Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pastries and Packers

I have a new best friend. Her name is creme de fleur. We met today at Au Bon Pain. Sadly, I don't have a picture, but I trust that you all know how Google works. :)

Isn't she pretty? She's the lovechild of a cloverleaf roll and a cream cheese danish. Seriously, those two got together and made crazy delicious babies.

In other news, I have recently re-developed an interest in football, which Carrie thinks is insane (to be fair, the last time I cared much about the Packers was back in middle school when they were rockstars, but I was a pretty big fan then!) But they're playing the Vikings next week (BOOOO!) and suddenly Carrie, who has NEVER cared about football and doesn't even know the rules of the game, thinks she gets to start talking smack about the Packers. WTF?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Current American Politics - Something Old or Something New?

What is wrong with our country?

This is a question that I find myself asking every day. Seriously, a substantial portion of this country seems to have gone off the deep end. Case in point: someone created a Facebook poll asking if President Obama should be killed. Fortunately it was removed quickly and its creator is being investigated, but what on earth would possess you to think that was okay?

Similarly, until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Glenn Beck. But apparently he's the patron saint of the angry, scared right wing. Now, I understand that there are plenty of people who disagree with me on healthcare reform, climate change, education reform, immigration reform, etc. And many of those people have well-reasoned, thoughtful arguments to make their case; clearly many of these people are far more intelligent and knowledgeable than I am. But the chorus of crazies who have a knee-jerk negative reaction to anything proposed by Obama (or who even dispute the fact that the man was born in the U.S.) seem to be growing louder and stronger. I just don't understand the extra-special breed of crazy that seems to be involved here though. I read an article in Time this week that, among other things, tried to place current sentiment in the greater picture of paranoid movements throughout American history:
We tell ourselves a tale in America, and you can read it in Latin on the back of a buck: E pluribus unum. Many people from many lands, made one in a patriotic forge. And there's truth in that story — it conjures powerful pictures in the theater of our national mind. But it can also be misleading. Lots of Americans can't stand one another, don't trust each other and are willing — even eager — to believe the worst about one another. This story is as old as the gun used by Vice President Aaron Burr to kill his political rival Alexander Hamilton. And it's as new as the $1 million–plus in fresh campaign contributions heaped on Republican Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina after he hollered "You lie!" at the President during a joint session of Congress. Anger and suspicion ebb and flow through our history, from the anti-Catholic musings of the 19th century Know-Nothing Party to the truthers and birthers of today.

We're in a flood stage, and who's to blame? The answer is like the estimates of the size of the crowd in Washington: Whom do you trust? Either the corrupt, communist-loving traitors on the left are causing this, or it's the racist, greedy warmongers on the right, or maybe the dishonest, incompetent, conniving media, which refuse to tell the truth about whomever you personally happen to despise.

But I still feel like what's happening now is extreme, even for crazy American politics. Is it the economy? Racism? The ease of communication over the internet? Or am I overreacting and this is really just a continuation of paranoid populist movements throughout American history?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Why is it that weekends are always so short and work weeks are so long? It's really not fair. This weekend was filled with good friends and far too much delicious food.

Last weekend I declared that this would be a good weekend to spend some time sorting through all our stuff and donating/throwing away a bunch of stuff. We have accumulated far more stuff than two people could possibly need. Our recent efforts to keep the apartment cleaner are going well, but I think a good crap purge could go a long way toward making us both happier and more organized.

But instead, we went to Target on Saturday and bought more stuff. Oops. To be fair, it was mostly stuff that we "needed", but it was a bit of a contradiction with my plan to get rid of stuff. Oh well--next weekend.

We spent our Saturday evening with a friend and her 11-month-old daughter, who we hadn't seen in far too long. She's already walking and has much better balance than I've ever seen in a baby her age! But I remember when she was only a few weeks old! Our friend made a full-on Thanksgiving dinner--think turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, the works. Our seven-layer bar contribution didn't really fit the theme, but that didn't stop me from polishing off half the pan all by myself. Oops.

Today another friend came to our place for dinner. She's still in the process of moving to the city, so we were able to entice her with the prospect of beef kebabs. We cooked the kebabs (marinated delicious steak from Trader Joe's, green peppers, onions, and potatoes) under the broiler, and they were DELICIOUS. We also made chocolate chip bars (a la Phoebe's Nestle Toulouse), and I again did my part to inhale half the pan.

Oh yeah, and we went to Outback for dinner on Friday night. So yes, much too much food this weekend. But good times all around. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Snack Time

My office has an official weekly snacktime. One afternoon each week, we all take a half hour off to sit in the conference room and eat treats while talking about anything non-work-related. And each week, a different person volunteers to bring the snack.

So today we were passing around the sign-up sheet, and one of my co-workers was looking at the available dates in December and said, "Well, I don't want to sign up for the week when Becky might bring in Christmas cookies, cuz who could compete with that?" (It may be relevant background information that last December I made about 10 different kinds of cookies/candies and brought them to our holiday party. This is particularly shocking because New Yorkers don't bake much for themselves as far as I can tell.)

I was like "Whoa, it's not a competition."

And then another co-worker, who obviously knows me far too well, said "Uh huh, she says outloud that it's not a competition, but in her head she's like 'Haha, I totally win.'"

I laughed so hard I cried...which only made the rest of the office laugh even harder. Sometimes work is incredibly stressful, but I'm glad that I work with fun people.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Teh Gay

I thought tonight's episode of Glee was quite excellent--dancing football players and a positive coming out story all in one episode! I am a little sad that said coming out story was going on at the same time as the premiere of Modern Family, which apparently includes a gay (male) couple who just adopted a baby. So much gayness all at 9:00/8:00 Central!

I actually thought this TV predicament was particularly interesting in light of this article from the New York Times about kids coming out as LGB (sorry, no T in this article) in middle school. Unlike the kids in this article, I had no idea I was gay in middle school, but maybe I would have sorted that out sooner if there had been more representation of gays and lesbians in the media at that time. The article also mentions the role that the internet has played in helping gay teens to connect and find support from their peers. Now if only schools across the country could get with the picture and provide some of that support in real life by taking a stand against bullying...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Inaugural post, take 2

Well, I kinda-sorta started this blog with not much to say back in July. But since I suspect that at most, one person (O hai Jen, thanks for being my one follower!) read that post, it's gone now and I'm starting over.

And I guess that's fitting because there are a lot of things in my life that I'm trying to get a fresh start on. After losing a lot of weight a few years ago and then slowly gaining the majority of that back over the last few years, I've finally found the energy to work at losing it again. Only this time my approach is quite different than before. This time around I'm not just focusing on losing weight but on really trying to be healthier. And this means that for the first time in my life, I'm voluntarily eating fruits and vegetables. And I'm also starting to look at the amount of processed crap that's in most of our food and trying to eat less of it--better for me and better for the planet.

I'm also trying to spend a little less time putzing around on the internet (yeah, starting a blog is a great way to do that :P) and more time doing stuff in real life. I've picked up the knitting needles again and am hard at work on several Christmas presents, not to mention finishing a couple of works in progress. Add me as a friend if you happen to be on Ravelry!

If you know me in real life, it shouldn't surprise you to know that I don't have any master plan for where this blog is going. Random stories about my life? Social commentary? Knitting? Pictures? Yeah, I expect there will be some of all of that, and who knows what else. Stay tuned!