Monthly Archives: November 2013

Monday Madness Again


I haven’t even been awake (fully) for three hours and I want to go back to sleep. Such is my life.

And because I woke up so late, I had tea and cookies that I keep in my desk for breakfast. No omelet (see yesterday’s post about what the hell I should do with all the basil), no yogurt, NO COFFEE. I think that bears repeating: I had no coffee this morning. The truth is, I don’t need it for the caffeine. I can wake up ok without any coffee. (And, you know, this might be a thing that addicts say, but) It’s the feeling of sitting down with a cup of coffee, the flavor, the knowledge that I actually have time to sit and drink coffee, more than the effects of the caffeine, that make me so unhappy when I miss it.

And now that I’m sitting at my desk, I don’t want to go out in this below-freezing weather to get coffee.

On some occasions, I sort of wish I were a trophy wife. If that were the case, I would have time for coffee every morning, because I wouldn’t have to worry about being at work. And I’d have time to organize my home, which I have not managed to do. I think that no matter how long I live somewhere, I have to really feel that I want to be in that apartment (or house, but that would be a long way off) before I can make efforts to make it feel like home.  Like, I would really like to get some drawer organizers, and then I thought I could probably make some myself. And then I thought further, when the hell am I going to have time for that?

But I don’t really want to be a trophy wife. I want the perks without having to be showered in extreme sexism/chauvinism every day. I want time and space to do the things in life that really matter to me. When you feel like you have to squeeze in the things you really care about wherever you can find time, and otherwise devote your life to pursuits you’re not enjoying just so you can afford to live, the passions and hobbies can become strains–especially when you start to feel guilty whenever you don’t have time to do them.

I feel like I, and pretty much everyone else on the internet, complain about the same things all the time. We could all just shut up and go DO things instead. But it’s so hard.

What Do You Do With a Bunch of Fresh Basil?


Buying fresh herbs kind of sucks–because they always sell you more than you can use, and then all that goodness goes to waste! The last time I bought cilantro, half of it turned into rotting mush in the bag before I got a chance to make the thing I’d been planning to make with it.

But sometimes I just really want to buy they anyway. There’s a small produce store in Brighton Center that generally has really good stuff at good prices, so I like to go there sometimes so I’ll have good fresh fruits and vegetables. They sell fresh basil and cilantro for a dollar a bunch. (Not that this is really different from most grocery stores, but it’s still a nice price). I wanted basil, so I got one bunch.

One bunch is just too much. I’ve gotten more used to the idea of copious fresh basil, instead of adding it as an afterthought or a garnish. I like it in salads, particularly if I have blueberries or strawberries to put on the salad as well. Add a little drizzle of olive oil, and you’ve got a great thing going. Unfortunately I have no berries, but that’s ok. Just using basil in a regular old salad definitely kicks up the flavor, at least one notch, if not two.

I’m sure most people are aware that basil is great for cooking, too. Pizza, sauteed with vegetables, mixed up into a marinade for some chicken… whatever you think will taste good, there’s a good chance you can do it with basil. (Wow, that sounded weirder than I thought before I typed it out.)

Of course, one way to use up a substantial portion of that bunch is to make a nice batch of tomato sauce. I had that intention, but unfortunately I left the burner on too high for too long on my pot of tomatoes, and they burned horribly. They were not salvageable, and I didn’t want to go out and get more tomatoes, so I had to just scrap that whole idea. In this case, my cooking failure was due to not paying attention, rather than not having a recipe going in! I’ve made tomato sauce a whole bunch of times and this has never happened before.

I wish they would sell smaller bunches of herbs for 50c. I don’t want good basil going bad because I only wanted to use small amounts… but what am I supposed to do? I only have so many ingredients that will logically combine with basil. And I’m not planning to shop again before Thanksgiving. I suppose I can always freeze the rest if I don’t feel like using it right now.

