Category Archives: Uncategorized

Organization.

I really like my academic self, but sometimes I miss my fiction writing.  Non-fiction is so structured and so planned out.  I struggle with having prepared outlines before I start writing.  I am always shuffling around sections, unhappy with the way things flow.  I’m not much of an editor of my own work.  I have a (not-so?) secret love of editing other people’s work, but when I get my own words down on paper I just want them to stay there.  I put them there to begin with for a reason.  It made sense to me at the time.  But oh, I suppose there is a great need in non-fiction for things to “make sense.”  I know you could call writing the transmission of thoughts, and in this way it is important for a reading audience to be able to understand the words typed or printed down.  Ho hum.

It is raining and I have the whole apartment to myself tonight (no dog even!).  Quiet and pleasant rain.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Me falling asleep while taking notes – from a few years back.

I soaked beans overnight to cook the next day, but then I was lazy during the next day.  I waited too long, so the beans sprouted.  Rather than throw them all out I planted a few in some cleaned out yogurt containers.  I’m curious to see if they come up!  Stay tuned.

I would promise photos, but life is kinda chaotic.  I’m on the verge of being on schedule at work and school, but I’m also on the verge of getting a bit behind and I can’t let that happen!

I’m looking forward to this weekend.  I need to log some serious thesis writing/researching hours and get a schedule together for when I’m going to go to the archive to do some primary research.  Until then, time to go to sleep so I can get up and get to work!

Unitaskers.

Two simple points I would like to live by:

1. Moderation

2. quality over quantity

My unofficial mission is less microwave foods and more freshly cooked things.  I eat way too many carb-y things (oatmeal, bread, bread, bread, pasta, couscous) and microwave things.  Nothing beats the convenience of a microwave meal on a busy work and school day, but (also) nothing is quite as satisfying as something cooked from scratch (or assembled mostly from scratch).

Comfort.

Just got back from one of my closest friends’ weddings in Santa Fe.  It was a hectic and tiring weekend, but mostly a very fun one.  Hopefully I’ll have some photos uploaded soon.

In the meantime I was musing about how wonderful life can be, how gratifying.  I climbed into my own bed in an apartment built in 1948, having finished cleaning a little retro alarm clock I bought at a thrift store for $1.99 this morning, to get to sleep to get up and work a museum job involving organizing unique papers in an archive.  Not to mention the lovely lunch I had catching up with friends in the grad program I haven’t seen in weeks.  We’re all writing our theses this semester and we’ve decided to test out weekly meetings for thesis discussion and updates.  As a procrastinator, I see this as a potentially very useful set-up.

And so it begins.

What a busy close to the year!  2010 ended in a zoom of end of the semester papers, grading, work, and a week long trip out to visit family in Colorado.  I just got back in time for New Year’s Eve and have pretty much been sleeping, bumming around, and cooking since then.  As this is Monday I’ve decided to finally kick it into gear.

I looked into a financial aid issue (ultimately unresolved for the moment, but at least my question got answered!), got a pile of books to dig into for my thesis, and am about to get into thesis and (work) blog wrangling.

Photos of food and things to come once I get the ball rolling on the business items.  (I’m hoping this semester will be less stressful than the last.)

At the End.

Last Thursday it was necessary to lay down in the car after work and an hour of rush hour traffic and before my 7-10pm class. This is the POV from my car when laying down in the parking garage.

So you see, I’m in this tunnel, right?  Sometimes I feel like it’s going to squeeze me into a puddle of human goop.  But sometimes, sometimes I think I just might see something at the end of it.  Something bright and shiny, something like light.

And Christmas.  Lots of sparkly Christmas lights.  Just about time to go pray at the altar of consumption.

In Food News.

Mr. H's chicken dinner

Winna winna, chicken dinna!  Yep, that was me last weekend.  Mr. H turned out a delicious meal.  It was a little heavy on the starch – the veggies spoke for themselves and don’t really need the rice company.  Aside from that, copy and paste this meal and I’m all over it again.  A simple white wine rosemary pan chicken with roasted potatoes and veggies pan cooked with the chicken.  I’m a fledgling vegetarian, though chicken cooked this delicious keeps me from fully going veggie.

Lemon and Almond Chocolate Meringues: not all that photogenic, but tastytasty!

I made meringues last weekend.  They’re not my prettiest specimens, but they tasted yummy.  The yellow/orange ones are lemon meringues and the others are almond chocolate meringues.  Viewed close up the sugar  in them reflected light and made them shimmer.

In other food news, I made snickerdoodle cookies at 11pm Wednesday night as my night class on Thursday after work requested some sort of heritage dish.  My people are mutts, through and through, so bringing a “heritage” dish to a school thing is always a challenge for me, particularly when my classmates are almost all first or second generation immigrants that have great food recipes passed down from their parents’ or their home country.  I made the joke the previous week that I should bring alcohol as a lot of my ancestors had been alcoholics, so it was part of my heritage.  No one seemed to see the humor in it, sigh.  I still think it’s funny!  Though I settled on snickerdoodles, which my Mom made a lot when I was a kid.

