in a REALLY long time), I don't look good in almost ANYTHING I wear because I'm in this no-man's land.

I'm a tall woman. 5'11" on a short day and, though I don't know my weight (I step on the scales backward at the doctor's office because the number makes me uncomfortable and I prefer to judge my body by how it feels and not how it measures. This is because some Crazy Person inside of me thinks that I should still weigh the 125 I did just after my 6 inch growth spurt.), I do know that my BMI (Body Mass Index, for those who aren't even a little bit obsessed) puts me just over the edge into Overweight. Though I measure as Overweight, I also think I would look kind of scary if I lost the approximately THIRYTY pounds it would take to put me squarely in the Normal category. (a. I HATE that they label it Normal. b. I understand there are medical theories behind the BMI, but it's supposed to account for men and women equally. I, however, have probably 25 pounds of boobs (I read somewhere that your averabe D-cup weighs between 15 and 20 pounds, and I've moved on past the D-cup, to be honest) but I just can't believe that breast tissue and the accompanying fat can be accounted for in a measure that is also supposed to work for a man who has the same height and weight as me.

But I digress. I'm falling into the trap that Jezebel put thusly:
Even more than that, I wonder if diet blogs can be positive at all. It's good for women to have spaces where they can speak freely about their issues and feelings, but whenever we do posts about weight, discussion always devolves into people posting their heights and weights down to the decimal point.
It's not about my weight or my clothing size or my food issues. It's about the culture of thinness and the pressure put on women to conform to an ideal that, if they attained it, would certainly cause bad health and possibly even death. I just think that our society needs to broaden its understanding of what's thin, doctors need to either explain to me how my boobs fit into their BMI or come up with a system that fairly tells women (who have all the parts they came with) what's healthy and what isn't, and stores need to actually cater to their customers, 95% of whom are NOT shaped like their models.

And with that, Captain Obvious signs off for today.


If you buy into the idea that anyone who can win the women's vote and the black vote will win the election, this seems like VERY good news. Also, Indiana, which hasn't voted Democrat since 1964, for goodness sake, is slowly, but steadily turning blue. It's officially cemented as a swing state. And while I'm not holding my breath that it'll actually go to Obama, I'm awfully happy to see it's coming to its senses.


Language police

This is going to be a feature now, I think, since I keep running across things that deeply irritate me. Today's edition of things that should no longer be part of common parlance:
  • "I love(s) me some _________."
  • Woot/wOOt/woot (in any form)
  • "I can haz cheezburger" and other LOLcats bullshit.
Not to be a curmudgeon or anything...

Yay, women!

This story makes me feel all kinds of positive about the change women can inspire in their communities.


Just heard...

On CNN, The Situation Room. (condescendingly) "[Palin] says she's 'Joe six-pack American' and that's what the middle of the country wants."

I don't live in "the Middle" anymore, but I still take offense at the generalization of the Midwest as a collection of Bud-swilling, undershirt wearing, slightly-brighter-than-retarded baboons. They are very socially conservative (and while it's probably statistically proven that with more education comes more progressive social thought), but they're not idiots.

And another word for my No-List: Maverick (pronounced Mav'rick). HATE.

More baking

Last night I made an apple cake from this recipe. Ho. Ly. Crap. Delicious. It's kind of weird and messy/crumbly, but wow. Try it.

Also, I've started obsessively looking at Food Gawker. Beautiful photos and some really cool recipes. I especially like the Mini Watermelon and can't wait to try the Plum Cake. If you're into food and photos and photos of food, you'll love this website.

On a photo-related note, it seems like foods are VERY often photographed in morning light - it's usually bright white and a little washed out, but very glisteny. Must play with this.


Culinary Update No. 3: Chocolate Bread Rolls

This was a Jamie Oliver recipe, but I had an unfortunate run-in with my salt... as in WAY too much of it. Anyway, here's the damage.
I made a basic bread dough (following J.O.'s recipe and using my Kitchen Aid). This is a picture of it rising beautifully.
While the dough was doing its thing, I crushed up some serious 70% Ghirardelli chocolate.
When the dough was ready to go, I rolled it out, coated it with a LOT of butter, and sprinkled it generously with chocolate crumbles. Then I rolled it up, jelly-roll style, and sliced it. This is what they looked like (messy) after assembled.

And about halfway through baking. The saltiness mellowed a bit after a couple days, so they were edible, but should have been more delicious. Not a total loss, but not a triumph, either.

