Things I Loved / Hated This Week #56

LOVE:

Lentils:

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Oh, I can’t begin to describe how much I love lentils. It’s a strange ardor and one that I never thought I would have. Since becoming a vegetarian, they are the single greatest thing that ever happened to me. Who ever would have thought that I could enjoy something known as peasant food? I didn’t! They’re so delicious, though; I’m crazy for lentils. I love them in tacos, or as burgers, and especially in soup. I don’t think there’s anything finer than a massive bowl of lentil soup. I need to make some pronto. I bought some red lentils the other day at Whole Foods. Won’t they look gorgeous in a soup? In my refrigerator, I have lentil tacos just waiting for me to gorge on. I always have lentils on hand. They’re so versatile and so tasty. I can’t get enough. I should write a cookbook all about them. I might.

Racewalking:

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I was joking earlier when I spoke about trying out for the Olympics, but then I got to thinking and I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you try out for the Olympics? What’s the worst that could happen? It’ll be an interesting story, if anything.” So, I’ve decided to try out for the Olympics at some point. I have very limited athletic skills, but when I got to thinking about the few fitness things I enjoy doing, I kept coming back to walking. Criminally, walking is not a recognized Olympic sport, which I think is a real shame. I could walk the length of the Great Wall of China and barely feel fatigue. I’m not a runner, though I’ve tried, so that was out of the question, too. I perused the list of summer events (Lord knows, I wouldn’t dare find myself at the Winter Olympics…brrrrr) and finally came across Racewalking. I didn’t know what it was, so I did some research, and I fell passionately in love with how funny the people look when they racewalk. It also looked like something I could do, and it turns out, I can. In racewalking, the leg in front has to be perfectly straight and the other leg can’t break contact with the ground until the other one touches the ground. It sounds more complex than it is. Then you have to swivel your hips and pump your arms and it’s hilarious. Look for me in RIO.

Amelia Peabody:

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It’s been months since I finished reading the last book in the Amelia Peabody series, but the stories and characters are forever on my mind. I have never read a series that has stuck with me in this way before. The other day, I read that the author of the series had died. I was devastated. I had long had a fantasy of befriending her and her cats. We would discuss the wonders of the ancient world and we would together develop a television miniseries based on her novels. Oh, they would be triumphs! Just image the lush colors and HD filming and the costumes of Victorian times! I get overly excited just thinking of it. I am determined to make it happen one day, too. Sadly, I never did meet her and buy the film rights to her work. Oh well! There’s always a way, I suppose. But, in the grief that my imagined best writer friend’s death had caused, I took to Amazon to look for first edition copies of her books. I didn’t do so well at finding them, but I did find a book called Amelia Peabody’s Egypt, which is a coffee table compendium of all sorts of flotsam and jetsam from the series. I cracked it open when it arrived and fall in love all over again with this era. Victorian times were for me, you know? I love the capes and suits and top hats, the ladies with their bustles, the threat of a mass murderer prowling through London, the etiquette, the theater, oh all of it. Of course, there were social issues I would not stand for, but that’s beside the point. I love the thought of being around at those times, being an aristocratic adventurer, which is of course, my true calling. This book recalled all that to me and made me even more determined to attempt a quick getaway to Egypt this summer whilst I’m on holiday in Europe. I love going away on holiday. Not a vacation, no, that gives the impression of a week or two. I mean HOLIDAY, a summer away. It’s what I was born for. I’m far off topic. If you’ve never read these books, get started. They’re flawless.

Click & Grow Hydroponic Garden:

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Months and months ago, I decided to join Kickstarter so that I could back a campaign for a newly developed hydroponic garden. I’m a massive fan of this type of thing, but have grown disenchanted with the leaders in the industry, the Aerogarden. Those machines are excellent and work very well, but over time they fail. There are newer models that have been released, and I’m curious about trying them out again. But, for now, I have the Click & Grow and could not be happier. It’s small and very chic. I’m passionate about well designed products and this one surely is. It looks so elegant on my table next to my sunlamp and espresso machine. It wasn’t long before I had a nice little sprouting of basil, thyme, and lemon-balm. I’m so excited to start harvesting them! I will use the basil in caprese salads, the thyme in a mushroom potpies, and the lemon-balm in my tea or maybe even in cookies. Herbs are the secret to delicious foods, and I’m very pleased. This unit is much more attractive than the Aerogarden and I would be happy to buy more so that I can grow even more herbs and flowers. The company produces another unit that I believe would create greater yield in each herb, but it relies on natural light and doesn’t have a grow light such as this one. Perhaps I will try one of them, too.