Bee-z.

A typical scene at home (for one more week at least!)

Life has been a bit of a low-on-sleep but high-on-coffee blur lately.  Work has been going fabulously (the blog post I put up for the Library’s website has taken off – though I think it has more to do with the subject matter than the author, I’ll take the praise and run with it!)  School has just about one week left to go.  Burton Holmes is nearing completion, though Lupe Velez and Dolores Del Rio are struggling a bit.  It’s strange that the topic I switched to last minute (Holmes) is trumping the topic I thought would engage me the most (Velez and Del Rio)!  My goal tonight is to get a complete rough (roughroughrough) draft completed on the Velez/Del Rio front.

My new buddy - he's slightly forest greener in person

Something about the holidays has got me all spendy.  The hot water bottle mentioned in a previous post arrived earlier this week.  We’re already best buddies!  I haven’t given him a name yet, but I’m thinking about it.  It stays warm throughout the night.  It isn’t as good as having Mr. H around for cuddles, but it sure beats shivering through the night.  I haven’t used the space heater in the evening at all either, so win-win there.

Magazine Holders

I also splurged on these magazine holders.  My magazines were recently evicted from my bookshelf by a wave of books that took up residence in the vacated space.  It’s great having my academic/interest books all grouped together by topic (I’m an archivist for a reason!  Though don’t ask me if these magazine holders are acid free – I didn’t take it that far.), but it left nowhere for my homeless magazines.  I don’t have any space for a new bookshelf, so for the time being I’m sticking with these magazine holder guys.

And now I’m doing my best not to invest in this adorable half pint ice cream maker by Hamilton Beech (in pistachio!).  It got mixed reviews on Amazon (very polarized in fact), so I’m a bit torn.  I don’t expect a $30 ice cream maker to churn out Dreyer’s (aka Edy’s for those of you not on the West Coast), but I do want an ice cream maker that doesn’t get its blade stuck mid-churn (ice cream tragedy!).

How they use to do it.

Where I lived this summer - I lived in the portion of the building built in the 1930s as servants' quarters

I’ve recently been lucky enough to live in two old buildings.  My current abode in Los Angeles is an apartment in a 1940s era 8-plex.  For being a 70+ year old building it’s in pretty good shape (minus occasionally finicky plumbing).

This summer while working in southern Maine I lived in an old house (1930s era servants quarters) attached to an even older house (the main dining area is possibly the original one-room building structure from the 17th century).

I looooooove older buildings, and when I get around to moving again I will definitely be on the look-out for older housing stock to set up shop in.  But, older buildings have their drawbacks.  The place I live in now (in LA) seems to take outdoor temperatures to extremes.  At the end of the summer in the San Fernando Valley temperatures reach 100+ and the apartment I live in seems to suck in all the heat over the day and turn into an oven at night.  We have two A/C units but they are pretty piddly and are only worth turning on if I plan to sit right next to them.

The apartment does the same thing in the winter.  Thankfully Southern California winters are pretty wimpy, though I’ve become conditioned to them and tend to feel like anything in the 40s to 50s range is freezing cold.  At night the apartment is an ice box.  I hate to run a space heater and I don’t want to turn on the gas wall heater – both run up bills.  So I started wondering what someone would’ve done to stay warm when the apartment was first built (assuming they didn’t want to run up their gas bill either).

I came up with the idea of using a hot water bottle.  I found a couple of cute (and well reviewed) ones on Amazon by a German company called Fashy.  I think I just might splurge and get one.  Sort of wasteful to heat water up, but if the heat lasts all night (as reviewed) maybe it’ll make it worth it (and save energy and gas in the long run)!

Extraordinary Traveler.

Whew, I’m nearing the end of the semester!  Come on Christmas!

 

Burton Holmes

So I’ve become a big fan of this guy – travel lecturer, early film pioneer, and all around a likeable guy – based off of his autobiography The World is Mine.  Now, with a title like that you’d think he was completely full of himself, and perhaps he was, but it doesn’t come off that way in his writing.  He was born in 1870, began giving travel lectures accompanied by magic lantern slides in the late 19th century, and then went into travel film making.

He comes out of the Victorian era, though his perspective on religion when he was close to death in the 1950s is so enlightened and modern, even for the 1950s.  He discusses his thoughts on existence, his desire to believe in reincarnation, his unsureness in everything, yet his faith in the general universe.  A refreshing surprise and a welcome perspective.

His travel work is fascinating as well – he really traveled everywhere!  I’ve only looked at his work in England to this point (for my class paper), but I’ll definitely be having a look-see at his other travel work.

More wonderful tidbits on this under-talked-about travel icon can be found at this great site: Burton Holmes, Extraordinary Traveler.

Next on the plate: The representation of Dolores Del Rio and Lupe Velez in Photoplay magazine in the early 1930s.  I’ve got a mini presentation to give on the topic tomorrow – details to follow once I figure them out, eep.