Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oh dear. Now she's a hat blogger.

So, despite the steady and studious application of conditioner, my hat barely grew.

It might fit somebody's young'un, but it certainly won't fit my meganoggin.

But then, just as I was fixing to go out and buy some borax, Brian came home with an Easter present:

And all was right in the world.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Two days ago, I bought a hat. It was kind of a frivolous purchase, but I'd just been paid a few bucks for watching a neighbor's cat over Easter weekend, and I'd wanted this hat since I first saw it in the shop window last September. So when I walked by the store and noticed it was on sale, I figured what the heck -- if you want something for 7 months straight, it's obviously not an impulse buy, right? And knit hats can be worn year round in our chilly little city.

Anyway, cute hat, right?

That is, it was until I accidentally put it through the laundry:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

For Lack of a Better Idea

The Men in My Life
In no particular order, save, perhaps, order of appearance. Or maybe height. I don't know.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Recipes Have Lists

I'm pretty damn proud of my cookie recipe. It's adapted from Rodale's Naturally Great Foods Cookbook, by Nancy Albright, which I picked up for seven dollars at the Briarwod Bookshop in Annapolis my freshman year of college. I bought the book at 2:53 Pm on October 15th, 1995. How do know? Because the receipt is still marking the page of the first recipe I ever made from it (Tomato Quiche, p 207).

Anyway, here goes. These days I almost always double this recipe (or, as Brian puts it, "make enough"):

2 eggs, beaten (we've started getting eggs with our weekly veggie delivery. Frakkin' awesome).
1/2 cup oil (when I double the recipe, I use a 1/2 cup oil and a stick of butter)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (lately, I've been adding a 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and a 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds to the doubled recipe).
1/2 cup peanut butter

In a bowl combine the wet ingredients. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture. Let dog lick out the bowl you mixed the wet ingredients in. Allow to stand for 30 minutes until the oatmeal has absorbed some of the liquid. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Drop spoonfulls of the mixture onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Things I Made Today

1. Broth. Also known as 'cleaning out the veggie bin.'
2. Potato salad.
3. Cookies.
4. A funny little sign to go on the dishwasher so that we can tell by looking whether the dishes are clean or dirty. I used magnets!

Things I Learned Today:

1. The dishwasher door is plastic.

And He's Back!

The cat just wandered in and demanded food. Where did he go? What did he do? Whatever it was, he doesn't want me out of his sight. The feeling is mutual.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Things I Don't Want to Do Today, Part 2

1. Blog

But that just seems unfriendly. So here's what we had for dinner tonight. Elaine and Nona, a couple from across the street, came over. Brian and I want to be them when we grow up (not that they're any older than us, really).

From WildHarvest.com:

Spring Wild Harvest Ragout With Fiddlehead Greens & Morels


* 1/2 pound fiddleheads, cleaned (link)
* 1/2 pound "baby" pattypan squash, trimmed
* 1/2 pound baby carrots, trimmed
* 3/4 cup shelled fresh peas
* 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
* 1/2 pound pearl onions, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute, peeled, and trimmed
* 2 thyme sprigs
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1/4 pound fresh morels, cleaned and trimmed and sliced
* 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
* 1 large garlic clove, minced

Boil the fiddleheads in salted water for 4 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender. Drain and plunge in ice water to stop the cooking. When cool, drain in a colander. Repeat the process of boiling and cooling with the squash and the carrots. Boil the peas for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are just tender, and drain them.

In a large heavy skillet combine 2 tablespoons of the butter, the onions, the thyme, the bay leaf and 1/4 cup of the broth and simmer the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the morels and 1/2 cup of the remaining broth and simmer the mixture, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the morels are tender.

Add the fiddleheads, the squash, the carrots, and the remaining 1/4 cup broth and simmer the mixture, covered, for 1 minute. Add the peas, the parsley, the mint, and the garlic and simmer, covered, for 1 minute.

Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until the butter is just melted. Discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

I left out the onions and garlic (Hope can't have 'em), and used dried mushrooms, with the soaking liquid from the mushrooms (plus some diced tomatoes) in lieu of broth. It was yummy, and very spring.

I also made a beet salad with creme fraiche and mustard dressing from a recipe that I cut out of the San Francisco Chronicle shortly after we moved here. If you're good, I'll type that out & post it. Someday.

