Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fluff and PB all around!

I just submitted my first resume and cover letter to a school in Boston!

I was practically shaking.

So we toasted to my successful professional career. . .

. . . with a very elegant Fluffahnuttah. Which has become an apartment tradition.

Only the best, you know.

The first of many applications. Unless, of course, they call me tomorrow and say, "You're the candidate of our dreams. Don't you dare apply anywhere else!"

Which would be nice, cause I've had quite a few fails this week that could use some making up for.

We have three sicks and three hold outs in our apartment right now.

Guess which category I belong too.

Does anyone else notice how many spelling and grammar mistakes I make? And then sometimes notice later and usually ignore....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beans, beans, the stubborn fruit

With shockingly little insight into my own cooking habits, I brought not one, but three bags of dried beans from home in August and sat them in my closet.
And thought as I put them on my parcel of shelf space, Well, these are going to be taking up a lot of space at the back of this tiny shelf all year.

But in a moment of motivation and productivity (and foolishness) I decided to not only take my first crack at chili, but use the dried beans too. Canned beans? Ha! Canned beans are for amateurs!

And clearly, with my zero hours of chili-making experience, I'm way past that stage.

Monday 3:30. Start soaking the beans, two hours minimum. No huge cooking pots, but how important can that be anyway? I so got this.

5:30. Drain and continue with the recipe. Well, my recipe doesn't use dried beans, but I'm assuming that you can just boil them. Everything can be boiled. How long could it take, 10 minutes? And by then the rest of the chili will be done. Perfect. Perfectly perfect. I'm a genius of mixing tomato sauce and meat and beans, clearly.

6:00. Beans still hard and white. But surely they're on the brink of cooked.

6:20. We eat the chili sans beans. And sans the salad I would have made had I not been busy worrying about the beans.

Maybe they just need more soaking? I'll finish cooking them and make something else with them later.

Thursday Having now soaked the beans for three whole days in a pot on the stove, more out of laziness than for their benefit, and with my apartment mates inquiring politely what I was doing them, I turn the beans on simmer. For three hours.

And after all that undeserved time and attention, the beans have still not managed to make themselves edible.

They're in the trash. I hope the raccoons don't touch them. I don't want these beans to have the satisfaction of nourishing anything.

Someone please introduce me to the evil genius who invented the can and then imprisoned the beans in its dark cold cell.

I haven't tried to find out what failed. Probably something entirely stupid and entirely my fault. Frankly, I don't want to know. I just want to be mad at the beans.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My unintentional rally for a rather dubious freedom

Last Saturday I was hanging around Boston Commons, (you know, like I always do....) and I noticed some commotion over toward the center of the park. I went to investigate.

Looked like a pretty normal faire at first. Cotton candy, jewelry vendors, crab cakes..(normal for New England that is...)
And then I started to notice a whole heck of a lot of vendors and t-shirts and posters that were sporting a very distinct leaf shape....

Hempfest 2011.

Well, the performers were calling it a "freedom rally." But I discovered it's street title later when the commuter rail director simultaneously congratulated his passengers on enjoying Hempfest and threatened us with police intervention should we mistake it for a "T-rail sponsored event." Apparently some out of town potheads thought they were riding for free....

The crowds mostly fit the stereotypes of people you might expect to gather to advocate the legalization of Marijuana.
The young and the pierced, the old and the unkempt.

But occasionally I spotted those who looked like they had absolutely no idea what was going on.

"I don't know Ma, this wasn't what I pictured when your sister said 'Freedom Trail."

And then I crossed over into the public gardens, where the usual yuppies and young families and tourists were doing their usual reading, running, chatting, picture-taking, general ignoring of each other.

And I smiled at the phenomenon that is Boston.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Planz about me me me

I'm currently in a resume writing, job applying, completely unsure of my future stage of my life.

It is two parts exciting, one part terrifying.

With just a touch of drudgery and a smidge of "How much easier would it be to live in my parents' basement forever?" (What? Smidge is totally a word! Spell-check, we cannot be friends.)

I'm currently trying to drink mint tea with honey and milk. Bad decision.

For a second I was trying to think of some kind of bad decision metaphor involving my life and tea, to justify my telling you that, but I gave up. Giving up. That could be a metaphor too.

But, ahem... anyway....

I know I told this blog once upon a time, here, that I was searching for grad schools. That has changed. Obviously.

And the reason for that is that I want to go back to South America... soonish.

This might be an excellent time to be very poetic about the golden-hearted intentions behind that statement, how much I was touched by the people over there, how much good can be done/found in developing countries ....

