Friday, August 27, 2010

I need an apron...

As I live and breathe, I never thought I would utter that phrase. And yet, as I am preparing for a get together I am baking three different types of cookies. Below are the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies that just came out of the oven.

HEAVEN. Next up are the Chocolate Chip Toffee Almond; although those are kind of a cop out, because I am making them from a mix my student gave me.

What is happening to me? Someone who literally did not use her oven ONCE in the two years she lived in New Jersey is now baking multitudes of cookies, muffins, cupcakes, ohhhh man. Thank goodness for my half marathon, or I would need to pull out the big girl pants again.

My domesticity is a bit frightening. I suppose quite a bit of it is brought on by my frugal nature. Why buy cookies when you can bake them yourself? But whatever is inspiring me to fire up my oven every other day also probes me to remind my friends and family that I have a birthday coming up. What better present than an apron to keep me from getting flour all over my royal blue dress?

Let's see how the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Craisins turn out...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Myth of the Evil Alto....Debunked!

Those of you who know me well are aware of my past as a musical theater and a cappella dork. I could be defensive and say it was a stage, but even now I enjoy prancing around my apartment singing along to the Spring Awakening soundtrack. Ok, fine--the Little Mermaid soundtrack is also frequently on my playlist. And since I am so unashamed about my penchant for anything sing-along, it has become overwhelmingly clear that my voice part is shamelessly typecast. Why, just because in my good days I could hit a low E, must my range be devoted solely to people or parts like this:

And of course, this is what the soprano princesses look like:

So maybe, my lack of femininity is thanks to Disney, Broadway, and Fox. My low register consistently relegated me to singing Alto II (read: female bass), and therefore I lacked the ability to be ladylike. It's an interesting theory. Or maybe I need to step away from my Disney soundtracks.

I could see this two ways--one is that altos represent all that is wrong with the female paradigm--they tend to be devious, controlling, or just plain cynical; and they all seem to represent that a man is not necessary for fulfillment. OR, here's theory number two:

Altos do not represent the demise of femininity; rather they are a symbol of progress. We are bold, strong, and let's be honest--badass. And Sop I's--let's be honest; where would you be if you didn't have us to hold down the foundation?

(reader's note/disclaimer: This is a personal blog, and its intent is to make harmless (hopefully at times, witty) commentary. The opinions expressed here represent my own inner monologue, and are not meant to offend outsiders. My fancy-schmansy way of saying that Sopranos are a-OK).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Embracing my feminine side, in more ways than one

In one of my recent posts, I addressed how I am becoming more domestic than I could have imagined. Well no, I still detest cleaning, but my cooking abilities are vastly improving. Here's a new question--am I maternal?

Here I am on Sunday night babysitting--Lulu, the sweetest little girl who lives in the apartment downstairs. I think what really got me was how much she reminded me of my niece, Lily, who I never get to see because she is across the country in California. Just like Lily, Lulu is energetic, precocious, and OBSESSED with princesses. A trait that makes me laugh a bit, as I have never been much of a "girly-girl," so to speak.

Lulu woke up a little while ago, and since this is the first time I have sat for her, she was distraught when she found me in the living room, rather than her mother. After a minor meltdown, she picked up her princess wand, which was sitting on the coach, and proceeded to tell me about its uses. I helped her back into bed, and I told her I would hold the magic wand and protect it for her so she could play with it the next day. Then it was back to dreamland for Lulu.

I'm sure some of it is her resemblance to Lily, but at that moment, I felt my maternal instinct kicking in--big time.

No, Mom (if you are reading this), there is no baby any time in the future. HAH, let's wait for the engagement ring first. But man o man, there is a part of me that can't wait to be a mom. And there is another part of me that can't believe I am writing this...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Oh New Haven, How I Love/Hate You...

In many ways, New Haven is a miniaturized version of Manhattan--or at least that's the image it tries to purvey. Certainly, it is not devoid of fine dining, yoga studios, and hair salons. Okay, maybe they don't have "Doga," but honestly, what is that? When I first heard the description, I pictured myself attending a class with a large breed dog--perhaps a weimaraner or doberman. I really explode into the giggles when I try to imagine getting this dog to sit still for an entire hour, or to try to set this less-than-dainty pup on my belly as I take wheel pose.