The cat still hasn't come home. Come home, kitten. We miss you.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


1. Grapefruit: I don't like it, but I like the juice.
2. Pickwick Papers: a book that should be enjoyed someplace cozy, with a ready supply of tea and treats.
3. Bears: furry.
4. Weather: sunny but chilly
5. Sleep: sleepy.
7. Hats: Only extra large hats fit me. I'm mildly concerned that if I go in for steriod injections, my head will grow even larger, like that baseball guy.
8. Anne of the Island: In audio-book form, the best thing ever.
9. Beets: delicious.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Things I Don't Want to Do Today

The cat's still missing, and I really just don't feel like doing anything today, except sitting in the backyard, mournfully waiting. But time and tide, blah blah blah. Plus the whole NaBloPoMo thing. So, here goes:

1. Blog: I really don't like blogging just for the sake of blogging. And yet I sign up for every 'blog daily' challenge that comes my way. Hm.

2. Go to the zoo: This is how the American empire falls: soft, decadent middle-class white women living on unemployment, complaining about their leisure activities. Oh woe. What loathsome exertion will I be forced into next? Croquet?

3. Go to my writer's group: Yet again, what a whiny toad I am! Oh woe, I shall be forced to drink wine, eat soup, and talk shop. The indignity!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A List of Books Within Arms Reach, and Their Locations

1. Storyteller, by Kate Wilhelm: to my right, near my elbow. I'm wishing I'd reread it before submitting my application to Clarion. I'm worried I didn't make it absolutely clear how much I need me some writing instruction right now -- I'm all atmosphere and no plot these days.

2. Getting Started as a Freelance Writer, by Robert W. Bly: On the floor by the bed. I should pick that up and get crackn'. Yup.

3. The Testament of Gideon Mackm by James Robertson: On the floor, too, where I dropped it after finishing it two nights go. That's a damn good book, y'all. (No pun intended. It's about the devil).

4. Achilles, by Elizabeth Cook: A little further along the floor, having slid off the Testament of Gideon Mack to make a break for the bookshelf. Not so fast, Achilles. I ain't through with you.

5. Freddy and Fredericka, by Mark Helpern: On my nightstand. I wondered where that had gotten to. My mother called me in the middle of the night two weeks ago, adamant that I should go out and buy this book at my earliest convenience. I meant to read it after my surgery, but confused myself by putting it in a spot where a sane person might keep books she intended to read in bed. I don't know what I was thinking.

6. Salome, by Oscar Wilde: under Freddy and Frederika. Well, I hope they got along ok.

7. Proust and the Squidby Maryanne Wolf. On the nightstand, too. There are at least four books in our house right now that namecheck Proust in the title. When did Proust become shorthand, and what is he shorthand for?

8. The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One, by Margaret Lobenstein: On the nightstand, wedged under the lamp. I should really pick that up, already.

9. A two-year-old copy of Tin House: that's a great magazine, but I wish I could find the uncanny women issue.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A trip through the archives

There's nothing like a long to-do list for stirring up the ol' busywork. So, I just went through my November 2006 archive and added the "Nablopomo" tag, just in case the cyber archaeologists of the future need help sorting out which months I blogged every day, and why. I don't usually like reading through things I've written here (so self-absorbed! So poorly proofread!), but in this case, it was kinda fun.

One entry was oddly timely, as I've just discovered this video on youtube, answering the age old question, "Is that something I saw as a kid, or did I make it up?"

I also added tags so that you can track entries on the cat or my neck lump surgery. Oh, and here's a bonus, of sorts: I also tracked down this old secret blog that I'd nearly forgotten about, which I started before I told my parents about the mysterious lump in my neck (I didn't want to worry them, see?). You can witness my thinly disguised panic here: NoraBora.vox.com

Things I'm Not Freaking Out About Today

1. The cat's gone missing again, the first time he's ever pulled off this dissapearing act twice in as many weeks (usually he waits a good year or so between Greta Garbo impersonations). Whatever, kitten, I'm over it.

2. The weird itchy-pully feeling along the edges of my new scar. Whatever. It does this every time.

3. The nagging feeling that I have plans tonight. If I'm supposed to do something with you, please call me?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Medical Tourism

I got my stitches out today, and made an appointment to get steroid injections which will hopefully minimize my scarring this time around (and maybe improve my baseball game!). The appointment is with a dermatologist, which got me thinking about the wide variety of doctors this lump (and this now post lump collarbone) has seen.