Maybe I can make a basil-mozzarella omelet tomorrow morning. I might even spare some of the grape tomatoes that I plan to put on my salad for tomorrow’s lunch.

If you feel inclined, leave a comment and let me know what you do with your basil.

It’s (Blog) Morphin’ Time!


Get ready, because change is coming. Back when I reached 100 followers I mentioned that I was going to make a few updates to the blog, mold it a bit into a slightly cooler thing. And then I didn’t. But now I’m going to do it. I totally am. If I don’t, then you should remind me I said I would.

Here’s my basic plan:

  • I’m going to change the theme, because it’s a really easy way to make a blog feel refreshed. It will still be something fairly simple and with the same basic setup, probably.
  • I will remove the “Monthly Favorites” tab and just do favorites posts instead. That way, when I skip months, like I’ve been doing since August, it won’t be so obvious.
  • New tabs will appear, for things I have been thinking about doing. The biggest one will be a “Life” tab, which will feature posts about my thoughts on/approach to aspects of life in a larger sense. Once I start making posts, you’ll see what I mean by that. I am also thinking about making a shopping tab, because I love shopping and I keep wanting to write about it. I know it’s totally silly and frivolous, but in the end I do blog for me, so I’ll do what I want! The main content will be store/website reviews and tips, and maybe there will be some hauls stuck in there too. Although I don’t haul. I just buy one or two things at once, usually. I am also considering a restaurant/cafe review tab. I think Cafenation would have to be the first one up there.
  • I will actually rewrite My Food Credo, as I had said I was planning to do.
  • My links and contact info will remain the same.

 

That’s really all I have so far. This is an intended project to be done by the beginning of December. It will probably be something I do in stages, though–I’m thinking this weekend I’ll change the theme and make the Monthly Favorites tab go away, which will be very simple steps. (So if you want to see what I’ve liked, you should look now, while you can!)

And that’s the story. I thought that if I wrote all this out, I would be much more likely to follow through.

Monday Madness: If I Only Had a Car


(to the tune of “If I Only Had a Brain”)

If someone gave me a car, for free, I still couldn’t afford to have one. Gas alone I could probably deal with, but no way I could also afford insurance, maintenance, and parking in Boston.

One of the perks of living in the city is that you don’t have to have a car. There are always ways to get where you’re going. Even though the MBTA is inexcusably flawed, in a lot of cases driving probably wouldn’t be much faster. I probably would still drive to work, because then I can leave when it’s convenient for me, rather than according to the bus schedules.

The real reason I want a car is for getting out of the city. Yes, there are trains and buses that will take you pretty much anywhere you’d like, but they can take forever, and if your real destination is five miles from the train station, well, tough luck. If you’re unfamiliar, figuring out the schedules and pickup/dropoff areas can be rather stressful, as well. Once I took a bus to New York with a friend, and we had a great time, but it turned out we didn’t know where the bus left New York to return to Boston. We wandered around for two hours or so, I called a friend to try to figure out where we could catch a bus home, and finally we came across one that, luckily, had empty seats.

I think of all the places I could go, whenever I wanted to, if I had a car. I could drive out to visit my parents for a day, and probably see them much more often. I could get myself down to my grandparents’ house for holiday gatherings (instead of having to take the train to my mom’s to get a ride there). Day trips to Providence, Plum Island, even New Hampshire or Vermont could happen. I would be able to go to Shalom Mountain, an amazing retreat center in upstate New York, without having to stress about how I’m going to get there–a large part of the reason I never end up going.

Like I said before, I don’t really want a car. I don’t want to own one and I don’t want to risk that I would end up driving everywhere, and give up walking, which is the majority of my exercise. I don’t want to have to dig it out of the snow in the winter, either, or be one of those people who keeps a trash can or a piece of furniture in “my” parking spot to make sure no one else can use it while I’m gone.

But it would be nice if there were a car available to me so that I could get anywhere beyond Boston without having to rely on other people to get there. Mainly because asking for a ride always seems like a big deal, for some reason.

