Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Let There Be Light

After Thanksgiving, I went home with my parents for a couple of days while Ty returned to our apartment. I did this for a few reasons--I wanted to be there for my dad's birthday, I wanted to make sure nobody threw away my old Colorforms during The Great Basement Cleanout, and, frankly, I wanted a break from working, cooking, washing my pots and pans, destroying my junk mail, and doing my laundry near-daily. A break from my routine, basically. Also, my high school reunion was this past weekend, and I wanted to be sure that I was five minutes away from it as I intentionally missed it.

So, while I was in Lazy Mode, I was spending a lot of time with my mother, who is never in Lazy Mode. This woman is so efficient that she offers me tea within two minutes of my waking up, even as my bladder is only partially evacuated. She can emerge from the bathtub sparklingly clean in 90 seconds. She laughs with a particular kind of knowledge when Eddie Murphy describes how his mother could be simultaneously talking on the phone and cooking dinner, yet still throw an object across the room with precision aim.

While home with my parents, I stayed in my old bedroom, which still has my old furniture and books and dolls, and now also serves as storage space for the rest of the family. I haven't slept there in a long time, because now that Ty and I are married, we get to sleep together in the double bed in the guest bedroom. So I was looking at my old room with fresh eyes.

I first looked at my old room with fresh eyes when I was about ten years old. That was when we moved to the suburbs from the city, to my everlasting dismay. I understood then why my parents did it, but I understand better now. My mother had been mugged at gunpoint in broad daylight in our beautiful residential neighborhood, and I was getting to the age where I was asking when I would be allowed to go for walks alone. Also, some people were robbing homes on our street by ringing the bell and pushing in the people when they went to answer the door. AND the kid down the block came home barefoot and freezing once; his sneakers and jacket had been stolen from him. This was the era of "No Radio" signs and broken car window glass all over the street. So, we moved to a suburban neighborhood with pretty lawns, an underage drinking problem, and football.

My old, old room in the city had been painted a shade of lavender so light you could barely tell it was lavender. We painted my new old room lavender, too, but the shade was much more pronounced. In my old, old room, the lightswitch when you first walked in was connected to a large, bright, centrally-located overhead lighting fixture. After I saw Gremlins when I was very little, I slept for several weeks with that light on all night. My new old room has two low-wattage wall fixtures on either side of the room. When I stayed there this past week, I couldn't believe how dark it was. I couldn't believe I'd lived in that dark room for eight years.

Ty and I joke that he's into atmospheric lighting, while I like it surgical-bright. In fact, after he leaves for work in the morning, the first thing I do is brighten the light. Now I know why.

I was angry at my parents for a long time for moving. Now that I'm an adult, I've moved back, just like I said I would. They are very good parents and understand why I did. And I understand why they left, and why they aren't coming back.

We can joke about it now. When my dad found out about the high school reunion, he said, "You should go!" in his wide-eyed dad way. In my sarcastic daughter way, I said, "I'll go to the reunion when you move back to the city."

We laughed and ate some pasta.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

20 of the Many Things I'm Thankful For

In random order:

1. my TempurPedic bed;

2. my TempurPedic bedmate;

3. my loving parents;

4. my witty, witty brother;

5. FreshDirect;

6. modern medicine, so that I have a best friend with a faint 1-inch appendectomy scar instead of a best friend in a pine box;

7. modern technology, so that I can easily keep in touch with her even after she moves across the country;

8. dogs;

9. fresh pineapple;

10. Italian pork stores;

11. Snood;

12. Caller ID;

13. autumn in New York (the season, not the film);

14. orange pekoe tea;

15. being healthy enough even to consider having a baby;

16. The Onion;

17. becoming "Mom" to Ty's cat before he died;

18. fresh rosemary;

19. my small down throw blankets;

20. my readers.

I will resume regular posting next Monday, unless I get super-ambitious.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Bad People

Yesterday I was thinking about how much effort we exert each day to keep away The Bad People.