Types of Doctors I Have Seen for One Little Body Part

1. Dr. N: My primary care physician many moons ago, who told me that the chronic pain in my hand and arm was, "probably nothing," and that I was "so young, what could be wrong with you?" Then she advised me to get manicures with hand massages.

2. Dr. B: A Chiropractor, several years later. I got a free consultation with my gym membership, and ended up seeing him for a few months in an attempt to eradicate the arm pain. When it just wouldn't go away, he discovered the lump poking up from beneath my clavicle. He determined that the lump wasn't a swollen muscle, and advised me to get some sort of follow-up. The day he discovered the lump, he let me stay on the water massage table longer than usual, and I was afraid he suspected something terrible was wrong with me. Later I found out he thought it might be the edge of a lung tumor, poking out by my neck. I guess that happens sometimes.

3. Various Residents at the sliding scale clinic at St. Mary's: The one I saw most often was convinced it was nothing but a sprained muscle at first, and got progressively more worried as more and more results came back inconclusive. They knew I had a tumor, but couldn't figure out what it was.

4. The guy down in radiology who did a needle biopsy: The needle was huge, and it hurt more than I could have ever expected (which makes sense when your realize the tumor was made up of nerve cells). He was the first person to tell me, "This thing's going to have to come out, no matter what." I was so scared, I cried the whole walk home.

5. Dr. P: A Vascular Surgeon who reminded me of my cousin Claire. It turned out that she had grown up in Massachusetts (like me!), and had attended Tufts medical school, right by where Brian and I used to live. She went in to take out my tumor, but realized that it was part of the nerve and that I'd need to see a specialist to get it out. She was really nice.

6. Dr B: The Peripheral Neurologist who took out the tumor, finally. He's one of the best in the business for the strange little tumor I had. People come from all over the world to see him, but I only needed to go 3 stops on the N train. His waiting room has the most amazing view of San Francisco I've ever seen. The surgery took nine hours. He's got a great bedside manner.

7. Dr L: An Orthopedic Surgeon who was part of the team doing the 9 hour surgery. She's the one who repaired my collarbone (which had to be broken to get the tumor out), and who put in the plate that held it together when they were done. She's also the one who took the plate out again last week. It seems like she's got a good sense of humor. Or at least she laughs at my dumb jokes, which makes me feel better about things.

8. Various medical students who assisted in the de-tumoring. When I woke up after the surgery, all these young medical students kept coming to check on me, each of them saying they'd been there for the surgery. They were all really excited with every little move I made in the recovery room, and twittered appreciatively at my lame jokes. Huh, I thought, my brain still foggy from the drugs, I must have looked really cute in there. Later, I realized that I'd just had a really cool, rare tumor, and that my rock star surgeons had done a great job at not damaging any of the nerves going to my arm. I could've lost the use of my thumb or pinky. As it was, my hand was alternately numb and painful for months, like it was constantly waking up from having been slept on.

9. The Physical Therapists at the Hand Clinic: Dr. B referred me to a hand clinic run by Dr. L at the hospital down the street from us. At the end of each session, I got to stick my hand in a machine full of corn husks with hot air that blew the husks around. The nerves in my hand were still waking up, and the hot air and husks felt indescribably good. The therapist I saw most was named Olga, and told me a funny story about holding a baby crocodile on a trip to Africa. After my last appointment she said, "Go ahead! Just live your life, you'll be fine."

10. A Dermatologist, and maybe a plastic surgeon for the scars: and that should be it. As I said to Brian today, if we could get Proctologist involved somehow, that would be impressive.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Signs That I May Have Been Unemployed for Too Long

1. I've find myself thinking that I should embroider me, Hope and Brian's names onto napkins, each in colors appropriate to our personalities.

2. Days of the week have no meaning to me. I find myself wondering, why are people working today?? It's Wednesday, for God's sake.

2a. Oh, wait, it's Monday. My bad.

3. Three bottles of wine seems like a decent amount for four people to drink with their dinner. On Monday.

4. How people have any money whatsoever is an absolute mystery,

5. A stranger starts a conversation on the street, and I am completely unable to string words together into a sentence.

6. Our freezer is full of soups, each recipe having required several hours' preparation. Somehow, the day that we find ourselves in need of a quick, no-prep dinner never comes.