But the prosaic truth of the matter is, I just liked it.

I was touched by many people. And annoyed by others. I maybe did some good. And had some good done to me. But I'm not entirely sure that the balance on all that came out any more than it does in the states....

Mostly, I just liked it.

I like who I was when I was in Lima. I like the revelation/frustration that is intercultural interaction. I like really getting to know a place, specifically a city, that's so different.

Or, ya know, most of the time I liked it. Some of the time. Enough of the time.

And that's pretty much my motivation.

But first, I'm hoping to graduate in December, get a job around the Boston area for a little while, and be around in the spring when the rest of my class graduates. And then hopefully go elsewhere (Santiago? Buenos Aires?) somehow for a year or two, and afterwards maybe come back for grad school.

Well, that's the tentative plan for the moment anyway. This will probably/definitely change before all of that happens in that exact order. But plans are made to be broken.

I leave you with that very deep cliche. And that picture above which I've definitely used before.

Friday, September 9, 2011

And I ventured forth, guns blazing....

Last night, at around 12:30 AM, some mad students decided that they were gonna to have a midnight volleyball game/shouting contest. From the noise they were making, fifty feet from our window, it seems they thought everyone else was partying on a Thursday night too.

Au contraire, my roommate and I were trying to sleep. As, I imagine, was all the rest of our dorm apartment building. I tried to be happy that they were having fun for a whole ten minutes, and then I sat up and turned on the light.

Jess turns over and looks at me questioningly as I throw the covers back.

"I'm going to shoot them," I say.


"Do you have your key card?"

So I march down in my jammies, gun cocked, feet bare, and say, "Excuse me, it's 12:30 and we're trying to sleep. Could you please keep it down?"

I trek back up to the third floor.

"That was the most polite shooting I ever heard," Jess says. "They haven't stopped. But now they keep shushing each other when they make noise."

"Well, you can go down and shoot them again in another 10 minutes if they're not completely dead by then."

"Ok. I'll go down in 10 minutes."

Luckily, it turned out that the first round of politeness did it. They were soon gone.

Had to have been sophomores. Sophomores are old enough to feel like they own the place and young enough to disrupt it in the middle of the night.

Not aaall sophomores, of course. Lighten up.
And they did leave at the first complaint, so I really can't complain.

Monday, September 5, 2011

This has a perfectly logical explanation

Well, the socket halfway up the wall has none that we know of. But the crockpot on the box on the chair in the living room does.

We have a circuit problem. In the first two weeks of school we blew the fuse... five times maybe? That I remember. And once it was twice in three hours.

And, since we definitely don't have the key to the fuse box, we had to call either public safety or physical plant, shamefaced like little puppy dogs who had just peed in the corner again. "Really, I thought that unplugging the lamp would be enough!"

All we had to do was turn on more than one warming appliance or use more than one lamp and then poof! Gone.

At least one time the public safety guy was cute. After that I felt like boiling water, toasting bread, and making bread in the machine under the light of three lamps might become a a habit. Don't worry, I wasn't that stupid before!

But anyway, now we have a general policy of turning on only one or two appliances in the kitchen at a time.

Which is why when my garlic brown sugar chicken needed to sit in the crockpot for six hours, and I thought it likely that we'd probably need to use more than one other appliance in the kitchen, and turn on the lights and leave the refrigerator running at the same time, I had to get creative.

So I trucked the crockpot into the living room.

And dealt with the mysterious floating outlets.

Aren't you proud of me, all thinking ahead and problem solvey?

I've got ground to make up, because probably more than half of the blown fuses were my fault. Heh.

Now if only the chicken comes out well...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Je suis une d├ębutante

That could be horribly, horribly wrong. Which would prove my point.

I'm taking French!

No reason. For fun. Because I have time and elective credits to fill.

And because if I teach ESL eventually, it's beneficial to know the basics of lots of languages.

And because I was almost embarrassed to realize when talking to European and other exchange students in Lima that speaking two languages is nothing to brag about. Seriously, they were all whipping out like four or five to my two.

So far I feel the constant urge to speak Spanish in my French class. Especially when I need to say something, and I know I should be speaking some type of non-English. But I definitely can't ask "Is that why English shares more formal than non-formal vocabulary with romance languages?" in French.

I've resisted so far. Except for the occasional "y" instead of "et. "

Can you imagine how disastrous/offensive that urge could be when speaking to immigrants who are native speakers in real life? "Not all immigrants speak Spanish, you silly American!"

I'm fighting it.

Awesome event I went to in Lynn last night. May I never be too old for face painting!