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Archive for the ‘The World I Know’ Category

If there’s one thing I wish I were, it’s a better cook.  I like the idea of cooking and I like all the gadgets.  But, I just don’t do a lot of it.  Partly, that’s because as a single girl who lives alone, it hasn’t always felt worth it to cook big meals from scratch with premade spaghetti sauce and some noodles will do.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t cook for friends, or now especially, for My Guy.

Last night, I took a cooking class with the Domestic Goddess.  Cook extraordinaire (the woman makes her own baklava instead of just buying it), I was a little intimidated.  She assured me not to worry, as she has never been a self-proclaimed Domestic Goddess, only a Cheryl-proclaimed one.

I’ve taken classes at this establishment before.  I’ve always enjoyed them.  And while I enjoyed this class, and some of the recipes, and hanging out with the Domestic Goddess, well I have never received so much slack for my eating preferences before.  And it? Was kind of annoying.  So annoying that at one point I turned to Domestic Goddess and whined a bit.

It started out with a girl who, well to be frank, was a little annoying.  DG insists she was drinking before class (wherein we were all free to order wine).  I insisted she was just, kind of odd.  Like she didn’t want to cook or try anything.  Why one goes to a cooking class if one doesn’t want to cook is a bit of a mystery. She only wanted to do one thing, carve a chicken.  But more on that later.

It was a chicken-themed class, and one of the sides to one of the dishes was a prosciutto salad.  Let me lay it on the line for you all: I don’t eat beef or pork because I don’t like them.  I just don’t like pork and I don’t like red meat as I stated a few posts ago: bloody=yuck to me.

And so I skipped the salad.  The instructor asked why and I explained I don’t eat pork.  Now, most people take it in stride when I tell them that.  Especially because it’s just a personal preference.  I’m not avoiding beef and pork because of animal rights–I still eat poultry and fish, after all.  I don’t even care if people grill them together or use the same utensils on them.  I’m never one to inconvenience others by my preferences, meat or otherwise.  So usually it just comes up as more of an interesting fact about Cheryl and we all move on.

Last night, annoying girl heard me say I don’t eat pork and asked “Are you Muslim?”  I admit, I was taken aback by the statement.  No one has EVER asked that.  I have rarely been asked if I’m Jewish.  And honestly, that makes more sense to me.  I guess I think I probably look more ethnically Jewish than ethnically Muslim.  But whatevs.  That’s neither here nor there.  I just wonder why, not eating pork brings someone to an assumption that it has anything to do with religion.  Ok, I can see why because it was clear that I do eat chicken, thus I wasn’t vegetarian but still.

And if it were related to religious beliefs, why a total stranger in a cooking class I’ve spoken about 10 words to in the hour and a half I’ve been sitting next to her feels the need to ask me anything about religion at all is beyond me.  I also didn’t know how to read her.  Would it have been a problem with her if I were Muslim?  In hindsight I almost want to go back say “yes I am,” and throw out the takbir just to see her reaction.  But I digress.

Later as the annoying girl carved the chicken she asked if anyone had preference to white or dark meat.  Now look, EVERYONE I know has a preference for poultry.  White or dark meat, some prefer a wing over a leg.  This is not new, in fact it’s why she asked.  I said I prefer white and after all the fuss (theirs not mine) over pork, was asked by the instructor if I’m a chicken racist. It was a joke, I know (not a good one, really).  But oy! Never have I felt so scrutinized over my eating preferences.  All I’m saying is, it’s a good thing we weren’t having beets.

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I now present, my thoughts on the news of late.

Sarah Palin: Please go away.  And while you’re going, look up “accountability” in the dictionary. It’s just as much your that you came across as an ignorant fool.   And also, yes the world doesn’t center on Katie Couric.  It also doesn’t center on Sarah Palin.

Ann Coulter: Please, please go away.  The world doesn’t center on Katie Couric, Sarah Palin, or Ann Coulter.  Thank God.  I thought Sarah Palin gave women a bad name but you take the cake.

This one is for the male readers.  Yes, all two of you.  Some girl in San Diego is auctioning off her virginity and it’s now going for $3.7 million.  So guys, what’s the draw of bedding a virgin that would drive someone to pay $3.7 million for it?

Blagojevich: OMG go away!  Stop making this, my adopted state, the nation’s laughing stock.  For real.

Alberta, Canada: Please take your clipper back.  Like I said previously, I’m so  over winter.  PS>Did you all to the north have a holiday today, or do you just not answer your phones during business hours?

