THINGS I LOVED / HATED THIS WEEK #89

LOVE:

Murder, She Wrote:

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I have seen many episodes of Murder, She Wrote over the years, but I honestly can’t recall a one of them. Did it used to play on the Hallmark Channel before the Martha Stewart Show? I seem to think so, but I could be wrong. Ever since finishing every season of Rosemary & Thyme, I’ve been watching Angela Lansbury solve ridiculous murders, and it has been a thrill! I love these formulaic shows. Angela’s character, Jessica Fletcher, is clearly never in too much danger, but it’s still delightful to watch old Angela go sleuthing through abandoned factories and picking up clues along the beaches of Cabot Cove. If you’ve never watched the show before, I highly recommend you start watching with me. Edwin adores it just as much as me:

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Every episode is on Netflix, which is wonderfully convenient — I love living in the future! I hope to have quite a few seasons under my belt before I go to Washington DC next March and see her live in the latest production of Blithe Spirit. I am so excited for that, reader! I will finally see her. Angela Lansbury is one of the great loves of my life, after all. Only a few more hours until my evening viewing of Murder, She Wrote. Tonight’s episode is about a driverless car that goes on the attack — what a wonderful world!

Lentil Soup:

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I’m mad about lentils. They are one of my very favorite foods. People go on and on about how they’re something gross from the 70s, but I thankfully know nothing of that era. Lentils are simply the most delicious legumes of all time. I adore them more than chickpeas, and that’s saying something. I love lentils in veggie burgers and they’re absolutely fabulous as a meat substitute in tacos. But, they shine most heartily in soup. The other night I whipped one up with some vegetables I had in my refrigerator, and I think it was the most delicious soup I’ve made in a while. I probably should write the recipes down for these soups I make up, but my moods are different each time, and thus the proportions are, too. Anyway, that soup was on fleek. I still don’t know what that means, but all the kids are saying it, and I’m a cool old person, so there you go. I gorged on the soup and now it is all gone. Oh well. I’ll just have to make more. GO MAKE SOUP, READERS.

No-Knead Bread:

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Not the loaf I made, but mine looked identical.

I am fairly sure that I made the bread that everybody was raving about years ago after the New York Times published a recipe for no-knead bread, but I have no pictures of it on file and a casual search of my website brings up no results. The other day, while reading the somewhat dreadful book, The Perfect Loaf, I decided to try it out, since the idea of a long fermentation has been on my mind. The loaves of bread that I make — the baguettes and boules — are perfectly lovely and are great to photograph, but they don’t taste like much, which is the curse of modern yeast. I want them to taste like baguettes in Paris, with crisp crusts and a moist, light crumb. So the other night, I stirred together the few required ingredients and tossed it in my oven to rise whilst I was at work. I didn’t have any trouble dealing with the bread, even though the increased moisture of the dough did make it stick a bit to my couche. Other than that, there was no disaster and the bread responded exactly as the recipe said it would. It looked rather beautiful, if a bit too rustic for my tastes. I like there to be some nice slashes and encrusted flour, so I may experiment with that the next time. After it cooled, I cut into it and I was rather delighted by all the holes in the crumb and the way the crust flaked off like shards of caramel. The taste still wasn’t exactly what I’m searching for, but it’s certainly an improvement. I’m going to add whole wheat flour or maybe rye flour in my next batch. It’s great fun and very simple, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t make your own.

Dream of Paris:

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I had the loveliest dream last night which was a nice surprise. I have not been remembering my dreams lately. I go through bursts where I can recall my nighttime wanderings with vivid clarity, and then other times when I can barely remember what I did the previous minute. The dream was an exceptional comfort this morning — afternoon rather, it is break, after all [this is a long delayed post] — since when I opened my eyes and fumbled for my glasses, I could see that the entire countryside had been covered in snow. Not just a dusting but a blanket of fluffy, hellish snow. I was in no mood for that, so I went over my dream. I was walking on a bridge over the Seine. The sun was dipping low on the horizon, hours before sunset, but late enough for there to be a magical pinkish hue on the handsome grey Haussmannian buildings. It was springtime and there was a luxurious warmth coming from the sun, but it was still nippy enough out to need a jacket. I was wearing something I do not own, but certainly need to get my hands on, a beautifully tailored red suit jacket. It was the color of those Mae West lip couches that Dalí created. I’ve since found one that looks almost like the one in my dream, and I need it desperately:

34440257XE_13_fI need Saint Laurent everything. If I had more money, I’d wear them exclusively.