Late Starts:

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When work gets cancelled, that’s obviously nice, but there’s nothing quite so intoxicatingly luxurious as a late start. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a day without work — it gives you a reasonable excuse to spend the day doing whatever it is that you like doing. You needn’t feel obligated to your responsibilities, since they’ve all been cancelled. Spend the day reading or watching movies or eating chips or napping or organizing your linen closet — whatever you prefer. But, I’d almost always choose a late start over a cancelled day. You don’t have to make up the day at the end of the year — something I don’t believe in — and you get to luxuriantly sleep in for an extra hour or two. I always tell myself that I will get up at normal times, spend even longer on my hair and make a lovely pot of tea, but inevitably the lure of my blankets and pillows convinces me to sleep in. I don’t mind that at all. It’s great to sleep in. I never sleep anyway, so it’s nice to actually have the opportunity. Plus, I feel like starting work at ten o’clock is much more reasonable. It gives you time to become conscious before rushing to work. You can wake with sunlight. It’s just better. Hooray for delays!

HATE:

Insomnia:

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I don’t know why my old enemy has come back. I haven’t had a problem like this in years, but now it’s happening again with increased and annoying regularity. I had been at that happy stage where I could hop into bed at a reasonable time and fall asleep, but that’s no longer the case. I just lay in bed now. I’m not thinking of anything and there’s no legitimate reason for my being conscious. I’m not even tired. How can a person go for three days with only a few hours of sleep and not be tired? It makes no sense to me, and yet, that is the case. My mind is as alert as ever, but my body is beginning to ache. I suppose the muscles relax when you’re unconscious in ways they can’t whilst you’re awake. I’ve tried all the remedies…camomile tea, relaxing baths, meditation, etc., but there has been no relief. I need this to probably end soon or I might lose my mind out of boredom. It’s kind of awful being awake all the time. I thought that I would enjoy it, and I kind of do, but sometimes you just want to pass out into blissful unconsciousness. That would be lovely.

Poor Quality Clothing:

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I enjoy a bargain and I oftentimes partake when I uncover them, but it oftentimes proves that bargains aren’t always what they appear to be. A little over a year ago, I became obsessed with these colored pants from Target. They were literally in every shade, fit me decently, and were pretty affordable. It was great. It wasn’t long, though, before I discovered faults with them. For one, they shrink up almost immediately, so all of a sudden I have three inches of ankle showing. This didn’t bother me tremendously, I’m sometimes enamored of a short pant — it’s very Michael Jackson, you know? — but what did bother me was the stupid rivet that they used instead of a nice button. Rivets, in my opinion, are one of the most tragically flawed pieces of couture. They’re great for a bit of flair, but when you rely on them to hold your pants together, you’re asking for trouble. In time, they weaken and just fall right off. This is annoying, obviously. It’s happened to nearly each pair of pants I bought there. Sometimes I find the rivet pieces in the washer after I do the laundry. I need to go pant shopping. I angrily threw my red ones (the latest casualty) on the floor yesterday, and my kitten Edna, decided they were his new favorite toy, so, I guess there’s some silver lining.