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So yeah, I took down my ranty post about my apartment.  People with Bloglines or Google Reader can probably still see it.  But even with the update I put on the end, it didn’t seem right to keep it there. 

Anyway, this morning there was a sign on the door to my building saying roaches had been reported and we should call to make an exterminator appointment.  This following mice and not having heat earlier this year, and my realization that no, I can’t live with just one closet.  But anyway, I got upset because I can’t handle cockroaches or centipedes.  I’m good with most other bugs–good as in, I can handle them.  If I can kill it with a shoe and it’s not actually  on me, I’m ok. 

I never saw a roach, or signs of roaches.  After the mice scare I still check my foodstuffs for gnawing and infestation.  Turns out a tenant want to break her lease so she’s crying “Cockroach” as her gameplan.  Exterminators found nothing–no roaches, no evidence of roaches, no source of roaches.  Now that does make me mad.  Freaking sublet your apartment!  Don’t scare other tenants with false claims about potential vermin.  Sheesh!

Anyway, back to a happy 2009!

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It’s interview time! I’m taking part in a blog interview.  Nilsa sent me five questions, which I’ve answered below.  If you want to take part, let me know if the comments below.  I’ll send you five questions to answer on your own blog.  It’s nice filler for the end of the year.


Enjoy.

(1) Name only one blogger you really respect and tell me why.

I’m going to say Marissa, because for one reason, she got me into blogging and hence led me to meeting all the other bloggers out there!  Also because I’ve known her since we were 14 and I can say, there’s a reason this girl was homecoming queen and has like 700 FB friends.  She’s one of the most sincere, caring, genuine and fun people I know.  She’s supportive and friendly and always there to offer me advice, which is a lot.  I really think a lot of other people would be annoyed, but not Marissa.  She’s been one of my pillars in recent months and I selfishly want her and her boyfriend to move here this summer.  But I respect almost every blogger out there, I swear!

(2) If you had to pick a non-urban, U.S. destination in which to vacation for a week, where would you go?

Napa Valley.  My reasons are threefold.  One, because I love wine.  I’m a wino, I said it.  I want to drink it and visit the vineyards and enjoy it all.  Two, I’ve heard the scenery is gorgeous.  And who doesn’t like to look at pretty things?  Three, I’ve heard it has some really good hiking and biking, in addition to wineries and spas. So there’d be a lot to do in all that scenery in case I want to give my liver a break.

(3) If you had $500 to spend on housing, food and entertainment for the trip mentioned in (2), how would you spend it?

Oy…that doesn’t sound like much.  Can I bring along my mother or a sugardaddy to pay for the rest?  Kidding.  I’d see how much could get me a B&B room, and that way I’d get a healthy breakfast at least.  Can I try to pluck a few grapes from the vineyards?  Never underestimate the length a baguette can take you; I’d have to replicate my days in Europe wherein it, and some cheese, comprised my lunch.  That may necessitate more hiking than biking and well, I may have to nix the spa.  I want a bigger trip allowance!

(4) Tell me about one person with whom you’ve lost touch. If you hope for a reunion, how would you like that reunion to take place?

A few months ago, I would have answered with my friend from high school, Anna.  We were great friends in the day, and lost touch over the years as will happen.  She’s the person I always wondered about–what happened to her, what was she doing.  But we reconnected via Facebook and our reunion.  It was fun.  And I’m happy we reconnected.  Now, it’d probably be my friend L from grad school.  Again, we just lost touch somehow and I’ve always wondered what happened to our friendship and to her.  I’d like us to catch up over wine and good food and perhaps a shopping trip.  If there was one thing she and I did well it was indulging.

(5) In 2008, what was your biggest achievement and your biggest failure/disappointment?

Remember in my last post how I expressed my desire to say good riddance to 2008?  Yeah, it was a fairly craptastic year, especially in the second half.  Not-so-great things happened, and things that were supposed to be good imploded into piles of poo.  So in a year marked by death, relationships ending and changing, a trip to the ER, troubles at work, and a lot of the unexpected, I don’t know that any one thing was the biggest failure or disappointment.  But there is this.  I survived it all.  I came out of it stronger and with a sense of myself and some pride in tact, restored and added on.  I can hold my head up high with how I handled it, and how I acted this year–honest, myself, with integrity.  And that, I think, is my greatest accomplishment.