Back to the dream, though! Not far from the banks of the river, and with the bridge still very much in sight, I found my destination. It was a little courtyard in front of a restaurant, that in the dream I seemed to know very well. The floor of the courtyard was made up of finely crushed stone and there were square planters with perfectly maintained shrubberies in each. I recall small blossoms on these plants and little twinkling lights wrapped around the trunks. Betwixt each of these was a wrought-iron table with a big black and white umbrella sticking out of the middle. I had the table furthest from the street, per my request, so that I could watch all the comings and goings. As I sat there, sipping white wine out of a very fine glass — or maybe it was Kir? — I saw a friend and waved her over. We sat, chatted, drank, and laughed — about what I cannot remember — and then the dream was over, but the essence of it seems to have permeated my essence today. I miss Paris more than ever, but it is so nice to be able to get back even if it’s only in a dream.

“The Square” Documentary:

After hearing that the courts in Egypt had dropped all charges against their former president, Mubarak, I decided that it was finally time to watch The Square, a documentary about the revolution that began in 2011. I had intended to watch this before I visited the country for the first time, but I am certainly glad I didn’t. I don’t think I’m brave for going to Egypt, but I am not so sure that I would have gone with the same boldness if I had seen this. I would not have gone out walking in the middle of the night. I would not have stood around watching riots. I would have missed out on quite a few memories that I hold dear. But, last night while I was waiting for the paint to dry on my kitchen walls, I loaded it on Netflix and watched with rapt attention. It was riveting. The story of the revolution is told through the eyes of major players in the action. We see actual footage of the protests and the violence, and it is incredibly moving. When I was in Cairo, I met people who took part in the sit-in at Tahrir Square, but it was only when watching this film that I realized how brave they were to fight for their freedom. It makes it all the sadder to realize that Egypt is still so far from the democracy these activists seek and deserve. That kind of change does not come overnight or even over the course of a few years, but I think it is coming. The hour and a half passed by so quickly, and I was mesmerized by the images. There were the bridges that I crossed, streets where I had walked, and markets where I had shopped. And only a few years back, they were filled with angry protestors, with military tanks running citizens over, with soldiers firing live bullets into the crowds, soaked with blood, and littered with bodies. It was horrifying. You can read, as I have for years, about the political situation taking place in my beloved Egypt, but there is nothing quite like witnessing it. This is as close to a firsthand account as you can get, and I highly recommend you seek this one out. It’s on Netflix, but you can also easily find it online to stream. If anything, it only reaffirmed my adoration of Egypt and made me promise to go back as often as I can. When you go to the land of the ancient pharaohs today, everybody is truly glad to see you and they tell you with pride, “Welcome. You are Egyptian now.” And somehow this sentiment is true. I am an Egyptian now, and I feel so deeply for these people and hope so much for them.

HATE:

Being A Master Procrastinator:

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Nobody is a more skilled procrastinator than me. I’d like to see them try, but I’d never make it around to the competition. I’m that good. I have been putting off remodeling the last corner of my kitchen for over a year now, and I’m not proud. It’s the only thing on my to-do list today, but I don’t know if I’ll get around to it. I don’t know what is stopping me. I have literally nothing else to do, but I know that somehow I will convince myself that it is more important to research the art of the ancient Egyptian eighteenth dynasty, iron all my shirts, master the proportions in a new cocktail I’m experimenting with, learn to juggle, apply gold leaf to my espresso machine, comparison shop honed granite counters, and order prints of pictures from my recent trip to Europe than it is to finish a bit of remodeling. It will take me a day or two if I stay focused. I have all the materials I need. I have four days off. I have nothing standing in my way, but still, that little procrastinating voice inside my brain will lead me astray. I could probably be something great if I could manage to get rid of that devil in me. Can you be hypnotized to stop being a procrastinator? I need this as much as I need a Brazilian butt lift.