....I digress. a) I don't have a weimaraner or doberman. b) As I stated previously, New Haven doesn't have doga, so why am I even debating this?

Right, what I was saying. New Haven has most of the things that a cultured Manhattanite would want in life. We even have a wide selection of art galleries and museums, thanks to Yale. And like many cities, we also have these:

The street sweeper. That awkwardly large, annoyingly loud vehicle that attempts to rid the streets of their litter and grime. (Although my cynical side is inclined to think that the less-than-green New Havenites that live on my side of the tracks probably erase the progress of these trucks in circa 15 minutes). The street sweeper is like a non-fun version of a zamboni--especially because there are no drunken hockey fans present to celebrate its arrival. The other thing that is just lovely about the street sweeper is that it is accompanied by a local towing company, and will promptly remove your car if it is in the way.

If you read up until this point, you are probably correct to assume that I fell victim to the mean and vicious street sweeper/tower duo. It's never fun to start your day to suddenly realize you forgot to move your car, run down the stairs (barely having the time to put on pants--I mean, priorities, people!), only to find that yes, your car is gone.

This situation, at least in my book, was made more comical by the fact that my car still contains my old bedroom dresser, left over from my move. Good thing I gave away my microwave to a neighbor the week before. So, not only was my car MIA; so was the dresser that I adorned with stickers at age 6.

At the end of the day, the car and the dresser were still intact, and after a $77 towing fee and $50 ticket, it was all mine again.

I suppose this is the price I pay to finally be living in a city again after six years. Sure, I had my stint living in the New York City area, albeit on the wrong side of the Hudson (sorry New Jersey-ites, but it's just not the same). I will chalk it up as one of the many war wounds I will surely accumulate as I live here. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the pleasures of living in a city that is as rich in culture as it is in crime. That reminds me: I need to buy some Mace.

To be continued....

p.s. The parking sign above is not actually from my street. Ours, I believe, reads no parking every 1st and 3rd Thursday from 7am-3pm. Always a joy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grad Student, or Domestic?

Those of you who know me are aware that I have had a whirlwind summer, to say the least. I still remember June 14th--the date of my last faculty meeting--thinking how carefree I would feel for the next three months. Some beach time, some yoga time; clearly a vacation of some sort. Ok, maybe a budget vacation, but still an opportunity to get out of town.

Flash forward five days and I am in Newark, Delaware in the ICU unit of a hospital, staring at my dad hooked up to all kinds of machines. His left foot was amputated just above the ankle, and his face was swollen and practically unrecognizable. A few hours earlier when I got the phone call from my mom, I remember the thoughts rushing through my head. "Your father was hit while riding his motorcycle," she says, and before she even could complete the sentence, I was thinking to myself, oh my god, my dad is dead.

Again, for those of you who know me, you are well aware that my dad is not dead, and in fact, he is recovering nicely. He has been home from the hospital for over two weeks now, and he should be fitted for a prosthesis sometime within the month. In all, life is good--or at least, we are lucky that it's not worse.

Essentially, what this translated into for me was a month where I took a break from my own life and turned into a surrogate mom. I helped her with errands, dog watching, and cooking. Well, let's be honest--out of nowhere, I embraced my inner Julia Child. And of course, there were the daily hospital visits.

I don't know if it's strange, but I actually really enjoyed being a help to them. One moment I remembered in particular was pushing my dad's wheelchair through a corridor at Bryn Mawr rehab. I casually joked to him that I would check to see if there was an adult version of a jogging stroller--I could take him on an 8 mile run in Fairmount Park. He politely refused (I wonder why), but there was something very powerful about feeling like I was behind him, making sure he got to where he needed to go.

Eventually, I needed to return to my own life. I had an apartment in New Jersey that still needed to be vacated, and a new one in New Haven that still very much looks like a storage locker. But my domestic side hasn't left me. Just this morning, I sent Pat to work with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and coffee to go, jokingly saying, "have fun at school, honey!" I can't help it--despite my cynicism, there is a domestic in me somewhere.

I hope this trend continues when grad school starts. If anything, because we will have to adjust to living on a shoe string budget again; and daily Starbucks breakfasts simply will not do. It's funny though, right? Despite my strong urge to further my career and push my brain to it's limit; I am also just as satisfied with an apron and a spatula (well, I don't have an apron, but you get the idea). Oh, and I just broke out my muffin tin--we'll see where the day takes me...