30 April 2008

Balance, Impasse, Nothing New

Nothing new on the busy-ness front. That storm is still rolling in.

Nothing else new, either. Except I am impressed by how Noah and I are still eating at home though we haven't been grocery-shopping in two weeks. And I'm thinking vegetarian/vegan is impossible for me to avoid. And my manic cleaning came back, and my migraines are back.

And my horoscope today?

"Business as usual is boring -- so skip past all of your right-brained thinking today and focus more on creative pursuits. Turn the left lobe of your mighty brain on. Instead of looking at spreadsheets or working on calculations, check out some new music or look at some art. Your gray matter needs a balanced diet just like your body does -- too much time spent dealing with facts and figures is not good for you. Make something -- even if you just bake a batch of your favorite cookies."

Does a highly technical textbook count as left-brain? I do have two spreadsheets open at this minute, too.

How about some swatch-knitting ... how about it. Swatches I have yelled about before; today, I think they might be incredibly comforting. Take yarn; guess at a needle size; cast on and knit. Unhappy? Unravel, guess again at needle size, cast on and knit some more. Knit and knit. I have an insane backlog of yarn, projects, current projects, hoped-for projects ... and overtime to keep working.

Well, all the overtime has convinced me to get a haircut, at Ippatsu, a place I've hated on and badmouthed for years now -- with no evidence, of course, of my own. But they set me up with a woman who has lots of clients with wavy and curly hair. And that is something I have and am at an impasse with.


24 April 2008

How Awesome I Am

Noah: "We need more matzo. And cream cheese."
me: "Oh why did you have to say that! Oh my, cream cheese and seasoned salt on matzo!"


me: "Wait! I think we have some cream cheese!"
Noah: "Is it green?"
me: "I don't think so ... Go find out!"

Green and whithered, folks, not just green. Dessicated.

I grow mold like no one's business.

Is ginger beer chametz? I have a million limes and a hunger for Moscow Mules.

Though I have very helpful friends, let them all heed this advice anyway and make me Moscow Mules in spades!

"In fact, the Moscow Mule is the perfect drink for the not-so-helpful friend who insists on helping the host. Although I certainly wouldn't advocate it, even a child could mix 2 ounces vodka with an ounce of lime juice in a Collins glass filled with ice, and then top it with 4 ounces ginger beer, before tossing in a lime wedge. So assign the task of mixing this drink to those guests you'd like to keep out of your hair, as you enjoy serving hors d'oeuvres and milling around with the other guests."

23 April 2008

In which she gets busy

Like "what do I really have to sleep?" busy. Like hives busy. Like put on your eye makeup and then think, "wow, is that how tired I really look? I thought it was a lack of under-eye concealer ..."

If, in a best-circumstance publishing world, I would have two and a half months to do what I'm doing, and I now have three weeks to do what I'm doing (let's use a displayed equation),

10 weeks / 3 weeks = 33% = an approximate 66% reduction in available time.

That's me working three times faster than I should be.

I'm not checking the references anymore. Don't ask.

Also, did you know that sometimes, variables are italicized (ital), sometimes boldface (bf), and sometimes "bf ital"? And sometimes Greek characters are ital, and sometimes not ital? And sometimes subscripts are roman, and sometimes they're ital, too?

And that all the art is wrong? All 450 pieces of art? Because none of us thought about the variables before.

What's the big deal? It's only a physics textbook disguised as a "neuromechanics" text ...

I moderated a week-long dispute about multiplication dot size and the alignment of equal signs.

Also, Aveeno's overnight itch relief cream is wonderful.

20 April 2008

Oh Right, the Earthquake

I didn't feel a thing. Not at 4:30am, not at 10:15am.

I got to work and was all, "was there really an earthquake?" to be met with shock from my coworkers, some of whom had been awake since 4:30 due to the quaking. I asked because my mom had called and asked me how I liked earthquakes in basement apartments, and, mostly due to lack of caffeine and sleep, I figured she was making some joke I didn't get, because certainly there had been no earthquake. No, apparently, she was asking out of real concern because there was a real earthquake.

All this makes me feel quite out of touch with my body. Hello, body, the earth was shaking -- what happened, yo?


I just don't know about me and meat. I just don't know. I don't know if I can do it anymore, the eating of other animals. I was trimming the brisket yesterday, using the wrong knife (why not use a chef's knife, eh?), slipped and whacked into my left index finger. Only to freak out not really at the blood, but at the threat of food-borne pathogens. I was all "RAW CHICKEN DISEASE" and then remembered it was beef. So Noah finished the trimming and browning, and it was tasty ... but my favorite part of the meal was the leftover sauce from the brisket on top of the vegan mashed potatoes. And the sauce was really all tomato, tangy, blackened-onion goodness.

I'm not making any declarations. Just let it be known that I'm constantly forgetting to cook the meat in our fridge and freezer. I do eat a ton of chicken and tuna salad, but couldn't that be replaced with any other convenient sandwich filling? Indeed.

And I'm knitting a little, and Dave of Cornell left today, and it is sunny and I am busy working overtime inside. BOO.

19 April 2008

OMG Passover Seder!

The stores of this town undersupply the matzo-seeking population, and I am upset every year, and I think, every year, I will get to the store before The Last Day of Leaven and buy some whole wheat matzo, some salted matzo, not this half-assed unsalted, NOT EVEN KOSHER FOR PASSOVER crap.

Well that's what I have again, so it's triply good I'm not Jewish, and that Noah has a kind and friendly association with Jewishness, and that we don't have to freak out for religious reasons. I'm angry for consumer reasons, and I feel very American.