Culinary Update No. 2: The Great Franzbrötchen Bake-Off Post

While at home in Indiana in August, I finally got around to trying to bake Franzbrötchen, my very favorite pasty in the entire world. I used to eat one (or two) of these every morning while I was living in Hamburg and I've mourned every morning since leaving there that they weren't available. When I was in Berlin last summer, dear W. brought some for me to freeze and ration out over the summer.

Anyway, that same dear friend gave me a book called Das Franzbrötchen: Wunderbarer Plunder aus Hamburg. It's a (pretty hilariously earnest) collection of texts and poems about (and odes to) the Franzbrötchen. After reading some of them I discovered that there was a RECIPE. This one purports to be the best recipe, though the recipes I've found on the internet are really plentiful and varied...

Anyway. Here's what we did. (Excuse, please, the bad translation and lack of measurement conversion - in my mother's kitchen we had the ability to work in metric.)

FRANZBRÖTCHEN - freely interpreted from a recipe by Dieter Schemberger


450 g All-purpose flour (Type 550)
30 g yeast
250 ml Milk
50 g Butter
1 Egg yolk (in retrospect I realize we forgot this)
1/2 tsp Salt

We basically threw all this (minus the egg yolk) into the Kitchen Aid and let it do its thing. We ended up adding a little more flour because our dough was looking a little loose. It turned out to be a nice, elastic dough. Let the dough rise for about 15-20 minutes, then roll out into a rectangle of 30 x 25 cm. (Precise Germans!)



150 g. Butter
50 g. Flour

Mix these together and form into a sheet about 15 x 20 cm and lay on top of the dough rectangle. (This was a little misleading. We basically had to spread it onto the dough.) Then fold the edges of the dough over the Butter surface and press down. **Then roll out the dough to about 30 x 40 cm and fold over twice to make 3 layers. Put the dough into the fridge for 15 minutes. Repeat from ** twice more. Finally, roll the dough out to a surface of 25 x 70 cm.

BELEG (the Good Stuff)

50 g Butter (we used considerably more, because I like my Franzbrötchen a little greasy.)
100 g Sugar and Cinnamon (we just used LOTS of cinnamon and 100 g sugar, basically.)

Mix these ingredients and spread the mixture on top of the dough.

Fig. 1. Here you can see the dough with the Good Stuff spread all over. We're in the process of rolling it up.

Then roll up the dough lengthwise (zu einer langen Schlange - into a long snake!) and cut into slices about 3 cm thick.
Fig. 2. Here we've rolled up the dough and are pinching it together so that the good stuff doesn't squish out.
Fig. 3. at the bottom of this photo you can see the slices. At the top, I've just finished forming one.
Fig. 4. Here I'm forming the Franzbrötchen using the "Kochlöffel-Trick" - basically you press the handle of a wooden spoon into the center of a slice, causing the middle to buckle and the sides to turn slightly upwards. Then you press them flat and put them on the baking sheet. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but the results are most satisfying.

Fig. 4. These are the finished product. These emerge out of the oven after they've been baked about15-20 minutes at 180° C. They turned out kind of ugly, but in my experience, the uglier they are, the better they taste.

**Thanks to Dan for documenting the process!

Culinary Update No. 1

A few weeks ago I made Spaghetti Casserole, which turned out to be a massive amount of a kind of anti-lasagna. Quite delicious. Here's what happened.
I cooked a LOT of spaghetti, drained it, doused it with good olive oil and let it sit.Meanwhile, and afterward, I cooked a LOT of homemade tomato sauce (canned crushed tomatoes, about 4 cloves of garlic, a little onion, fresh basil, mushrooms, zucchini).I mixed it all up with a good deal of cheese (parmigiano reggiano, romano, mozzarella), and baked at 400° until done. Quite delicious.


Zombie Feminism

Zombie Feminism. This is a really interesting article about a bunch of movies I've always disregarded out of hand. Pretty fascinating. Now I kind of want to see Zombie Strippers, which I had thought sounded like a bunch of dreck. And maybe it is, but I'm interested in the concept this article suggests. What do you all think?


Semantic groaning

Two phrases I don't ever need to hear again:

"Wow factor" - when did this come into vogue and when will it disappear?

"Shock and awe" - after seeing it in a few too many different contexts, I can't take it any more. I kind of wish that whoever is elected passes a law outlawing all phrases coined by the Bush administration. That includes Homeland Security. What a silly faux-patriotism-inciting name.