I figure I spend around an hour a week destroying credit card offers and financial information, lest they fall into the wrong hands in the trashcan. It takes no less than four keys to get me into my apartment--keys I whip out well in advance of arriving home, so that I don't have to linger at the door like a twitchy little bunny. I've lost count of how many different usernames and passwords I have. I consider my phone number to be more personal than my dress size. On this blog, I've posted a picture of my (clothed) breasts, but not of my face. Granted, I'm a bit more safety-and-privacy-conscious than the average person, having had some bad experiences in the past. Still, none of the efforts I've described could really be considered unusual.

Sometimes I think that, ideally, none of us should have to lock our doors, ever; that people just shouldn't go into homes and apartments that aren't theirs, and shouldn't log into other peoples' online accounts. Obviously, this would never work. There is too much curiosity within the human spirit. It is this curiosity that has led us, as a species, to wondrous discoveries, like electricity, flying across an ocean, and pairing tomato and mozzarella.

How does the impulse to find things out go awry? When does good become bad?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sugar Cookies

Some of them have lemon icing to cover the burned parts. I baked these to test this new recipe before I serve them to guests. It is a good thing that I did this. A very, very good thing. Don't let their little round sugary cuteness fool you; they taste like golden baked hockey pucks.

I'm hoping that if I bury them in the back of the refrigerator and forget about them, they will magically turn into chocolate cake.

Helluva Town

On Thursday C.S. stabbed me in the heart by announcing that she plans to move to Los Angeles. Yep, she's packing up the twins and taking off.

This is a woman who says that what comes out of the faucet is "waw-ter." (The best in the country, by the way.) When you need to buy something, you go to the "mawl." (Of course, we don't really have those here in New Yawk.) I am a lifelong New Yorker, and, when confronted with C.S.'s version of a New York accent, an out-of-towner once asked me if I was British.

Her announcement reduced me to a sobbing, quivering mass. I cried so much that the next morning, I had black-and-blues under my eyes, like the kind often observed on women who have recently pushed 10-pound people through their vaginas. I should mention that I also once cried during "The Golden Girls." (For the record, it was the homeless shelter episode, which was extremely touching. They played "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and everything.) Still, crying hard enough to break capillaries is unusual, even for me.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the right thing for C.S. to do. She's just spinning her wheels here. She needs a break, and probably has ever since she and I stupidly elected not to spend our junior year of college abroad. Still, my heart is breaking.

I've never known anyone quite like C.S. She understood me immediately. To her, it made perfect sense that I would subscribe both to Mad and to Cosmopolitan, and that my interests would include recombinant DNA, baking, women's health, vintage Barbie dolls, and visiting museums with preserved human remains. She's the sister I never had, right down to our mutual dark curly hair, and she's the only friend I have (other than my husband) who says "I love you."

I was one of the last people C.S. told about her plans to move. I know that she waited so long because of our special relationship, because it was so hard to tell me. It reminded me, though, of that startling feeling during a breakup. You spend so much time with someone as the one person in which they confide all their secrets and ideas, and then one day they decide to end the relationship, and they can't tell you until their mind is made up. * That's how it felt.

Although C.S. and I live in the same neighborhood, we really don't see each other all that often. We do talk throughout the day, almost every day; thanks to modern technology, that doesn't have to change.

My biggest fear, though, is that she'll meet someone she likes better than me, or that she'll change, and I'll change, and we'll grow apart. Maybe I'll become a boring stroller mom (hopefully), and she'll join up with a pack of hippies and begin a drug-filled odyssey like that chick in Forrest Gump, or she'll get a really cool job and really great clothes and go to cocktail parties every night while I juggle poopy diapers and the slow cooker, or, if I'm less fortunate, fertility treatments. Or, maybe she'll go to L.A., enjoy it for a year or so, and come home, relatively unchanged. We just don't know.

I do know that if she doesn't do this now, she'll probably regret it. And I know that I need to let her go.

But that doesn't mean I won't guilt her into buying me lunch today.

