This weekend I had the pleasure of wandering around the woods, where most of the trees that had crumpled and crashed down after the October snow storm still haven’t been cleared out. I just discovered the BBC History Magazine podcast, which made for excellent listening as I climbed around fall limbs and muddy paths.
The rest of the week has been more work and less fun, but not without its highlights. I had my last every Medieval Studies presentation at Smith on Monday (with delicious donuts) & drinks with the other student participants in my fellowship. It’s so great to decompress and relax with people slightly out of my inner sphere.
I’ve decided to try to cut most desserts out in the coming weeks (until Thanksgiving, at least) since they’ve been giving me terrible sugar headaches and making me feel gross in general. However, I will not be giving up my dark chocolate…merely Trader Joes basic stuff, but still mmmmm. Let’s see how long I can last…!
While in Paris, I had some of the most délicieux macarons of my life. I fell in love with rose flavored ones; I don’t think I’ve ever eaten something so delicate. This isn’t entirely surprising, I suppose, but since I saw an article about New York macarons in the NY Times, I’ve been having a major craving for them. Food writing can be some of the most luscious, rich and, frankly, sexy prose out there:
Bite into the eggshell-like crust and there is an exhalation, a surrender, as the cookie crumbles, giving way to the chewy, almost half-baked interior. This is just textural foreplay, for the main flavor is in the filling: bracing lemon curd, perhaps, or evanescent orange blossom, or vanilla flecked with vanilla bean, or raspberry jam, with a faint, thrilling trace of bitterness from the seed. (NY Times)
Oh my. Even though they’re on the pricey side of student luxury, I’m hoping to at least have one when I’m in NYC in a few weeks.
I have a great love of Northampton’s new coffee and tea bar, Sip. It’s a tiny bit pricier than Woodstar and Haymarket, but it has a great atmosphere and one of the best mochas I’ve had in my life. Probably the best coffee I’ve had since I was in Rome!
Besides that, my life is still consumed with work, but in a somewhat more balanced way than before. I’m going through the Big Push of applications. As tough as they can be, I remember that I will be back in the UK next year and that makes all the difference with motivation.
Things I’ve loved lately: Sir Degrevant, Fighting Trousers, re-watching Return of the King during a snow-induced black out (in October?!), Betsy’s blog recommendations (best pen pal ever!), having le boyf visit for a whole week, and the new Hobbit Production video (!!!!!!!!!!!!).
Never again will I allow university to eat up my life, until I am an empty shell. Never again will I lose sleep over dates and names of things centuries dead. Never again will I neglect my body to get a certain number on a test that doesn’t really matter. Never again will Smith own me. I am my own person, I deserve my own time and attention.
A boundary has been crossed in this past week that I never want to face again.
And so, the rest of the night is full of Vivaldi and more importantly, is fully mine.
Quality makes life worth exploring. Other things may give you purpose, but quality gives it a sense of richness that keeps you going on Mondays, Wednesdays, all days.
It’s something I need to bring more into my life, especially in terms of food and experiences to wake me from my collegiate spell.
Recently quality things in my life: New York Film Festival, goat’s cheese brie, blood orange juice, BBC iPlayer marathons. Definitely need more in my life right now.
enjoying a new hat Anthony & Beth bought me on a whim. I am so lucky to have friends like these.
After three days of power outage thanks to Hurricane Irene, my family and I have finally been returned to power and running water. People keep saying it was a good way to experience the lives of so many others who live in poverty throughout the world; to me, this seems extremely untrue. Never were we without food, we could visit friends for showers and we knew that our power would return soon. Even if it wasn’t the worst of times, it certainly wasn’t the best either as I came down with a very bad cold that moved to my chest, triggering a dangerous lack of ability to breath.
But today, the sun is shining and so are my light bulbs. We drive to Princeton tomorrow to bring A to university and then I am off to Smith on Saturday. Senior year approaches, ever so slowly.
I’ve been fighting a fair bit of insomnia lately. Last night when it struck, instead of lying awake for hours I decided to pick up my copy of The Complete Poems of Keats and Shelley and try to bring some beauty into the dark night.
While reading, I rediscovered one of my absolute favorite poems, To Jane: The Invitation. One part in particular spoke to my emotions of late:
Hope, in pity mock not Woe
With smiles, nor follow where I go;
Long having lived on thy sweet food,
At length I find one moment’s good
After long paid - with all your love,
This you never told me of.
I still find it so incredible that one can find understanding and solace in works written far before one’s birth. Hence, the comfort of the library; like finding a long lost family, or a friend whose letters you’ve forgotten to reply to but still know exactly how you feel.
I dreamt last night that I was hospitalized thanks to too much stress & my ‘stress doctor’ made me eat cookies, so when I woke up my instant reactions was ‘QUICK, RELAX, BAKE!’. I decided to make a super healthy scone type thing (since my parents are both trying to eat healthfully and I am trying to do so before the onslaught of butter & sugar that will come in the wake of the Physicist’s visit next week). I edited this recipe a bit (honey instead of maple syrup, with added almond meal, Smart Balance instead of butter - the blasphemy! - etc) to some healthful, though perhaps not fully delicious, extent. My loathing of whole wheat flour (it just tastes too bitter to me) continues to grow, so if anyone has any suggestions for a healthy alternative, please let me know!
served with Assam tea, yum.