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Who Are You?

When I was in college, my roommate was a psychology major.  That means I got experimented on a lot.  Nothing dangerous mind you.  We aren’t talking Baby Albert or anything like that.  We’re talking the occassional test.  I’m not sure I was a good subject.  This is how my mind works.  As I’m taking the test, I wonder what they’re trying to figure it out.  Well, I’m a smart girl (and so modest too).  So I would usually figure out what they were testing for and adjust my answers accordingly.  One time, I sat in the dining hall (because at a women’s college, we do not have cafeterias) at the tail end of a meal and as we finished the test I asked “You were testing for blah, blah, blah weren’t you?”  I don’t remember any more what it was.  “Yes. Damn it,” was essentially her response.

Once my roommie decided to try to break me of my habit  of biting my nails.  Or more appropriately, the dry, always cracking skin around my nails and my cuticles.  She sort of succeeded.  And by that I mean she managed to get me to stop just long enough for the experiment. In order to distract myself from biting my nails, I began to play this game called Snood.  A lot.  Like so often, I could see the little Snood faces in my sleep.  So part of her report was that I replaced one compulsive behavior with another.  And I wonder why I’m single.

We probably do that a lot.  Replace a habit with another.  So, when I refrained from blogging for a month, I needed an online fix elsewhere.  I also, post-dumping, needed as much support as I could find.  And so, to fill the voids I turned to Facebook.  You may remember that my friends here in Chicago thought it’d be so funny to make a page for me.  Whatever.  I may be using it, but I still don’t like that “joke.”  So I reactivated it and now, I’m a Facebook fanatic.  Which is exactly why I’d resisted in the first place.  I know my weaknesses.

I pose this question to Facebook users far and wide: what do you do when someone friends you and you have no flippin’ idea who they are?  It feels rude to say no.  But if you aren’t sure who they are, then what?

Witness this conversation my friend and I had this fall.

Her: Do you know who Jane Doe (not her real name) is?

Me: No!  But she’s friends with people we know…I was going to ask you.

Her: I  have no idea who she is.

A few weeks later, Jane Doe asks to friend me.  And of the friends we have in common, my friend is listed.  I friended this Jane Doe.  Because like I said, if you don’t know who they are, what do you do?  I am not a rude person.  So much so that people have insulted me or said or done some really inappropriate things and for some reason I stick around.  Because I think not offending them or making other people uncomfortable is more important than my own sensitibilities or comfort.  But that’s a whole nother post.

Then I was talking to my friend on the phone one night.  “Did you figure out who Jane Doe is?”

“No,” she replied.  “I just didn’t want to be rude.”

So Facebookers, what do you do when someone you don’t know wants to be your friend?  I accept.  And that’s cool.  Because I connected with some nice people.  I’ve learned well that online buddies can be pretty awesome, really supportive, and can turn out to be a really good friend.  All through the magic of my original online obsession–blogging.

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Not long after I decided to take my hiatus, I noticed something about this lovely chenille throw I’d recently bought myself at Target. Like many throws, it is adorned with fringey tassels at either end. One night I saw that one entire edge of the fringe was a massive, matted, knotted mess. It was not sleek and soft like it should be. I started fighting with it, got really frustrated and just gave up, ready to resign myself to a semi-mangy throw that I would just try to conceal.

Then a few nights later, as I sat watching TV under the soft chenille goodness, I thought to myself, “You can do this, just start at one end, take your time and sort it out.” And as I finished watching some drama, segued into the news and late night programming, I did it. Slowly, it untangled into a presentable, smooth and sleek picture of what fringe should be. And it struck me. That’s what I needed to do with my life.

Ok, enough of the cheesey, metaphorical ah-ha moments. Things I did while on hiatus:

-Celebrated Halloween, as a flapper girl.

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-Voted. And my guy finally won! Just when it was most important. As soon as 10:00 hit, CNN projected Obama as president-elect. And I had tears in my eyes. Not just because it was my guy, or because of the inspiration and hope he instills in people. But in all honesty because I never thought I’d see a non-white president this soon in my life. I was really, truly proud of America. Until I heard about all the anti-gay legislation that passed. It seems we may have come far racially and maybe even along lines of gender, but not sexual orientation. It’s sad. Especially because really, whose business is marriage and family? Whose? Is my life any different if two men in Boys’ Town or two women up in Andersonville want to get married? No.