(*Yes, I'm aware of the lack of agreement between "person" and "they", but his/her would have distracted from the impact, don't you think?)

Friday, November 18, 2005

More Useful Than Diagramming Sentences

"Gypped" is an offensive ethnic slur. Say "cheated" instead.

"Cursing" includes words such as the popular "four-letter" words (i.e. "shit," "fuck," and their variants, such as "shithead" and "motherfucker"), as well words such as "bitch," "bastard," and "asshole." Many of these words originated as coarse slang references to bodily functions and activities. While rough-sounding and uncouth, when used sparingly and subject to stringent time, place, and manner restrictions, these words serve as important pressure release valves in the English language, have rich histories, and can create striking conversational and literary effects.

"Blasphemy" is very different from, and far more severe than, "cursing." The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines blasphemy as "profane talk of something supposed to be sacred; impious irreverence." Expressions such as "G-- damn," or "J---- C-----!" shouted irreverently, are examples. Several different denominations' versions of the Ten Commandments include a prohibition of blasphemy. If you choose to use blasphemous words and phrases in public, be aware that some people find them at least as offensive as ethnic slurs.

Thanks, Ty, for that OED set. It was a wonderful present.

Thanks, Mr. W, for teaching me much of this very helpful information in high school. It was among the most practical stuff I learned there. This post's for you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


When I started this blog, I told myself I would not be discussing politics, for two primary reasons:

1.) There are approximately 2,319,678,432 blogs out there dedicated to politics, churning out the discourse better than I ever could;

2.) Reasonable minds can differ. People of all races, religions, creeds, sexual orientations, and political beliefs may gather at the same table and break bread together at the Trattoria Breve. Those who are not interested in sitting side by side in such a varied group are welcome to excuse themselves to the kitchen, where they may wash dishes. Clean towels are in the drawer under the sink. The rest of us will be eating stuffed yellow squash, prime rib, garlic smashed potatoes, spinach salad with walnuts and dried cranberries, cauliflower au gratin, creme brulee, and chocolate pecan pie. We'll let you know when we're done with our plates.

As you may or may not have noticed, I link to sites where different people express different political affiliations. I hesitated quite a bit before doing this. My readers, though few, are politically and geographically all over the map, and I did not want to facilitate conflict or bad feelings. Ultimately, I chose the links I chose because you people are interesting and write well, and that, to me, is reason enough to go ahead and do it.

I generally will not be discussing my political beliefs on this blog, subject of course to my own personal definition of "politics," and to the fact that, since it's my blog, I may change my mind at any time. Please know, however, that whatever your views are, I respect your rights to hold them and to express them.

That being said, something that Mignon wrote the other day particularly caught my attention. She printed the text of a letter written by a Clare Kelly of Missoula, Montana, to a local newspaper. The subject was "choices men could make that would prevent abortion." One of Ms. Kelly's suggestions was, "Learn your partner's menstrual cycle and track it on your calendar. Most men have no clue when a woman can or cannot conceive."

For that matter, many women have no clue when they themselves can or cannot conceive. Even women who have read Paradise Lost in its entirety and are familiar with L'Hôpital's Rule. There is tremendous discourse concerning sex education in the schools, in general, and condoms, abstinence, spermicides, bananas, IUD's, etc. Why is it that one scarcely hears about teaching women to track their menstrual cycles and recognize ovulation? Even in the absence of sex, this is basic body-cycle information, far more relevant to human beings than learning about the circadian rhythms of insects, yet likely taught less frequently. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The details of an individual woman's cycle, like world cuisine or the work of a great but obscure artist, is one of those wondrous things that we must generally learn about on our own instead of in school. For any women or men interested in reading about how it works, I recommend Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH. I found it well-written and full of good information.


I think the hardest thing about not getting pregnant right away is having so much time to prepare for something you can never be fully prepared for. That, and breaking out because you went off your acne medication in anticipation of the formation of an imminent placental conduit.

