Monday, November 30, 2015

Dirt Drunk

Indulge me in a two sentence pity-party. Life has been pretty shitty as of late. After a series of rather unfortunate events, my Fall has sucked eggs and I’ve spent a lot of time crying.

But then! Then! I remembered the movie/book Julie and Julia. Julie was having a shit time, too. And cooking her way through Julia Childs’ famous tome healed her. In Julie’s own words (zoom in if you like):

I cannot imagine how many blogging/personal experiments Julie’s project spawned. And I can’t bear to google that. It seems to be on trend for self-help-writing-experiments: do something hard, write about it and you'll be transformed. See Cheryl Strayed's Wild for this as well.

My heart told me: for the month of December, cook your way through a special cookbook and it is going to heal you, too, damnit.  Programmed kitsch, luck and love to soothe the sore bits.

But what cookbook would I cook my way through? Something with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, like Williams and Sonoma 365 Days of Soup (or whatever it is called)? Or The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook? That would feel like cheating on all the seasonal recipes in the books in my dissertation.  Not a fabulous move.

A book that makes me dive into the roots of our country and make me think about the changes and love we’ve put into our food since blueberry catsup? Like Molly O’Neill’s American Food Writing? NO! That will just make me mad and get fired up about republican/democrat division. 

Then, like a beer can upside the head, I was hit with the idea of cooking my way through Hannah Hart’s My Drunk Kitchen: a guide to eating, drinking & going with your gut. Yes. Hannah Hart dedicates My Drunk Kitchen, “To Reckless Optimists, and all who believe we can do more and better.”

For those of you that don’t know Hannah, well, that’s about to change. She is what awesomesauce was meant to be served on:

Those of you that know me know that I love cooking. I love love it. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. I pickle raspberries and freeze hazelnut pestos. This would be an experiment that pushes me to my limits. To gain self-actualization and to heal my gut-voice I would de-learn my cooking!

 I made a plan. I made rules (such as "I will modify recipes to be both gluten and poultry-free." I have my reasons). I’d post weekly updates! I'd deal enlist my family, and do the holiday menus as suggested! Hartwiches and Can Bakes! BRING IT ON.

As I looked at the shopping lists, meal plans, and overarching philosophy more closely, the adult thought came to me. I WILL FEEL LIKE SHIT, AND WANT TO DIE IF I EAT AND DRINK LIKE THIS FOR A MONTH.

Hart makes it clear that this book is not a good idea to base a real diet around (which is why I wanted to do it, damnit!). It is a brilliant book, and I think any cuspian-millenial-adult should buy a copy. #holidaygifts! #thankyoudrunkkitchenIamhappyyouexist

Now that I've abandoned this project, I'm waiting to see if another one drops itself in my lap. Like writing out all my text messages by hand for a month--shit, I already did that once. Or maybe, as a wise man once suggested, I need to make a Not-To Do List, and stick to it. 

And if I do, I will make a gf-pizza cake. And eat it all at once. By myself. Come on. That just looks amazing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dirty Movies

Dear Proctors,

I am so lucky to live near you. I know you just finished THE BEST THING EVER—the run of the 100 American Film Institute’s picks. Wowza. Many of these I had seen before on regular televisions—or tiny laptops. But seeing them on the big screen? What a gift.
I bought the pass ($100 granting entry to all the films), and I made it to 42. Formidable, but I wish I had done more. In sonnet form, I could go through 42 ways in which I loved these films… Or 42 different dirt metaphors.

Instead, I much prefer to think of how these 42 films mark like tree-rings of this tiny era of time.

1. Rocky of all the movies, this one, the first, convinced me I had done the right thing in getting the pass. And I didn’t write the damn day down in my journal!
2. Shane 6/10/13 This is the week I started writing-pomodoros. As a writing technique, my life has forever been changed.
3. Manchurian Candidate 6/17/13 Mosquitos seem worse this year.