Teabags:

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I’ve quickly turned into a tea snob. I went from not wanting to touch the stuff to getting pissed off if I can’t have my pot of tea when I want it. I love the stuff! Sadly and tragically, most people consume only convenient teabags, which I can fully understand. I did it for over a year. I thought that loose teas would be inconvenient and a hassle, but they are so much better. For some reason, loose tea tastes so much incredibly better. Like, it tastes like a completely different drink. At work, I have a couple boxes of different teas — all of them in bags, of course — and when I take a sip, I can’t help but grimace. It just tastes of mildly flavored hot water. It doesn’t have the depth and elegance of the tea I make at home. This drives me crazy, so I tend to drink more coffee and just water at work than tea. I’d love to have a lovely cup of tea when I need one at a moment’s notice at my job, but that’s not the case. Perhaps I should get a kettle for my classroom? No…surely that’s going too far, I already have an espresso machine. Anyway, I have basically banned teabags from my house. Once I finish off the ones I have, I shan’t have them anymore. I did brew a big batch of Earl Grey vodka with a bunch of them. This was an exceedingly good idea, reader. You should brew yourself some Earl Grey vodka right now. Just let a teabag steep for every three ounces of vodka for about two hours. Use this magical concoction in an EARL GREY MARTINI: 3 ounces of the vodka, 1.5 ounces lemon juice, and 2 ounces simple syrup. Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. GO TO HEAVEN. They’re absolutely perfection. Anyway, buy loose leaf tea, reader.

No More “Keeping Up Appearances:”

Keeping Up Appearances is in my top favorite shows of all time. It is absolute perfection and may rank as my favorite British sitcom, which is difficult to understand given my love for Absolutely Fabulous. The show is absolutely perfect and I never tire of watching Hyacinth get constantly foiled in her attempts to be socially superior. I identify so deeply  with her. For example, when she said, “After all, it’s only an accident of birth I’m not someone important. Well, I am someone important. It’s simply an accident of birth that I’m not even more important. Even aristocratic,” I didn’t laugh, but instead I nodded in agreement. I love her Royal Doulton china with the hand-painted periwinkles just as much as she does. I adore her three piece suite that is an exact replica of the one found at Sandringham House. I love her hats and her slimline white telephone with automatic redial feature. If none of these references are familiar to you, I recommend getting on Netflix immediately and watching the entire show. I watched many episodes yesterday when I was home sick and I found myself laughing deliriously in-between coughs. Now I’ve seen them all again — for the fist time since high school, I think — and I am absolutely devastated not to have any more episodes to watch. I’m going to attempt Murder She Wrote as my next British sitcom to binge watch, but it won’t be the same as Hyacinth and her singing. Nothing compares. The show is perfect.

Waiting for my Summer Holiday:

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I’m dying, guys. Not really, mind you. That’s an idiom or something. I’m just dying of impatience and from all the daydreams I have of the possibilities that may occur whilst I’m away. I can’t wait to walk through Reykjavik and take under saturated images of myself in a chunky sweater. I’m about ready to pass out from excitement for the week I’ll spend in London, walking through parks and museums and markets and shops and the many, many streets. I adore London, but I’ve never spent a great deal of time there. Not sure why. I’ve been in Paris for months and months, but I’ve never been in London for more than a few days. I’m sure I’m going to fall immediately in love with the city and make plans to never leave. It’s kind of decided already. I want to work at the British Museum and acquire a husband-worthy boyfriend from the aristocracy. How hard can it be? If Grace Kelly could charm the King of Monaco, surely I could attract a member of the aristocracy. Shall I get married at Westminster or St. Paul’s? Ugh, so much planning! I shall bear it, though. I suppose I’ll call up my good friend, Pippa, to help with the planning. After London, I shall be back in my beloved Paris for a month. I’ll revisit Miss Manon, my favorite bakery. I will shop at Chanel and Louis Vuitton and at Karl’s new shops. I’ll wander along the river and shop from the vendors and eat gelato. I’ll sit in cathedrals and think about how triumphant my life has been. I’d like to make a few side trips, which I’ve never done before. I’d like to see Venice or Berlin or even see the Pope in Rome. I’m a fan of his. Obviously, we don’t see eye to eye on everything, but he has an air about him of Pope John Paul I, who I absolutely adore. More than anything else, though, I am trying my hardest to make a quick trip to Egypt. It’s so near, just across the Mediterranean and I honestly don’t understand why I’ve never visited before. It’s going to be amazing. I’ll have a room at the Shepheard Hotel and I’ll open my window, see the pyramids, and just faint. Sadly, I have to wait until the later part of June before my flame takes off. I’m going to die of impatience. I will just die.

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