Actually, it's both of those things. It's the profound and the mundane. It's dropping $4 words (or whatever the expression is) in your blog entry instead of cooing baby talk to your stomach. It's savoring cocktails, even though you've never really been all that into drinking, because you know that if you couldn't drink them you'd miss them.

It's really, really, really enjoying soft cheeses. And running around naked in your apartment.

If you get pregnant right away, even if you've been trying, there has to be an element of, "Now what have I done?" Of course, if you've been trying, that feeling is hopefully eclipsed by happiness and marvel. When you don't get pregnant right away, you're left thinking: "What am I about to do?" It's a constant state of uncertainty.

But maybe it's that uncertainty that keeps you going. Maybe that's how you're able to look, happily, at clothing you might buy for Christmas for the baby your distant relative just had--and (unknowingly) named the name you had chosen for your own child.

Or maybe it's that uncertainty that you just have to get used to, for the rest of your adult life, one way or another.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What to do When the Dried Cranberries You Bought Don't Taste as Good as You'd Hoped

Eat them with walnuts.

The Measure of a Man

My father is the very definition of a technophobe. For years, when he wanted to watch something on the VCR, he would sit in his armchair, random remote control in one hand and VHS tape in the other, and call out for my mother or brother or me to come into the living room.

"How do you work this thing?" was the usual question.

Sighing, we'd take the tape and show him the half dozen quick maneuvers necessary to put it on, knowing we'd just be explaining again the next time.

"Make it louder," he'd say, his encyclopedic knowledge of European history, romance languages, theology, and bill due dates crowding out his ability once again to discern the VCR remote from the television remote. Now, of course, it's the same thing, only with a DVD player. Technological innovation at work.

Sometimes I think he's about to surprise me. He once said to me, "I'm going to the kitchen to heat up a piece of fresh mozzarella pizza with basil. Would you like one?"

I sat back and relaxed, visions of crushed garlic dancing in my head. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Moments later, he called out to me, "Arabella, how do you work this thing?"

I went downstairs to find that he had placed a single slice of pizza on a paper plate, in the oven, with the dial set to Broil.

His lack of interest in modern technology even extends to recall of the proper titles of movies and TV shows. When my brother and I were teenagers, he'd say, "Put on that show for me......what's it called.....'Family'......."

"'Married with Children,'" my brother would respond, fluent in Dadspeak.

One night, when Ty and I sat at the dinner table with my parents, my dad announced, "Your mother and I saw a great film this week. It was called.....something....Little Dogs....."

"Best in Show," I responded.

One day, I was telling Ty about the dollhouse my parents gave me when I was about six years old, and how I gave unique, made-up, and frequently multisyllabic names to all the dolls in the dollhouse family.

To my complete and utter surprise, Dad listed them all, one by one.

It was one of the most touching moments of my adult life.

My father is a brilliant man who hates getting bogged down with details. He doesn't remember them because they just aren't that important to him--even the details that help him engage in leisure activities that he likes.

But the names that I, his daughter, made up for my dolls twenty-plus years ago, THAT's important to him.

I don't care if he trades in his typewriter and gets a quill pen instead of a PC. With that one recollection, my father has taught me more about life than I could learn in medical school.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Proof of Peppers

a.k.a. "I Finally Learned How to Take and Download Pictures from the Camera Without Ty's Help."

Roasted sweet orange bell peppers, marinated in extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh organic garlic.

Now that's a salad ingredient.

Cured Meats and Corpses

Ty and I have returned from our wonderful trip to Philly! Thanks, Mrs. Harridan, for your great suggestions!

On Friday, we went straight to Tony Luke's for sandwiches (as per Mrs. Harridan's advice). At Tony Luke's, we Partook of the Pork--specifically, the Roast Pork Italian, which was deliciously moist roasted pork brilliantly paired with broccoli rabe and sharp shaved provolone on Italian bread. Mmmmm. I preferred this to the cheesesteak, which, though good, was less interesting, in my opinion. We had it with provolone, and vowed to return to try it with Whiz.