Larry Stylinson:

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(Advance notice. I don’t actually hate this, I just hate how it takes over.) I WANT MY LIFE BACK! Are you on the Tumblr, reader? If you are not, I heartily insist that you avoid it like the plague. It will decimate you. It will turn you into an overemotional pile of nothing. I suppose I should start at the beginning, but I’d best tell this tale in an abbreviated fashion otherwise I’d surely write on endlessly. Here we go… I have loved One Direction for years now. It’s a real love. A true love. An honest love. I adore those boys and their music and their fashion and their hair and their faces and everything they do. Harry is my favorite because he has a gentleman’s charm, a cheeky personality, and the hair of a real life angel. Because Harry is my favorite, I want him to be happy. And so, on Tumblr, when you look for news or pictures or videos of Harry as I so often do, you will inevitably come across something called LARRY. But I warn you reader, be very sure of what you are getting into before clicking on that tag. It will change you. You see, there is a literal ton of evidence suggesting that Harry is very happy and in a relationship with his bandmate, Louis. Don’t groan! I didn’t believe it at first either. I said, “I’m sure they’re just friends. Just good friends.” But then more and more evidence popped up. MORE AND MORE AND MORE. There are jokes and messages and touches and glances and matching tattoos and supportive friends and family. Just watch this and try not to openly sob at the most magical romance of our time:

It’s all so clear that they love each other and need to be together. I need them to be together. Doing research for this is exhausting. It’s a better use of my time though then laying about with insomnia as I used to do. Now, when I can’t sleep (aka ALL THE DAMN TIME) I’m deep in investigation mode. I should probably be a detective or a researcher. I’d be excellent. I’m not going further into this with you, though, because surely like that crazy killer in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, you will say that I am MAD. Anyway, I’m LARRY AF. LARRY 4 LIFE. They’re my OTP. I ship them heartily and yell, “KISS!” every time they are onscreen together.

Insomnia:

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I have been doing really well with my sleep for the past few months, which is quite a change from normal. Normally I just pass out when I get home, then later on in the small hours of the morning before picking myself up and trying to make myself look presentable before work. This academic year, I have actually been keeping to a regular schedule and I have noticed that I feel better. Ever since returning from Thanksgiving Break, though, I have been unable to resume this pattern. I just cannot sleep at all. Ever. I sleep for maybe four hours a night. As a result, I look like a monster with massive bags under my eyes, and I feel like one, too. I feel poorly and even thought I cannot sleep, I don’t have the energy to accomplish anything with all the additional time I’m spending awake. I just kind of sit around watching television, reading, or scrolling through Tumblr. I think about sleep. I lay in bed. I drink that sleepy tea. I meditate. I do everything I can think of, but sleep will not come. I hope I get over this soon. I feel myself falling apart.

My Current Hair Length:

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As you know, and as I have so often told you, I am growing out my hair so that I have long, luxurious locks again. I used to have long hair in high school, but that was back in the days when I was fat and had no fashion sense. Now I have cheekbones, well fitted shirts, and the ability to grow a bit of scruff on my face. Clearly, it’s time for me to have the long hair that I always dreamed of. Human hair grows about a half an inch per month, so this is an annoyingly lengthy process. I should have just got a weave. Right now my hair is in a curious stage where it’s not really short enough to push up anymore and it’s not quite long enough to pull back or brush back without my tresses gathering hideously in front of my eyes. Another inch or so and it’ll be good, but in the meantime, I feel a bit foolish. I don’t like feeling unfashionable. I suppose my hair will be the length where I can start enjoying it by my trip to Washington DC in March, and I’m sure it’ll be rapturously nice when it comes time to go on a tentative trip to California in the summer. I’m just ready to be done growing and am so ready for my man bun. It’s coming, reader. Be excited.

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