Sunday, November 30, 2008

at last!

today after unloading spencer and his musical equipment at church, i eagerly snuck away from the obligatory pre-church cordialities to go to the new farmer's market in old town la quinta. this is the best thing that could have happened to me culinarily speaking in the desert, short of le cordon bleu opening a new branch. i felt like giada, wandering around like a kid on christmas morning, asking questions and trying to befriend every vendor i met. i wandered through each and every stall, smelling, tasting, touching everything. Some enormous light green grapefruits, called oroblancos. they were sweeter than any grapefruit i'd ever tasted, and milder, too. that same vendor, from redlands (most of them travelled an hour or more to be here), let me try persimmon. it looks like a tomato but tastes something like a tart plum, and can be made into cookies. next was a very friendly and chatty lady selling herbs and potted lavender, along with produce, which she grows using little volcanic stones. she says they keep away fungi better than normal dirt, and allow her to be pesticide free in her farming. she had a photo album to show me all of this. bells rang, not from a church, but sounded cheery and european, and if i closed my eyes, i could be back in praha, wandering down cobblestoned streets to school across the vlatava river. i wandered past flower growers, wondering how many times a month i could come home with flowers before spencer would say something. at a stall selling flavoured honey and cheeses, i tasted 12 month aged gouda that was amazing- crumbly, salty, sweet and earthy. i resisted the nearly ten dollar price tag but am determined to go back and get some with a baguette and wine for a small simple dinner. i tasted many other perfectly ripe fruits, regretting that i had eaten breakfast before i came. suddenly an hour had gone by and i had to go to church, nearly escaping without buying anything, but i couldn't resist a rustic baguette and two muffins for tomorrow-blueberry and cranberry orange. this is going to be my new hobby and reason not to dread waking up at seven am on sunday mornings.

Monday, November 24, 2008

bethany does this count?

i am answering a prompt from kita's blog. because i am greedy and materialistic and can always rattle off a wishlist...

3 things i want for christmas.

1. a $10,000 giftcard to anthropologie. and that would go so quickly...

2. to get to go with spencer if he gets to go to nashville for work in january. i have always wanted to go there to see the bluegrass/country homeland and the culture. and by 'always' i mean at least five years, so that's always right?

3. a resonator guitar. specifically, this one:

so much for a short blog. dang it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé !

today is the third thursday in november... no not thanksgiving... it is like the french thanksgiving in a way, because tonight at midnight the beaujolais nouveau is released all over the world!! this wine, similar to a pinot noir, is harvested this year and only fermented for about 7-8 weeks. it is light-bodied and fruity and considered by wine snobs to be not a real wine, or of lesser quality because it should not be cellared. (it should be enjoyed immediately!) forget those stuffy connoisseurs and join the millions of people all over the world celebrating tonight. you should try and find some at a store near you- the most prevalent probably being georges debouef, who was a leading figure in making this genre of wine so popular. the best part is, it is cheap!!! and it goes great with thanksgiving dinner. so buy a couple bottles and take them wherever you are going next week. your friends and family will thank you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

it's the economy stupid!

i am currently slaughtering the last century of literary criticism into horrendously overly-simplified quips and phrases in order to cram them into my brain for the gre. the princeton review told me to think of this test as a 'cocktail party' of name-dropping, inside joke telling and no real in-depth knowledge. in my efforts to train myself under their guidance, i have hereby renamed the major Modern schools of Literary Criticism as follows:

Marxist Criticism: 'it's the economy stupid!' or, 'existential criticism,' dealing with the individual in his historical context and not universal themes that are common to all mankind. funny how Marx wanted to apply his theories to everyone, though. 

New Historicism : ideology of class, 'let them eat cake' criticism. the ideologies of a class are encoded on all the rest. the 'struggling voice of the oppressed' is competing with the dominant class. 

Feminist, Black and Post-Colonial Criticism: these are all lumped together - to their chagrin- as responses to the new-historicist school. they are the voices of the 'marginalized others' who are trampled on or overlooked by the 'phallocratic hegemony' of the aforementioned white, wealthy, men. i just want to quote that scene of Ten Things I Hate About You where Kat is complaining that they never read sylvia plath... 'i know it must have been hard for you to overcome all those years of white, upper-middle class suburban oppression- must be tough!' 

Psychological Criticism. 'subconscious yearnings' theory. just look for the words ID, EGO, SUPEREGO, and you're set. anyone who has seen Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged will think of the audience participation part of Hamlet where ophelia goes insane. 