We then went to Body Worlds, which I found more reverent, less creepy, and even more compelling than I expected. Very powerful. After the Dead Body Display Fiesta, we went to dinner at Bridgid's, also recommended by Mrs. Harridan, where I had Delicious Creamy Red Snapper and Ty had Veal in Really Good Sauce (entree titles embellished as per my memory).

The next day, we hit Mutter, which was as interesting as I'd hoped. After working up an appetite by looking at gangrenous limbs in jars and wax models of severe dermatological conditions, we went to Chickie's Italian Deli for lunch.

Chickie's was profiled in "Sandwiches That You Will Like." They are famous for their Veggie Hoagie, which is packed with eggplant, broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, provolone, and other beautiful things on soft, crusty Italian bread. The Veggie Hoagie can be on the left (next to the Italian Hoagie), in a shot that doesn't do it justice.

Later, at Reading Terminal Market, we bought a Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Sausage and Wrapped in Bacon, because, well, how can you see something like that and not buy it?

And now, having both eaten what I've eaten this weekend and seen the bodies and diseased organs at Body Worlds, I will be eating salad for lunch every day this week. Salad with homemade roasted peppers, but salad nonetheless.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Greatest Documentary in the History of Documentary Filmmaking

One warm, lovely night this past summer, I made dinner and decided we would eat in the living room near the open window. I had set the table and was relaxing on the couch when Ty arrived home.

"Hey, there's a concert in the park tonight. I thought maybe we'd head over there after dinner, since it's such a beautiful night," he suggested.

Normally, I love a concert in the park--any concert in the park--because I happily latch onto any excuse to drink wine and eat cold chicken while sitting on a blanket. However, given that we were clearly going to eat at home that night, and I was already sitting on the soft, soft couch, I was less than enthusiastic.

"Sure, dear," I smiled. "Let's just watch a little TV while we eat first, ok?" A line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding sprang to mind: "The man may be the head of the family, but the woman is the neck, and the neck turns the head any way it wants."

I put on PBS, having already determined what would be on at that time. After about five minutes, Ty turned to me, mouth agape.

"This is the greatest show ever."

We never made it to the park that night.

So, what were we watching?

As an avid blogreader, I am a sucker for a good, complicated post title, preferably one with some kind of highbrow intellectual reference that I understand, so I can read witty writing and strengthen my ego at the same time. As a blogwriter, I know how difficult it is to come up with such a title, as I have yet to do so.

Imagine, then, my surprise at the spare beauty and elegance of this documentary title:

"Sandwiches That You Will Like."

That's it. Perfect in its simplicity.

It's a documentary about sandwiches made by noteworthy cafes and restaurants across America. I highly, highly recommend it. In fact, it initially inspired our trip to Philadelphia (the deal was sealed when I found out that we could both eat great sandwiches and go to not one, but two morbid museums).

Please watch it if you can. If enough of us do, perhaps Rick Sebak will make "Cupcakes That You Will Like."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Great Shoe Saga

The current state of footwear upsets me so much that I can barely speak.

Every autumn for the past three or four years, I have sought out a pair of Cool-Looking Black Leather Ankle Boots With Little Or No Heel.

The series of events that led to this system was deceptively simple. I wandered into a random Nine West and saw a pair of cool-looking boots on sale for $20. I almost didn’t buy them, so naïve was I back then.

“Oh, I’ll just wait until the fall and see what new styles come out at that time. How hard can it be to find a decent pair of Cool-Looking Black Leather Ankle Boots With Little Or No Heel?”

The friend that I was shopping with urged me to reconsider. I did, and purchased the boots.

And, ladies and gentlemen, if I could go back in time and redo ten minutes of my life, it would not be the ten minutes during which I walked into a wall face first and left a permanent scar on my eyebrow, or the ten minutes during which I farted at an “inopportune” time with my boyfriend, or even ten minutes in the middle of having my wisdom teeth pulled.