But if you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps ...

I'm going to try Peter Reinhart's recipe for whole wheat matzo today. Fastest bread baking ever, especially since his book is all about the two-day delayed fermentation of whole grain ingredients to make hearth-style, artisanal bread. V. different.

Also making:
--brisket, yall
--a sweet potato or potato thing
--chicken stock
--to be followed by matzo balls
--berry sorbet
--chocolate-covered matzo

and the seder plate jazz, too.

I was dreaming of seder plates a while ago. Kind of a lame dream. Seder plates are too cool, though. Vessel -> plate -> designed for ceremony -> still a plate -> can be very unique and used-once-a-year OR just a plate.

whoa I'm going to go get cooking.

15 April 2008

Oliver's "Wild Geese"

Today I keep reminding myself that I am graceful, I am delicate, I am well-trained, that I could do a clumsy dive and a better push-off and some really great backstroke, that I could do all the ballet positions and some plie`s (isn't that the name of those running and spinning jumps?), that really, I can move, and I can sit still.

It's just so sunny. And in here, I need to be so quiet, so stationed, and after a while listening to music doesn't help either. My head still can't decide if wordless noise or silence helps me think better; maybe it's both, at different times.

Let's go alter some clothes. Let's go cut hair in a field.


Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

14 April 2008

Reading Slowly as Fast as Possible

This is an interesting test of my abilities: with work, right now, I'm reading newly-laid out pages, and I need to read them really carefully, which means slowly, and I am terrible at reading slowly (thanks, grad school). So I'm doing all the eye-slowing tricks there are, like using a piece of paper as a line guide and hitting words with my pencil and thinking them as I read them (which I don't usually do; I'm a speed reader too), and all of this is SLOW but accurate.

But, but, now it has become clear that I need to get through as much material as I've already done, which has taken DAYS, in fewer days.

So fast and slow, yeah? I can't tell if caffeine will help or hinder.

I just want to read paragraphs diagonally again.

Also I am fastidious and obsessive and that makes me a good editor, if you didn't know. Also I am probably about to take on far too much freelance work, but whatevs, the money is good, I like the folks I'll work with, and I don't want to drop them.

What is editing overdrive like? It is very slow.

08 April 2008

Craving Saag Paneer

And tonight I will fulfill my craving. Yessss.

I will send a book to the printer today, a book I've worked on start to finish. Whew. Weird. This book is a book of tumult -- it was designed, then fixed, then redesigned, then fixed again, and then more minor fixes after that. Usually we have three or four rounds of correcting laid-out pages before sending things to the printer ... this book has had seven, I think.

Forgetting to take Claritin is a really bad idea. I'm itchy already. Maybe some extreme hand and arm washing will help.

Have I mentioned I'm knitting socks? And that they're cool?

And that I'm going to dye yarn this week? Probably starting with the superwash merino worsted I bought ... ah, forgiving yarn, I shall make you weird blue colors. Maybe with purple and green, too. We shall see.

07 April 2008

Dangers at Work and Spring in General

It's spring, like bare legs and skirts spring. Finally. Thank god.

Work is full of dangers, like the way upgrades in OS's mean that all the Greek characters in the neuromechanics book I'm editing are GONE. Just GONE! This is a physics of the body book ... so you know, variables, math, formulas, et al. A problem. Quite a problem. If only we hadn't sent it to the author yet.

I think this is the anniversary of my great-grandmother's death. I think so. Or else it was yesterday. She died at 98 in 2002, but I didn't see her death coming at all. She was 80 when I was born, so in my head, I think, she was just old forever and would be alive and old forever. It was hard explaining to friends how close I was to her. We lived a block away from her until I was five, and were with her all the time even when we moved five or ten minutes away. She died of congestive heart failure and gangrene. Who honestly dies of gangrene? It was so awful, so terrible -- this woman of grace, this woman of style.

Oh Nana, it's spring, the bulbs are blooming, my neighbors have geraniums like you did, and I can't stop thinking about your daffodils that you couldn't keep up with anymore, how the bulbs needed splitting and since no one split them up, their orange heads would be three layers full, their yellow petals all flush and rampant. How that beauty was a kind of disease that shouldn't have been there at all.

01 April 2008

In which she tries to sound smart and aware

In the middle of two, well, four bad months of work, I have today, and today I am catching up on all my training that I haven't done in the last nine months and setting things up so that some of my work is easier from here on out. Some of that has made me aware of how over-budget all my projects are, all the time. Like double the budget. Like that bad.

Oh well.

I am cooking more food these days; maybe that allergy-fogged grocery trip did me good by keeping me from getting anything except ingredients and nothing to immediately digest. Well fruit is in that category, so never mind. Anyway:
--black beans with orange and cumin, served with white rice
When I get that recipe in front of me, I will share it. It's an hour and a half crock pot recipe ... that's unheard of. And good.
--chicken cacciatore with fusilli
More crock pot: slice onions, thaw chicken drumsticks, open jar of marinara, add minced garlic, add chopped green bell pepper ... eat ... wow. The recipe calls for mushrooms, which I like and Noah does not, so we went without. I think it would be better over rice or fettucine, something easier to eat that the really squirmy fusilli we had.

I am reading Dog Years by Mark Doty, and it is great. He posits that sentimentality is just a way to cover up rage.

Keep thinking about it. Think about how we tell stories of animals' loyalty, and how we can all agree people are not nearly as loyal and that is really sad. And outrageous.

Where's the outrage again? Huh?