Monday Madness: A Weekend of Quiet Mayhem


Site redesigns often bother me, because in the attempt to make things look more “cool” or “high-tech,” I think they often end up looking overdeveloped or stupid… I miss gmail’s simple login screen. Now it’s this giant bubble with your google+ profile picture. And youtube has now made it so that you HAVE to update your username to display as either your real name or something else you enter before it will allow you to continue commenting on videos. I wish to ask Google (which owns youtube, in case you were unaware): What is the effing point of all this?

I am not a fan of the changes WordPress has been making to site navigation. I’ve written a little about this elsewhere, in informal, rant-sort of writing. I’m not going to stop using site unless it gets way worse, but I’m wondering: Now that posts open in a pop-up screen instead of taking you to the poster’s blog page, does that mean I don’t get a page view unless the reader actually clicks on the “view original” button in the upper left corner? If so, that really seems unfair. Please redesign again so that people who want to read my posts are actually taken to my blog, because I like that much better. Furthermore, if it’s just going to appear in a pop-up screen, why am I spending so much time worrying about my blog design? Should I just forget about it?

Dear WordPress,

I want answers.

Thank you,

Deva

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Monday Madness: The Lamentation of the Blackcurrant Scone


Let’s not think about how much I could have done over the weekend and didn’t. How far behind I am on everything I want to have done already. How much my apartment needs a good cleaning… Let’s talk instead about my favorite independent cafe.

My favorite food to order at Cafenation, for as many years as I’ve known about its existence (about three), has been the blackcurrant scone. Its buttery flavor and dense, rich texture made it,  in my mind, the perfect scone. I would get one sometimes when I wasn’t even hungry, because they were so good and I knew I’d be hungry at some point.

In my memory (which has been wrong at times, but we’ll just go with it), the first time I got it was a morning when I was interviewing someone for a short biographical article. I got up early, walked down to the cafe, ordered a coffee and one of these scones, and brought them back home. I ate it as I set up my things for the phone interview, and it was probably the most satisfying breakfast I’d had for some time. The interview and article writing both went fairly well, but that’s not really relevant to this story.

Over the past three years–or, the parts of those years that have taken me near the cafe–I have bought one of these scones more often than any other food at this cafe. Suddenly, a few weeks ago, I stopped seeing it. Since I had only been a few times, always later in the afternoon, I assumed they had sold out… but then, they usually had a few left at that time. So I asked while I was ordering a coffee, whether they were just out of them momentarily, and I was informed that they had to switch to another bakery.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Ok, that’s out of my system now. I ordered a blueberry scone to try the new ones, and it was good. But not as good as my favorite, my love, the blackcurrant scone. I was disappointed. This is long ago enough now that I have moved on, but there will be times when I think of that one scone that I crave and I will regret that I can’t get it anymore. But hell, it’s just a scone, right? There are other things I would be much more devastated to lose.

Earlier this year, Cafenation had decided to close their kitchen at 3pm every day. I assumed they just weren’t selling enough kitchen-prepared orders in the later hours to keep the kitchen open, and since I rarely ordered from the kitchen anyway, it didn’t actually affect me very much. Still, I like having the option, so it always felt slightly disappointing. Now, they’re keeping the kitchen open later, but the cafe closes at 6 now, instead of 7 or 8, when they used to be open. Once again, this doesn’t really change anything for me, except that I don’t like going to restaurants or cafes in the last half hour before they close, which will have to happen from time to time, as I frequently leave work at 5:30.

I am the very first to admit that these are not real problems. The point is that people do not react well to change. I’m trying to get to a point where I can more quickly shake off that first disorientation of finding something to which I’m accustomed suddenly changing and move more quickly to filing away the new information and adjusting accordingly. Particularly when the change will have very little (if any) impact on my life.

Doesn’t that seem enlightened?

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