No, it would be the ten minutes during which I did not purchase at least half a dozen pairs of the perfect Cool-Looking Black Leather Ankle Boots With Little Or No Heel That Were Incredibly Comfortable And Were On Sale For Only $20.

I wore my lone pair almost every single day. They felt like velvet wrapped around my feet. Everywhere I went, women stopped me and complimented me on the boots, wanting to know where I’d gotten them. I wore them and wore them and wore them until the zipper on the right one finally gave. I figured I’d just pop into a local shoe store and buy another pair of Cool-Looking Black Leather Ankle Boots With Little Or No Heel. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! While I could easily find rhinestone-encrused red leather stiletto thigh-highs, lilac suede ankle boots, lace-up black leather high boots suitable for living on a prairie in the 1800’s but a little bit impractical for running out to the bank or the grocery store given the eighteen holes that needed constant relacing, turquoise snow boots, and black leather ankle boots with sufficient padding and support that a 170-year-old woman could easily play soccer in them, there were no Cool-Looking Black Leather Ankle Boots With Little Or No Heel. NONE.

I brought the broken boots to a shoemaker, who wanted the contents of my wallet, my car, an all-expenses-paid vacation to the Caribbean, a home-cooked meal, a pint of my blood, and my first two children in exchange for fixing the zipper.

“But the shoes were only $20,” I whined, realizing the enormity of my mistake.

And, ever since then, I have been searching for a comparable pair. I’ve owned The Pair Too Stylish for a 170-Year-Old Woman But Suitable for a 140-Year Old Woman, The Pair With The Sole That Wore Out After Only 1 Month Thereby Allowing In All The Rainwater, and, currently, The Pair That Looks Decent And Feels Good But Pushes Down Every Pair Of Socks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Because I promised:

1 good-quality bittersweet chocolate bar (preferably Lindt)
small amount half and half (1/3 cup or so)
3 Kraft caramels (optional)

In a double boiler, melt chocolate over low heat, carefully stirring and watching to prevent scorching. Slowly add half and half in a thin stream, stirring to incorporate. If using caramels, add them, and stir until fully melted. Serve warm over ice cream, preferably pistachio or coffee. The pseudoganache will get deliciously thick, and as gooey as the fresh chocolate cake that mothers bake in the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books.

Monday, November 07, 2005

City of Husbandly Love

I don't think Ty quite knew what he was in for when we first struck up a conversation in a cafe. Hot coffee, comfortable chairs, fresh-faced young graduate student...what could go wrong? Single men, be wary.

Now, six years, three rings, and a shared electric bill later, he and I are planning a little trip to Philadelphia. For normal people, this might involve a visit to the Liberty Bell, taking in an Eagles game, seeing the house where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and perhaps an hour or two at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

And then, there's the Philly itinerary for people who are traveling with me.

Our first stop will be the Mutter Museum (imagine an umlaut over the u in Mutter, because I haven't figured out how to do international characters in Blogger and I'm enough of a show-off that I not only want you to know that I didn't forget it, but I also want you to know that I know that it's called an umlaut. While we're at it, imagine an accent mark over the e in the word cafe at the end of the first sentence of this post.) Here, we will be able to look at medical oddities such as the Giant Colon and the Soap Lady. It's a good thing I didn't click the "Facilities Rental" link on their webpage before we got engaged, or our wedding guests probably would have been nibbling shrimp in the midst of the preserved skeletons of nineteenth-century conjoined twins.

Once we're somewhat tenderized, we'll head over to the Body Worlds exhibit to view more recently preserved human bodies positioned in lifelike poses. Where does this fascination with the morbid come from? I'm not exactly sure, but I think it has something to do with high school.

After that, we'll head to Pat's and Geno's to sample the dueling cheesesteaks, of course. And, just in case you were wondering, I'm not the only sicko who would think of eating after observing the nervous system of a skinless chess player. The Body Worlds link even has a list of Philadelphia restaurants that offer a discount if you show your Body Worlds ticket stub. (Pat's and Geno's are not on the list--I checked.)