4. French Connection 7/1/13 Trying “pallet gardening” for the first time. Genius!
5. Bringing Up Baby 7/22/13 Pulling in no less than 1 lb of blackberries a day.

6. From Here to Eternity 10/21/13 Apparently I am so busy between July and October to get my butt in a movie seat.

7. Rear Window 10/28/13 I let a friend rake my lawn. It was his first time raking a lawn and he was really excited. I prefer to let the leaves give back to the soil, but whatevs, he had fun.

 8. Double Indemnity 11/4/13 Daylight savings time. I used my extra hour to read something beautiful.
9. To Kill A Mocking Bird 11/25/13 Started my phd exams…
10. Mash 12/16/13 …Passed my phd exams! I’m ABD! The hard part is over.
11. Dances With Wolves 12/30/13 The end of this year…. It was a tough one, but that’s how it goes after 30, right?


12. An American in Paris 1/27/14 Too cold to come out for movies the past few weeks. I’m a wimp!

13. Platoon 2/10/14 Groundhog day passed, I think they need to change the system, says everyone every year.

14. Modern Times 3/17/14 To Europe and back. I think I’m sick of going there.
15. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf 3/24/14 My puppy is 4 years old!

16. Shawshank Redemption 4/1/14 Still stew-cooking weather.
17. Tootsie 4/7/14 I am excited to go to Hawaii!
18. Silence of the Lambs 4/28/14 Leaving Hawaii was stupid. If you are ever in Hawaii do not leave.

19. Cabaret  5/19/14 The spring always makes me want more alone-time.

20. Rebel Without A Cause 6/30/14 Tomatoes are popping up in places they are not supposed to be!

21. Vertigo 8/25/14 Berries were late this year.

22.Nashville 9/15/14 Hit my 100 book mark!
23. Philadelphia Story 9/29/14 The time of year to refinish furniture you find at goodwill is coming to a close.

24. The Gold Rush 10/6/14 Still warm enough to walk for short errands.

25. Singing in the Rain 11/17/14 It is snowing by now.
26. Dr. Zhivago 11/24/14 Ferguson and heartache.

27. The Wizard of Oz 12/29/14 Christmas and the semester have passed.


28. Midnight Cowboy 1/5/14 It is a new year, Neruda is the first book of the year.

29. E.T. 2/16/15 Snow day after snow day, I can’t take any more of this winter bling.

30. All About Eve 3/2/15: A friend is lost. Life as precious/life as curious/life as angry-making.

31. 2001 Space Odyssey 4/6/15. See above. And now my puppy is 5!

32. Blade Runner 5/4/15 The anniversary of my father’s death. This was one of his ‘desert island movies.’ Thank you, proctors.
33. Annie Hall 5/11/15 My birthday. The weather is summery already. Strange.

34. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest 6/1/15 Just back from Vancouver, new places are good.
35. Godfather 6/22/15 I’ve been hibernating even though it’s beautiful out. Has anyone else flipped the seasons?
36. Godfather part 2 6/29/15 SCOTUS legalized gay marriage! Almost proud to be an American today!

37. The Graduate 8/17/15 made new friends! This doesn’t usually happen in adulthood. And where the hell did the blackberries go this year?
38. Psycho 8/31/15 Skunks are alive and well, out and about, and spraying. Me and my dog.

39. Dr. Strangelove 9/14/15 The cold of fall is settling into my bones. Hit my 100 book mark!
40. On The Waterfront 9/28/15 I’ve started reading Harry Potter, finally,  and the blog has nearly hit 2500 reads. These seem like milestones.

41. Schindler's List 10/19/15 Days are getting shorter, but it isn’t as cold as last year.
42. Citizen Kane 10/26/15 The leaves seem like stained glass this year. I don’t remember that from before.

This standing Monday Night Date with myself was an important part of the last two and a half years for me (holy crap that's a long time!). I say with ease that I felt every human emotion possible through the run of these films. (including walking out of ET with snot running out of my nose.)
Best $100 I ever spent. Thank you Proctors, thank you thank you thank you.