for those who are in or around sane

Friday, February 22

good grief...

this is the manuscript i get to send out today. the stapler is in there for perspective. 46 chapters... yowch!!

the search

the search for a new apartment has started. prospective roommate e and i have our feelers out in all directions (well, extending no further than armitage, grand, western or ashland...) and the walk-throughs will commence today.

i'm nervous about this. last time i searched for apartments i felt pushed into a choice i couldnt afford. yes, i ended up enjoying my surroundings and was definitely thankful for the move southward, but i still felt uneasy about the situation. this time around, i'm a bit more skeptical than i was a year ago. i really dont wish my hesitance to be a deterrent or obstacle in the process, so i've laid out my concerns flat, and since my future roomie is not a close friend (yet), i feel that we can work together, patiently, to find a very nice place.

some things i learned about my future roomie that make me happy: she likes english muffins, cribbage, wine, frozen pizza, owns an electric tea kettle and listens to wait wait dont tell me every saturday. the funniest thing we have in common is that neither of us like to make phone calls, which means we'll always argue over who calls for take-out. her bday is exactly a month after mine and she reads (almost) as much as i do.

sounds great, right? well... the ultimate test will be settling on an apartment. i really hope that our amicable sentiments will keep us civil and gracious... tall order, i know... wish us luck!

Wednesday, February 13


there are many things i cannot post about on this blog. this blog started out as a forum for my anonymous rants and thoughts; a safe place for my meditations. it's now a place where friends and family turn for insight into my life. as proud as i am that people care about me that much, its also a detriment to the blog itself. it becomes a difficult trough to fill - i dont want to put sludge in there. i want it filled with healthy things that inspire and encourage growth. i want to fill it with cheap laughs and snippets of wonderment. and of course, the very nature of the blog: a good bitch session or two. 

but to be honest, i am tired of creating stuff for everyone else. i'm tired of putting up PG pix and only posting about books and politics (wait, politics?). 

i want vent about the betrayals in my life. i want to pound my chest and shed snotty tears on my keyboard and clack out my woes until i feel better. i'm sick of being afraid of what people will think.

the past six months has been difficult and tumultuous, enlightening and relieving. all at once. today was a day where i felt all of those things in a 12 hour time span. i'm exhausted. 

i thought i was loved and respected by some, but i'm not. and when i look around corners, i'm finding amazing people i never expected. the former have all but literally crushed me, the latter are helping me keep my sanity.

for lent this year, i decided to stop feeling unnecessary guilt. i realize this is a task too large for a 40 day time span, but the guilt is so widespread that it's rather easy to start. i can literally pick and choose b/c in any one day, there is always some very obvious guilt that i do not need. 

today it's guilt over loss. i prolly shouldnt have picked such a big one for a wednesday - its been a long week at work already and i'm only halfway done. so i'll only think about certain losses. 

i once had an enviable support unit. this compact group of people who reacted instinctively and supported each other through thick and thin. 

...maybe i didnt. maybe it was never there. 

regardless, in my head i had it, and now that same group has cut off a limb - a living piece of it's own flesh. 

i could dwell on the decaying flesh, but since i'm changing my viewpoint, i choose to see that group as an asexual simple-celled organism. freed, the flesh develops it's own life, limbs and means of animation. it becomes more complex in and of itself than it had been as part of that group. 

it's a small shift of the mind, but it's a start. 

Friday, February 8

the foodie in me

last night i went home craving gnocci... it's safe to say that the dreary gray days, cold, inconsistent weather and being a "carb person" influenced my desire. i've only had gnocci in restaurants as i believe it's a delicacy and should only be attempted by those more experienced than myself. this is, of course, arguable b/c for one, i have friends who have made incredible gnocci (sweet potato gnocci with maple butter..mmm...) and second, i've had really bad gnocci at places like embrace in hinsdale.

on my delayed trip home (thank you potholes), i noticed a trader joe's on ogden in downers grove and so i pulled in. when one is hungry for bizarre foods, one should venture to trader joe's. meandering the aisles, i picked up some nonfat yogurt, brie cheese, mochi, organic coffee, pretzel thins (my new fave snack) and there, in aisle two: gnocci!!! i nearly tripped over myself in excitement, promptly threw a bag into my cart and started planning my meal.

i decided to go simple and use a sage butter with parmesan. a side salad of baby greens, grape tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette would suffice to round out the meal.

i melted butter in a frying pan over medium heat and added roughly chopped garlic when the butter started foaming (i cut a clove into 6 pieces - i didnt want it to overpower the sage). when the butter started turning brown, i added about 12 finely chopped leaves of sage and swirled the pan a few times. i turned off the heat and let the mixture cool down while the gnocci were boiling.

after removing the gnocci promptly after floating to the top of the pot, i drizzled the butter mixture over the yumminess, added a bit of sea salt and a few good grinds of fresh black pepper and tossed to coat.

i plated the gnocci in a deep bowl and added a bit of fresh parmesans cheese. a nice glass of pillar box red, salad in hand and i was more than ready to eat my "gourmet" meal while pondering the newest episodes of lost and eli stone...

overall rating of: YUM!!