School Days

I used to wake up in the mornings to the sound of the 8:40 bell for Morning Prayers at Memorial Church. Now I hear it as I come out of the Harvard Square T stop.


More news

Delinquent blogging leads me to need to do another news digest with previews of coming attractions. In no particular order.
  1. The new semester starts tomorrow.
  2. In order to make it to campus in time to organize myself, I have to leave my house by about 7:45 AM. EVERY DAY. Does. Not. Compute.
  3. We finally filed for Dan's Green Card. Thus commences the waiting game. No, we still haven't seen the movie.
  4. Dan starts work tomorrow!
  5. In August, I baked Franzbrötchen!
  6. Last week sometime I baked chocolate rolls.
  7. I also cooked the inaugural Butternut Squash of the season.
  8. We have Besuch from Deutschland!
  9. My work status currently SUCKS. But will be okay.
  10. We got pluots in our Boston Organics box this week! What the hell are those!?
  11. I learned the German word for quince. Quitte.



In no particular order:
  • I'm legally married.
  • Going home to finish planning the big church wedding in a couple days.
  • Things I've cooked:
    • Some pretty tasty ginger-soy stir fry
    • REALLY good potato pancakes
    • Lots and lots of pasta
    • Stuffed zucchini (with oriental eggplant)
  • What I'm cooking tonight: Spaghetti casserole
  • Loving the Boston Organics deliveries, but don't know what to do with cabbage.
  • General exams got pushed back by a little bit (thank GOD)
  • Went to world's ODDEST wedding this weekend
  • Bought my wedding shoes
  • Also bought some pretty amazing stripper heels
  • Had good friends over for a couple hours yesterday
  • Very very very happy playing house.


Banana Bread

Tonight I found myself with a bunch of rapidly blac
kening bananas like this. Instead of just put up with the fruit flies, I decided to make banana bread. After a quick trip to the local Tedeschi's for flour, sour cream, and baking powder, I was good to go.

The recipe I used was this:


10 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)

1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 9 1/4 by 5 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan with 1 teaspoon of the butter.

Puree the bananas, sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a food processor.

Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fixed with a whisk attachment. Add the remaining 10 tablespoons butter and mix on medium-low speed until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the banana mixture in 3 batches, scraping the sides of the bowl and mixing on medium speed between each addition. Fold in the nuts.

Pour into the loaf pan. Bake until lightly browned and bread bounces back to the touch, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Of course, I used Egg Beaters instead of eggs, 8 inch pans instead of 9 1/4, and I didn't have any walnuts, in classic semi-hobo fashion. Oh, and I had to do the mixing by hand, which was a joy. Pre-baking this is the mess I had on my hands:
Midway through baking and things are looking (and smelling) very tasty.


Finally I found it!

When I was studying abroad the summer between my Junior and Senior years in high school, I went on this weird art installation tour (for like... 9 hours on a bus) around the Ruhrgebiet. It was really fascinating and I finally just found something that has a little information about it (randomly, while poking around a German food blog...).

Anyway, for posterity: http://www.route-industriekultur.de/menue/menue.html

Boston Organics!

I got the first box today! Very exciting. Today I received:
  • a bunch of collard greens
  • a head of lovely leaf lettuce
  • a container of broccoli sprouts
  • two small zucchini
  • a couple pounds of potatoes
  • an eggplant
  • a couple kiwis
  • a couple peaches
  • a couple apples
  • a bunch of bananas
  • some black plums
  • a couple nectarines
The zucchini and eggplant and potatoes will be no challenge, but I don't really know what to do with the collard greens or broccoli sprouts, as they're items I would never buy unprompted. BO sent along a good-looking collard greens recipe (with garam masala) that I may try. And I guess I'll stirfry the sprouts with some rice and other veg. Exciting!


Pre-Dan grooming, etc.

  1. Appointment at Carriage House (next Tuesday, 12:00 p.m.)
  2. Appointment at Gino
  3. Mani/Pedi
  4. Eye Appointment (next Monday, 1:20 p.m.)
  5. Appointment for foot X-ray
  6. Appointment for physical therapy


Food inspiration

I signed up for Boston Organics fruit and vegetable deliveries. I'll get a box every other week with half fruit and half vegetables. I'm hoping that having a variety of veg arrive on my doorstep will help inspire my cooking and challenge me to try out some new things and find some new recipes. Good times.

