Things I Loved / Hated This Week #53



2013-12-05 21.09.27

If I had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of my life, I’m almost sure that I would pick soup. In fact, I’m seriously considering working on a vegetarian soup cookbook, soup is one of my passions! I rarely meet a soup I dislike. There’s something so satisfying about sipping a hearty combination of vegetables and sopping up the broth with a chunk of crusty bread. I made the most delicious lentil and chickpea soup last week and I’m still dreaming of it — I need to make a big batch. I also have a mushroom soup recipe that I’m eager to try out. It has a piece of darkly browned bread puréed into it, which is something I’ve never heard of before, but cannot wait to try. Maybe I’ll make it tonight. There’s nothing better than soup.

Amtrak Expansion:


You know how I’m crazy about trains, right? I’m like a youthful Joe Biden. When I’m governor, as I’ve told you a million times, I’m going to work to put trains everywhere. We live in a world of pollution and zero public transportation. It’s madness. People shouldn’t be forced to risk their lives every day on the road. No, they should simply have to go to their local train station and get a ride on a low-emission carrier. Obvious, isn’t it? Why aren’t we like Europe? You can take trains anywhere. Europe is genius. Anyway, I was incredibly enthusiastic yesterday when I read that Amtrak is testing a bus service in Ames and Des Moines to take riders to the station in Osceola — about an hour away. Why there isn’t a train station in Des Moines is baffling to me, since it’s the largest city and capital of our state. I’m hoping that someday there will be. There’s been talk for ages about a high speed train going between Des Moines and Chicago, but our idiot governor is not a fan, so it doesn’t seem to be happening at the present time. IDIOT. But, at least we can pick up the bus; that’s a start! Sadly, this trial is temporary and only for the holiday season, but more and more people are beginning to realize that trains are where the future is. They’re cheaper, less polluting, and so much fun! I can’t wait to take the train to San Francisco — there’s one an hour away from here that leaves every day! My life is changed. You can also go to Chicago and catch other trains to New Orleans and New York City and I’m going to take them all! Traveling is what I love best and I love traveling on trains!

Public Magazine Subscription:


One of my favorite things to do in Paris is to visit the Relay shops and kiosks that litter the city. These are basically magazine stores where you can also buy a prepackaged nibble. I saw one earlier this year in Chicago, which blew my mind, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as the ones in Paris. This is mainly because they don’t sell my favorite gossip magazine, Public. This is a wonderfully trashy publication that regularly prints scandalous stories about the stars and horrible photos. It’s taught me to read French better than any lesson! For years, I was devastated that they don’t sell subscriptions to America, which makes sense, but still hurts my heart. After a spell, they started selling digital copies on the Relay App, but it was horribly buggy and I forgot all about it. To get my fix, though, they have a Public App with truncated articles. Yesterday as I was reading, I hit some button and launched the Newsstand App on my iPad. I was overwhelmed with jubilation when I saw that I could subscribe to the digital edition for $3.99 a month. I did and it downloaded and it was wonderful. Suddenly, I was on the Métro again, or laying in my comfortable bed in my apartment on the rue Saint-Sabin. Joy!

Spontaneous Beyoncé:


You may remember me writing about going to Chicago spontaneously before, but I’m doing it again! You may also remember me writing about my desire to see Queen Bey in Vegas last week. Well, I didn’t go to Vegas. The other day, though, I received a message from one of my concert newsletters informing me that by beloved Beyoncé will be putting on a show Friday night in Chicago. I made a few choking gasps, I clutched my pearls, and I wildly began attempting to get a ticket. Why not, you know? My life is that Hilary Duff song.

Finally, when I was in the car heading to Des Moines, I found one. I bought it. It costs way too much money, guys, but it is so worth it! ME + BEY! I’m taking the Megabus Friday morning and catching it back Saturday morning. I’m not getting a hotel…so, I hope there are some 24-hour establishments I can wander around in. If not, it’s going to be cold. I don’t know how to be a homeless person, I don’t have the constitution for it. Maybe Bey will let me stay on her jet for a while? We are incredibly close, you know. (If you don’t read my reverend series, this will confuse you.) I AM GOING TO SING AND DANCE. I’m also going to freeze my bones. Oh well! BEYONCÉ. Then, when I get home, I’m off to my best friend’s wedding. It’s going to be quite a weekend! [UPDATE: I’m not bumming it on the streets, I’m staying the night in a high class hotel! Thanks, Pa.]

Keeping Up Appearances:

This program was my first introduction to British comedy, I think, when I would watch it on PBS and laugh and laugh and wonder why there were so many British sitcoms on PBS. Seems strange still, don’t you think? I love it, though, I only wish they would show more programs like Jam & Jerusalem. They do show The Vicar of Dibley, which I adore tremendously. I haven’t marathon watched that in ages, I’d better do that soon. MAYBE WHEN I GET BACK FROM BEYONCÉ. Anyway, Keeping Up Appearances is absolutely perfection and I could watch each episode a hundred times and never get tired. Who could become fatigued of Hyacinth exhausting the community with her candlelight suppers involving riparian entertainment, her enthusiasm for holiday brochures, her immaculate collection of Royal Doulton (Do you have any Royal Doulton? I DO.) and an endless list of her perfection. I absolutely adore her. She’s amazing. She’s vain and rude and prejudiced and insane and she’s perfect. She reigns terror down upon her husband and her neighbors and the ladies at church and on her poor relations. I can’t recommend this program enough and strongly urge you to load your Netflix account and watch!