At the end of the day, we'll get a restful night's sleep at the hotel that I chose because the rate includes a hot breakfast station where guests can make their own fresh waffles. I plan to bring my own real maple syrup, because I'm not a fan of the dreadful "pancake syrup" that these places invariably serve.

Isn't he a keeper?

My Little Blogbaby

Today marks the two-week anniversary of the beginning of this blog. In that time, I've accumulated 14 posts (now 15), thoroughly embarrassed myself in front of countless strangers, 4 friends, and 1 parent, eaten steak at a vegetarian's wedding, worn the same blazer three times without dry-cleaning it, and finished reading one essay (E.B. White's "Here is New York"), two memoirs (Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors and Dry), only one gossip magazine (Us Weekly's November 7th issue, with a picture of Katie Holmes and the caption "Under Tom's Spell"), one collection of short stories (Augusten Burroughs's Magical Thinking), and reread two and a half long children's books (Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic, and half of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm). I recommend all. Yes, I have seven years of postsecondary education and am approaching thirty with a short stick, and these are the things I do and read and think about. And I like that.

If I were two weeks pregnant, I'd actually technically be "four weeks pregnant," because pregnancy is calculated from the beginning of the woman's menstrual cycle for that month, which is assumed to be approximately two weeks prior to ovulation (whether or not it actually is). I think I'll adopt this system for the purpose of celebrating my Blog Birthday, for two reasons: 1) I'll get to celebrate my one-year anniversary two weeks earlier than I otherwise would, and I plan to serve extremely good cake, so I'm eager to get to that point ASAP; and 2) I'll be that much more like Sweet Sixteen Barbie, who debuted when Barbie had only been on the market for about 15 years because Mattel apparently used some kind of preproduction date in lieu of a release date to mark her birthday.

I feeling happy to be off to a good start. This blog is really helping me use my Internet time productively by focusing on my writing instead of Googling people I used to date and/or go to school with (oh, get off your high horse; you know you do it, too, and if you don't, you're really missing out on some good gossip). I very much appreciate all the kind comments I've received and the new blogs I've been exposed to as a result. Thank you for reading. If you keep it up, I'll reward you by posting my recipe for Pseudoganache...

...and, last but not least, I want to wish a very, very Happy Birthday to an extraordinary woman.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cost-Benefit Analyses for the Way We Really Live

1. The time and effort of shaving your legs during your morning shower weighed against the probability that you will have sex that night.

2. The time, effort, and embarrassment of taking out the garbage in your pajamas weighed against the likelihood that the contents will be reeking by morning.

3. The likelihood that you will eventually make a satisfactory French twist in your hair weighed against the likelihood that you won't, and will therefore mess up your regular hairstyle without successfully creating a new one.

4. The effort of changing out of your stained shirt weighed against the likelihood that you will run into someone you used to date at the grocery store.

5. The desire for a latte weighed against the inevitable long wait in line and $4 price.

6. The cost of, and, again, the effort of waiting in line to pay for, a new lipstick weighed against the likelihood that its shade will actually flatter you.

7. The cost and effort of getting your sweater dry-cleaned weighed against the likelihood of being able to wear it one more time without anybody noticing an odor emanating from you.

8. The financial savings, non-wastefulness, and convenience of cooking the meat in your refrigerator weighed against the odds that it will make you sick because it's older than it really should be.

9. The calories in the beautiful cookies at a party weighed against the odds that they will actually taste as good as they look.

10. The physical strain and discomfort of holding it in weighed against the odds that someone will take your seat on the plush couch if you get up to go to the bathroom at a coffeehouse.

11. The desire to take a photograph of your dinner of Ty's Morrocan Lamb for your blog weighed against the likelihood that you will actually get the frickin' camera to work before your food gets cold (I didn't get it to work, in case you were wondering).

12. The effort of clipping it weighed against the probability that your hangnail will catch on your clothing and really, really hurt.