It's windy this morning and while I was out walking Lucy the wind was making ripples in the grass that moved across the field in just the same motion that the sand was being blown across the beach this time last year in Amrum. The temperature is perfect and the breeze is just a little cool (unlike in Amrum last year, where it was frigid) and it was just a beautiful feeling to be outside. I rather wished, though, that I were standing on some ocean cliff instead.


Summer cooking

I just made a Fruit Salad with Mint and Ginger Syrup.

Delicious. Photos later.


Lezebel fantasies

Some rather large part of me (maybe the Smithie in me?) really, truly, deeply hopes that Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson are actual, real-life lesbians.



I make Dan do this all the time, so I may as well. Things to do before he gets here.
  1. Obviously, work.
  2. Buy wedding lingirie. Go to Lady Grace and/or Intimacy.
  3. Buy wedding shoes.
  4. Buy dress/outfit for civil ceremony.
  5. Buy sandals.
  6. Figure out Adjustment of Status and Social Security Number paperwork.
  7. Get plane tickets for August.
  8. Get the apartment sorted a little better.
  9. Stop being a pathetic sap.


I'm feeling the need to do something creative. I know it's just filtered frustration because I know I need to be working, but I'm having a hard time motivating myself to do that. I know I'll feel better when I get some done, but it's still frustrating.


Maybe I have a bug up my ass, but ...

This article about the new American Girls movie is on my side, I think. Or I think A. O. (Anthony) Scott thinks he's on my side. His point about Hollywood neglecting girls (and women?) is right on and well taken, but his suggestion that Enchanted was a well-meant nod to girls doesn't quite rhyme with his bemoaning of the role models (fairy-tale princesses, Bratz and Barbie dolls, Lindsay Lohan) available to young women today (what about Hillary, Mr. Scott? Or even - God forbid - Condoleeza Rice -- let the record reflect that I do NOT like Condi, but I do respect that she is a woman who was risen to great power. Or how about Madeleine Albright? She's not too bad. Or maybe to be a role model you have to be young and sexy. That's right.). I may be mistaken, because I didn't have any interest in seeing that particular film, but isn't it a pretty standard Broadway musical cum fairy tale in which the goal of the female protagonist is to meet, enchant, and marry her man? That's really helpful.

Okay. Seriously this article isn't that bad, but I got all worked up after reading about Hillary and was mad at the media/world in general for its portrayal of women on all stages.

"Of mice and women..."

This is a very good column by Judith Warner.

It still makes me extremely sad, though, that we're talking about Hillary's run for President in the past tense. Damn it.

Maybe part of the problem is that she started out as a "trailing spouse" but then couldn't successfully negotiate the change to leading? (I don't think this is the case. She negotiated that shift beautifully. The public and her ex-President-husband left a little to desire in this area. He certainly didn't take kindly to it - note the wild campaign trail antics - and the public talked more about her as First Lady than as a potential President.

Also, this article in todays Times does portray the candidates as having come to a peaceful conclusion (read: Hillary is happy about no longer running, which I can't quite swallow), which is nice. However, the article really plays up Hillary's deference (she smiled deferentially while he spoke), wonders at the lack of physical affection between them (they're not suddenly in a relationship, even if the rally was a pseudo Love-in), and shows a photo with him in a very patriarchial/protective posture, one hand on the little girl's shoulder. Ugh.

I understand it's not her place to run the show anymore, but the press is going to have to find a better vocabulary to deal with that fact. I'm stunned by the continued sexism even after she's stopped being a threat to the country's collective machismo.

And no, Obama's little crack about her being able to "anything the boys can do, and do it better, and do it in heels" doesn't help. Anyone else ever noticed that the word boys has an entirely different effect than the word girls? It implies a kind of bosom-buddyness, an inside-joke tone, a faux humility which tries to come off as self-deprecation but instead actually brags of its down-to-earthness. It says "look at this powerful man who is confident enough to still feel like just one of the boys." There's the Old Boys network from the north and the Good Ol' Boys of the south. Always centers of power-brokerage. Girls, on the other hand are weak, deferential, and the use of the word generally doesn't cross into dialogues of politics or power. It's confined instead to girls' nights out, girly movies, girlish figures, etc. And what kills me is that Obama is signalling his consciousness of this voacabulary issue by very carefully saying that "Women can do whatever the boys do." He knows he isn't allowed to call Hillary a girl, but it suits his cause better to refer to himself as one of the boys. Anyway, what the FUCK do heels have to do with anything? Quick boys, undermine her authority and seriousness as quickly as you can! She could still go off at any moment!

Polemic over.