Tuesday, February 5

january books

january is a good month for reading. lots of snowy, cold days with nothing to do but curl up and plow through a book. this january i spent a week traveling for work, which gave me many idle hours that i filled with some pretty good stuff.

the audiobook
long way down, by nick hornby
i've always loved nick hornby's self-effacing characters and how they relate to the world around them. this one follows four english folks of different backgrounds (and yet, all still middle class and white) who by chance meet on top of a building as each are about to jump to his or her death. they agree to meet again, and again, and each new encounter gives us more backstory, more momentum for that jump - but... it never actually happens, in the physical sense. each character has a long way to go to figure him or herself out.

yeah, it's kind of a downer book, and nothing terribly exciting happens. some of the characters are more 3-dimensional than others, and the ending is sort of predictable. not the best hornby book, by far, but if you like his style, you wont be disappointed.

the book club book
eat, pray, love by elizabeth gilbert
yes, yes, i received my mandatory copy of "epl" this past holiday season... in fact, i gave the book to two people, so it's fitting that i, in turn, received it. it also happened to be the book club book for janurary (which got pushed into february b/c of travel). i started reading with skepticism, which is not how i should approach a book - ever.

let me preface by saying that my favorite female author is anne lamott. she's got a fabulous writing style that unabashedly encompasses humility, humor, faith, miracles, trials and... well... honesty. i fell in love with her rosie and crooked little heart fiction books... i ate up her memoirs in operating instructions and plan b... i scrutinized bird by bird and still try to use what i've learned from her in my own writing. anne blurbed "epl" and so i gave it a chance, skeptical as i was.

epl is the story of the author's self-recovery - literally: recovering herself after being lost for many years. she indulges us with her journey through italy... she gently explains her faith and devotion as she meditates in india... and she shares with us her recovered and newfound passions in indonesia. its cute, its smart and it's self-indulgent.... sure that last one is a knock to her writing style, which at times was too flowery and over-explanatory, but i enjoyed her journey and i learned a few things on the way. she's close to anne lamott, but not close enough to move my loyalty.

ironically, tonite is the book club meeting (if it doesnt snow...). i may give an update about how it fairs as a book club book. but i have a good idea that it will fair very well.

the recommendation
the gathering, by anne enright
i checked out the micawber's website before i left on my trip and got a couple of book recommendations. this one was the store's best seller for december, so i checked it out of the library. if you are looking for a different take on "family realization" stories, i would recommend this one. it's a modern-day irish story about a family of 11 children. the main character is one of the middle children and she brings her older brother's dead body back to the family house for his funeral. it's more about her sorting out family truths and bonds and how she's grieving her lost brother (her best sibling) than about the actual journey or funeral.

as a paradox, i had a very hard time deciphering some of the irish phrases (which were either irish words or simply just colloquialisms), but i enjoyed her languid style of writing. we follow the main character's thoughts as if they were actually happening at that moment - disjointed, full of hypotheses and jealousies and seemingly immaterial tangents. so, once i got over the language barrier, i was able to enjoy her prose which is smart and insightful without being all "dr phil." tackle this one with care and patience.

the indulgence
the subtle knife, by philip pullman
2nd in the "his dark materials" series. ok, i know i said that i didnt see the religious undertones in the golden compass, because apparently, they start here. yowsa! this guy is tackling some hard topics!

i really enjoyed this book, and i hear that #3 is even better (i'm next in line at the library). lyra meets will, who comes from our world. they meet in a 3rd world, having escaped from their own for life threatening reasons. i really dont want to give too much away here... its a story about how they find out what they need to do next... what is the next chapter... which could possibly be destroying god or helping to destroy god or perhaps destroying the people who want to destroy god... it's all a bit confusing at this point, but i'm in love with the concept because it's so well written.

and so i've entered february - with grandiose ideals of how many books i can read in one month... so far... so good. we'll see if all of these inadvertent snow days will allow me to curl up and READ as much as i'd love to!