7. Planning a trip to the desert for my birthday, I momentarily have trouble understanding why Wednesday is a difficult day for people to make a ten hour drive.

8. This has nothing to do with the list, but there's a meteor shower the night before my birthday this year. Y'all should totally check it out.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Johannes Kepler is one of my favorite scientists. I'm writing a story right now wherein one of the characters is named John Kepler, and even though the character's not entirely based on the original J.K., I've been having fun researching biographical information to work in here and there. So, since it's March, here's a list:

Some Interesting Stuff About Johannes Kepler, Plus Random Facts You May Find Useful

1. He was born on December 27th, the feast day of St. John the Apostle.

1a. In Dante's Paradiso, St. John explains to Dante that he (St. J to the A, that is), like all the saints, ascended into heaven in his spiritual form. The only two to ever ascend corporeally (that is, body and soul together), John reveals, were Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

2. In the early 1600s, Johannes Kepler wrote a manuscript that was later published under the title Somnium, or The Dream. In it, he explored what astronomical observations would be like from another planet, hypothesizing that, from the moon, one could observe the movements of the earth in the same manner as the Earth's inhabitants can track the moon's.

2a. Somnium is sometimes described as the first work of science fiction. It tells the story of a journey to the moon, accomplished after the mother of the narrator consults a demon and learns the secret of space travel. It also incorporates autobiographical elements from Kepler's own life, such as his apprenticeship with Tycho Brahe.

2b. Some years later, Kepler's mother was put on trial for witchcraft, perhaps in part due to the events described in Somnium. After successfully defending her, Kepler added 223 footnotes to the story (which go on several pages longer than the story itself), which explain the story's allegorical and scientific elements. He also made the trip to the moon take place inside a dream.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I just might do this every day

So, in case you haven't heard, every Month is National Blog Posting Month nowadays. I haven't decided if I'm really doing it this month for sure, but until I do, I better pretend I am. If that makes sense.

So anyway, March's theme is lists. Here goes:

Reasons I can't get a job just yet, as there's so much more still need to accomplish during my unemployment. Such as:

1. Joining the Craft Gym and learning a trade (with God as my witness, I'll never manage offices again!).

2. Rediscovering the joy of reading (believe it or not, I developed a certain anxiety around the activity when I was teaching and working full time this past semester. I can't enjoy a book without the nagging feeling that there's some real work I'm neglecting somewhere).

3. Walking more. Particularly in places where there are ruins, views, and/or sea breezes.

4. Catching up on my correspondence.

5. Cleaning the goddamn bedroom already (there's nothing like worrying that your missing cat has been smothered under a pile of dirty laundry).

6. Writing the great American novel, or at least finishing a short story for once, rather than freezing halfway through, unable to edit or move forward.

7. Cleaning the damn dog doo from the back yard so that I can enjoy the afternoon sun.

8. Exploring the still shockingly plentiful San Francisco neighborhoods, museums, and scenic spots that I have yet to visit, plumb for riches, and adore.

I think this is better than actually I did at 8th grade science

Thank God no one asked me to do a graph!

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

via Trixie-lou's blog.

The Cat Came Back, the Very Next Day

Well, the cat came home finally at 6:45 this morning, swaggering casually into the kitchen while Hope was feeding the other animals breakfast.

I tend to read into things too much. I remember when I was eight or so, on a church trip to Cape Cod, asking the minister why God created mosquitoes. He said, in his sonorous preacher voice,"To teach us patience," and all the grown-ups laughed. But I immediately started crafting different, more nuanced answers, whole sermons about how the lowly mosquito should make us examine the nature of our our own relationships, how our desires & appetites affect the world around us and blah blah. We are never so well-assured that we speak the truth of the universe as when we are eight.

Which is basically a longer-winded way of saying what I said before: I overthink things. So when the cat was still missing at bedtime, I wondered: do I take things too much for granted? Should I be happy with what I've got, and not sweat the slings and arrows, just so long as my sweet happy life with Brian and the cat stays intact? Or do cats just sometimes need to take a day, to celebrate leap year and do whatever it is they do when we're not watching?

Anyway. I'm just glad he's home.