America Unearthed:


I have long been fascinated with alternative archaeology and history. I’m not a mad supporter of all their various claims, but I have always found it interesting that there are alternative ideas of how the past occurred. Surely, there must be some truth somewhere in all of it. Neither side can be certain, and those that are convinced of the opposite are foolishly letting themselves fall victim to lesser understanding. When this show debuted on the History channel, I was intrigued — it was all about studying the alternative history of my home nation. What it turned out to be was a piece of crap. Each week, Scott Wolter takes us to some mysterious location and does absolutely nothing for an hour. It’s maddening. Last week, he was looking for the Ark of the Covenant, but didn’t do anything but fly around the world and talk to conspiracy theorists, who gave him no new information and nothing that a brief perusal of Google wouldn’t give the curious investigator. The last episode showed him investigating some supposed belief that the Denver airport is the headquarters and base of the New World Order. Why? Because somebody said so. This is apparently enough for him. Of course, he blathers on about needing facts to support these claims, but does not seem at all interested in dismissing these possibilities. Sometimes there’s just nothing there, but he will never admit this. Instead — and I don’t know why I put myself through it each week — we are subjected to constant speculations on Freemasons and other secret societies covering absolutely everything up. It’s maddening nonsense and a blight on the very intriguing and serious field of alternative archaeology.

Colorful Holiday Lights:


For years and years, I have hated colored holiday lights. They make me irrationally angry. I hate seeing trees and houses dolled up with flickering orange and red and blue lights — it’s worse when they have a synchronized blink. I’m in favor of only using clear, bright, lights. It’s so cheerful and simple and calm! Everything looks elegant when done like this. My personal tree is wrapped in clear lights of varying shapes and brightnesses and I could not be more pleased! They remind me of outdoor patios in romantic European cafes — the soft strings of light stretched above the diners, gently illuminating their faces. Everybody looks good in soft light — when I’m governor I’m going to have a moratorium on fluorescent lights because everybody (even us attractive people) look like monsters beneath them. So, if you own strings of colored lights, recycle them at the Home Depot and get a nice strand of clear lights — you’ll thank me.

Eventide Energy:


First of all, let’s talk about how wonderful the word eventide is. I love reintroducing archaic words into the common vernacular, there’s something beautiful about them when they flower our everyday and very boring language. But, this is not a post on linguistics, though I love to ramble on about them. No, this is about yet a new torture I’ve developed. When the sun shines, I can’t be bothered to do much of anything anymore — not that this is much wasted time, with the sun setting almost minutes after I return home each day. Then, I mope about a bit, which can linger for hours. Suddenly, then, it hits me like a jolt of adrenaline. Amazing energy. I start to do everything at ten o’clock. I scrub ovens and floors, I cook, I wash dishes, I fold laundry, I run, I reorganize my shoes, I organize them again, I tend to my plants, I write, I do everything but go to bed. I don’t take umbrage with getting things done, but it is quite frustrating that this madness happens when I should be winding down. I want to be like that in the daytime and the early evening. It’s an amazing feeling; I just wish it wouldn’t be in the evening.

Yerba Mate:


Ever since reading an article about Uruguay and what a wonderful land it is, I’ve been very intrigued by Yerba. It’s a South American tea that is supposed to be crazy full of caffeine. I spent an hour watching various people make it on YouTube last night — so many methods! You fill the mug halfway up with the dried Yerba, which is an insane amount when you are used to making regular tea. Then, you hydrate the leaves with cold water before adding hot water to the top. Instead of straining it, you drink this tea with a special straw that has a filtered end. Genius! I’m very intrigued by that. Last night at Whole Foods, I was perusing the tea aisle — as you do — and saw some Yerba in sachets, so I had to get a box. I brewed one this morning at work and while I don’t hate it, I’m certainly not a super fan. Maybe it’ll grow on me as the day goes on. I brought a few sachets with me.

Current State of Economics:

help me i'm poor

I touched on this in my sermon on Wednesday and it’s starting to strike me as more and more important as I get older. It’s impossible to survive on a normal person’s income. Why is everything so unbearably expensive? I was out Christmas shopping, had a marvelous time, and then I saw how much I spent (always the day after, never the same day or I might be sick.) and wonder how the little collection of items could possibly cost so much. I didn’t even buy anything exceptional, really, which is sad. Why are gloves from Target $21? They weren’t made of goat’s leather or designed by Versace. Why this crazy price? Was it for the herringbone fabric they’re made with. I needed gloves, so I didn’t have much of a choice, but really! For a while, I’ve been thinking about getting a car, but I’m quickly changing my mind. I don’t think I could afford a car payment, insurance, gas, and possible repairs. It’s not worth it! I just need to be a hermit for a year and save up so that I can pay off the bit of debt I have and put a bit into savings. Speaking of that, how does anybody save ANY money? I used to do a decent job of it — when I had no bills to pay. Every dollar is important. Le sigh…

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