Freudian Criticism: Basically the above, with the additional interesting note that Harold Bloom is a Freudian Critic. that makes me want to reread all the parts of his shakespeare book i read just to find hints of this. basically, he thinks all poets/authors are reacting against earlier 'strong-poets' much as a rebellious teenager fights their parents and ends up becoming just like them. the horror! the horror!

Archetype or Myth Criticism: "I need a hero! I'm holding out for a hero til the end of the night!' 
basically, there are repeated themes and characters in all of literature which expresses humanity's needs in our 'collective subconscious' it can be superman comics, King Arthur, Beowulf, or T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland. how'd you like to write a dissertation on a comic book?

Linguistic Criticism: "the grammar class of literary theory" takes these forms:

Formalist: think of dissecting a frog, but the frog is Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and you are a nerdy professor of linguistics who wears a toupee and sweater vest. deals with the 'underlying laws that "makes literature literature" 

New Criticism: think trendy. T.S.Eliot, among others, is part of this school. (isn't that like letting someone on American Idol be on the judge panel?) Very popular in U.S. and England in 20th century. I like it because its the 'don't look too deep into things' school, where if the meaning isn't right there in the words, then you are making it up. i wonder if Bonca knew that as we dissected the hell out of J. Alfred Prufrock and his identity crisis... 

Structuralist Criticism: aka Semiotic Criticism. "Meaning is in the eye of the beholder" Meaning is not intrinsic, it comes from Structure. likes to put things in reference to other things- periphery, axis, center, etc. 

Post-Structuralist: guess what this is reacting against? this is the most esoteric of all of them, basically the book says just look for lingo- dissemination, logocentrism, bracketing, alterity (i've never even heard of that word), slippage, mimesis, blah blah blah. its like that scene in Good Will Hunting where he makes a jackass out of the guy trying to hit on Minnie Driver and insults his entire education. 

Reader-Response Criticism: LAST ONE!  this is the paris hilton of literary theories- its all about the reader. forget what Shakespeare or Ibsen or Dostoevsky actually meant when they wrote their greatest works- no, its all about the reader's experience of the work. That reinforces my theory that The Scarlet Letter and Ethan Frome were indeed a complete waste of time then. i want those hours back, Mrs. Salazar. 

Can i skip grad school now molly? 

Thursday, June 12, 2008


its 1:24 am and i cant sleep. thats what i get for reading articles about stocks and investing right before bed from a magazine i got at the library for free. diagram that sentence. another freebie was Self, which has a diet renovation plan. in a month, you lose a dress size. im not too interested in that, but i would like to get in shape and eat healthier. day one says 'keep a food log' hmmm

bowl of special K and milk  (pretty tasty and also super cheap)
cup of coffee
one generic lime ralph's yogurt- pretty much the best yogurt ive ever tasted. also, cheap. 
(yet, ive still managed to spend twice my food budget last month- i need a money diet).
water. more coffee.
finally, at about 4:30, i stop trying to catch up our finances in quickbooks and eat a slice of meatloaf i made last night. mmm.
angel hair pasta with sauteed shrimp, mushrooms and sauce.
glass of red wine. (i've cut myself off sugar and alcohol to be healthier- except for red wine with dinner. its good for the heart, and delicious. also... cheap. its panilonco from trader joe's and the best wine you can get for $3.99. try to find the chardonnay/viognier if you can). 
i delay going to work out for so long that i am too tired once that stupid guessing game show is over - the suitcase one. ugh! we didnt watch celebrity circus. that would be just too degrading. 
part of berry cobbler i made last night- i know i know, its sugar. and vanilla ice cream one scoop. and part of a cup of coffee..... lalalallalala. probably why im up right now.
spencer and i were looking at our stomachs pooching out as we ate cobbler in bed. sigh. back on the workout wagon tomorrow! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

the not-so-pimp mobile

everyone knows that if you pray for patience, God is sure to send a slew of nagging, grumpy, oblivious or otherwise irksome people into your life. that, or every inanimate object- traffic lights, coffee makers, cell phones- will break down simultaneously. and then we learn patience, or at least not to pray for it again. and if we pray for God to help us trust him more, does he give us a nice peaceful week and solve all the difficult situations in our lives? no. and i am learning to be thankful that that is the way he works. it makes for some situations you would never have otherwise experienced. like riding on the back of a tow truck late at night.

sunday afternoon, stuart, nicole, spencer and i decided to go to IKEA in covina, one of our favourite places. since they were buying large items like bookshelves, we decided to take our 55 chevy station wagon on its first road trip. it was such a good little car. it tried so hard. and it made it all the way out there, all the way around full of stuff and (almost) all the way home. it had overcome obstacles such as a motorcycle 'gang' of idiotic teenagers who took up four lanes of traffic, and barely being able to fit all our purchases inside so that three of us were in the front and one person sat indian style in the back and pushed the bookshelves away from their head after every left turn. stuart was doing an amazing job at driving too, with the two people on the right side telling him if he was clear to change lanes. in beaumont, we stopped for gas (and of course, starbucks) and saw some steam coming from the hood along with a sort of chugging sound. its an old car, we thought, it is having a hard time, but its nothing bad. then we headed home. 