-Dealt with a mouse situtaion. Thank you all for your supportive comments about how brave I was. I wasn’t. Ask my mom who heard the hysterical tears that accompanied me facing the reality that I would have to dispose of the writhing, squeaking, very-much-alive mouse in my kitchen. But I had to do it. That’s me. I do what needs to be done. And I can do it. But damn if I just don’t want to do it. I want, just once, someone else to kill the bug, or dispose of the mouse, or change the lightbulbs.

-I went to a friend’s wedding. Which, while a joyous occasion in and of itself, was interesting for two reasons. One, because it was the first time I was at a Catholic mass in a very long time. We’re talking years. And PS why does the Catholic church insist on a full mass for a wedding? Is there something wrong with JUST the ceremony? I digress. As my first Catholic mass in a very. long. time… I blanked out on the response to the readings. And so when the first reading from Genesis (much to Sixth Degree’s chagrin) was over and the reader said “The World of the Lord” I said “Amen” not “Thanks be to God” which I quickly mumbled instead.

This wedding was also interesting because of the reception. Sixth Degree had told me she thought this wedding would go all out. But I don’t think either of us expected a full-on desert buffet. Now, I haven’t been to a ton of weddings, this is true. I think my constantly single status has actually saved me from about half the weddings most of my counterparts have out there. Anyway, at the weddings I have been to (or in as the case may be), you eat your dinner and get a piece of the wedding cake. Not so at this reception. We didn’t see a crumb of that wedding cake. Instead, we were served a rather large desert, and when we went to get coffee we found a buffet of more dessert–cakes, tarts, fruit, bon-bons, chocolate-dipped strawberries, cheesecake, brownies, cookies. And when we left, they gave us our wedding cake. Like I said, I’ve never seen anything like it–but I approve.

-I volunteered at a local shelter. There is a neighborhood in Chicago called Lincoln Park (there is also a park by that name stretching a good portion of the lake shore north of downtown, and this neighborhood borders a portion of the park). The LP is pretty upper-crusty, but they have a community shelter that, I found out, functions as more of a program and less of a stop in for a bed and meal one night, kind of shelter. There are requirements for people to stay there and they offer programs to help people get back on their feet like job searching. Anyway, my friend, Sista had volunteered once and when she went again, I joined her. We made dinner for the residents–chili and some sides, nothing fancy but a good solid meal. It’s very humbling to be reminded of these people, sleeping in bunks and eating communally in a renovated church basement. As I headed home to my own apartment, stocked with food in the cabinets and refrigerator, and three rooms all to myself, it was a good reminder for the next time I grumble about waking up to go to work, or get a credit card bill for my shopping trip to Target. Right before Thanksgiving, it was a good, gentle reminder of everything to be thankful for.

-Saw Margot & the Nuclear So-and-So’s, one of my favorite bands this year, perform. This was the first time I’ve seen them live and they sounded great. Also one of their opening acts–Kaiser Cartell–was really good, so a new musical discovery. It was a successful musical venture.

-Went home to Minnesota to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. Recharged my batteries, ate some turkey, laughed, drank some wine and most importantly, was thankful.

-Went to my high school reunion.  It really is a post unto itself, a high school reunion.  So while you all await more, I will say this.  I went with my two best friends, Erica and Erin.  There is no one I’d rather get on that time machine with than these two.  Anyway, I hemmed and hawed for months, nay years, about going to my 10-year reunion.  In the end, I’m really happy that I did.100_6363

Oh, and in case you hadn’t realized–I think I’m back! And ironically, the snow just came to Chicago today.

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So, let me see if I understand this. The government is going to use the taxpayers’ money to infuse the banks to protect the taxpayers’ money? To keep my money safe they will use my money? I guess it’s like the old adage you have to spend money to make money. Only now it’s that you have to spend money to save it. Oy! I work in this industry and it never ceases to set my head a-spinning.

If you think about it (which Overthinky McAnalyze over here definitely has) economics and religion aren’t all that different. Both rely heavily on faith. Because really, that dollar bill is just a piece of paper (or linen as the case may be) and no more valuable than the lined notebook paper I use to make my plethora of to-do lists. A coin is a hunk of metal, like belt buckle or soda can. They have worth because we assign them worth and put faith in that designation. When we lose the faith markets crash or suddenly everyone is a billionaire and bread costs a couple million. Either way we lose. 

So I guess the ultimate answer is to keep the faith. Please? My bank and retirement accounts are relying on it.

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