anyone who has been to palm springs knows of the enormous hill between all those cool windmills which every indie band must have as the cover of their cd at some point. there is also nothing out there for miles except sand, wind and semi trucks. quite a good spot for a horror movie, perhaps the sequel to Duel. that's when i noticed more steam coming from the car. nicole noticed it too. 'uh, theres a lot of steam coming out' stuart turns his head 'really?' POOF. suddenly the 'steam'-actually thick smoke- is pouring into the car and out under the hood. we can't see a thing and stuart manages to get the car over to the side of the road and turn it off. he and spencer thought it was going to catch fire, and stuart later admits to thinking about how to get all the stuff out safely and also which pieces of the car are most valuable and can be quickly taken off. i am about ready to run down the steep hill we're on into the pitch black desert. the guys get out, try to see what happened but there was so much smoke they couldnt see a thing. so they got back in, we prayed about what to do, then called AAA, who informed us that their tow man could only give two of us a ride and so could we call a cab for the other two of us. nice service. we call steve, stuart and spencer's dad, and he heads out to come get us. meanwhile, its so windy outside that you can barely stand up, so we stay huddled in the car until help arrives. this is where the trust thing comes in. i begin to lose it. every time a semi goes by, the car shakes and i start to cry- trying to keep it quiet and not scare anyone. they are all really really calm.  spencer is funnier than ever telling old stories of breaking down in stuart's old z car. nicole says, God is taking care of us, and while i know that she is right, still i am terrified. what if we all die? who will take care of isabella? God- she needs parents. at least it'll be quick, i think, the way these trucks are driving. we wont even feel it. and, we are all believers- we will go Home if we die. i am not worried about that. but sitting there anticipating it was nearly unbearable. i realize how much i do not actually trust God in day to day life and am sad that i am so lacking. it occurs to me this whole thing may have happened just because i needed to learn to trust. 

soon the truck comes, and the driver, with a goatee and tatoos all over his forearms, tells us that he wont leave us here- he will just have two of us ride in the chevy on the tow truck. it felt like being able to do something illegal and get away with it. or like being a kid and eating candy before dinner. i tell spencer we should make out since no one can see us- and when will this opportunity every come again? as we're being loaded up, i call jenny and tell her i feel like im in Grease, with the car going up into the sky. we tried to take pictures with our phones, but it was too dark. and i have to say, that as scared as i was, it was one of the coolest times ever. and also really amazing to think that some of my closest friends are now my family and they are really really good to have around in hard times. having seen nicole in labour with isabella and now in this, im pretty sure she could work for the CIA or a bomb squad- the woman cannot be flustered. we got to the shop, left the car, got home with steve and half our ikea stuff, and at about 2 am got to bed. 

i am thankful that we are safe, thankful for the people in my life, for spencer's comfort and understanding, and also thankful for the experiences God lets in our lives to show us more about ourselves, and to show us that we are not in control, but he is and he is taking care of us. and that with difficult, scary things, come rides on tow trucks and remembering what its like to be a kid. 

Thursday, May 29, 2008

my password is password

this is my first official blog entry. it is dedicated to molly lewis, who is moving soon to long beach. molly, now we can stay in touch and you can know my every move and all my goings on, probably more up to date than when you actually lived here. that is how we always are. we must still write letters.

the title of my blog is quite unattractive. but the story goes back to eighth grade, when i first read To Kill A Mockingbird. a bildungsroman is a coming-of-age story, or quite literally, a formation novel. "a type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist." i figured since i always loved children's lit, specifically adolescent literature, and since i can identify with a twelve year old more than my own peers, it was a fitting title. that, and i dont think im qualified to have a blog. hopefully, my writing will mature as this progresses.

the first attempt to create this page was about three months ago, also with molly's help, and i think it is pure luck that i even remembered what website i half-created this on. the other feat was remembering which of about fifteen inside jokes with myself was my password. apparently, you cant actually use the word password because it is unsecure. its not my bank account. what? is someone going to come in and author a blog in my name? gasp! i can only hope it would be bethany, as her blog makes me laugh hysterically and make people who have never met her read it. anyway, i was going to wait to make my first post a picture of me in hollywood kneeling by amy grant's star- ha! but i can't find that picture, so this is what you get instead.

hopefully something more entertaining in the near future.