Out of Great Misery, A Miracle

One of my favorite things to eat in the whole world is my parents' "Bread Soufflé" (not the most appealing name, but that's immaterial). I prefer to call it a cheddar soufflé, because that describes the flavor, not the part where the whole recipe is cheating. Instead of doing all the work for a soufflé, which, I guess, might not actually rise, you cut up (generally sandwich, preferably staleish) bread into squares, mix it with grated cheddar in a baking dish, then soak the whole thing in a milky-egg mixture and bake. Delicious.

I got home yesterday, from day fifteen of my nineteen-day work-every-day stretch, and the only thing I wanted to eat was this soufflé. But it takes an hour to bake. I was hungry and tired. So I spent an hour on the computer, and I was still hungry, and still tired, and no soufflé.

Then it came to me. A thought I'm sure I've had once or twice before. The miracle.
French-toast grilled cheese. (Sadly, not actually an original idea. I checked afterward.)
And some bacon, because—why not? And apple cider, because 'tis still the season.

How did I accomplish this feat? Egg and milk in a shallow bowl like usual, minus vanilla or cinnamon or anything like that. Soak the bread, not too much. Cook one side of one slice, take it out. Cook one side of the second slice, flip it over. Put the cheese on the cooked side, which is facing up. Place the first piece of bread, cooked side down, on the cheese. Cook, flip, cook, cut, watch the cheddar ooze out, enjoy.
Soufflé is better. The crispy edges and crispy cheese on top. The cheese mixed in with everything else. It might be good to sort of burn some grated cheddar onto the outsides of the sandwich, but then it could get messy. I wasn't feeling that adventuresome.

(How many times can you say 'soufflé' in a blog post without sounding completely ridiculous? For example: soufflé soufflé soufflé soufflé...)

Good News, This Time for Real

You can tell I have internet because I'm streaming 30 Rock from Netflix. What you can't tell from this screenshot is that the little spinning rainbow circle (called by Jared and probably the world the "wheel of death," if I remember correctly) was my cursor at that moment, and I had to restart Firefox. Internet can't fix an old computer. Slash I didn't pay for the fastest internet.

X = the Internet

I guess I jinxed it with my last post. I was too busy drinking "November Cider" and eating crème brûlée at Cafe Zola to install my internet. On Saturday, between IKEA and work and more boyfriend-birthday-events, I tried twice. On Sunday after work, twice more. On Monday evening, I called the help line. First a robot tried to help, then a human, and tonight I get a real human presence.

It's been a month and two days since my internet was supposed to be activated the first time.

I've come to realize I operate in a sort of flow-chart way. I need x settled before I can figure out y, and then hopefully z will follow. I also can't do a or b until x is taken care of. X has been "the internet" for a long time, so being disconnected from the world has stood in the way of a lot of things. Probably not all of them are logical, but oh well, it's how it works. (I'm in a freezing-cold-despite-space-heater plus boredom-induced workplace stupor right now, so I can't even remember most of the goals for which progress has been stalled these several months. Besides "can't write another blog post until my internet is set up.")

It's a really good way to not get anything done.

That's not true! So many gifts purchase/wrapped/delivered/coveted by me to the extent that you might not get yours John (sorry), so much delicious fatty food consumed, so many candles burned.

One of my current projects is being more of a girl. I may be copying Jane Marie's HOW TO BE A GIRL column, or just reading it on those days I bother to open the Hairpin on my office computer, but mainly this is a joke and I follow neither her nor anyone else. I just want better skin and maybe nicer makeup brushes, the latter of which I do learn about from the internet, and other things. Like candles!

My exploration into candles has been successful. Too bad I never have dinner parties or quiet get-togethers with more than two people where I could make use of my now-plentiful candle options.
I was getting into the holiday spirit. Except for those first three summer-stragglers. They're cubes, though, so they could stand in for presents. If I were crazy and had a Christmas-tree candle. (I'm not and I don't.)

Also, did you know that with block candles, you're supposed to cut off the excess wax when the wick sinks down more than some number of centimeters from the top? Who does that?

Good News

Good news indeed. I should be blogging from the comfort of my own home in a matter of days. Does that expression even make sense? A matter of days.

I've been hard at work spending all my money on the people I love. Christmas comes and another year goes by without my paying back any of my student loans, just racking up interest. But the sparkly things I've purchased! The holiday cookies I've already eaten! (Only two. In two days. 'Cause they are "decadently enrobed" in chocolate.)

Things I am going to do once I have internet:

1. Not use it for at least the first three hours it is available, because I will be working when the internet magically turns on a 8 pm on Friday.
2. Read the entire archives of The Hairpin's Ask a Clean Person series. Because I enjoy them.
3. Download the last few months of bank statements.
4. Read all those things I've been putting in a list of things to read when not busy doing other things (i.e. working, being at work, NaBloPoMo-ing or trying to). Nope. Probably never.
5. Write emails to my far-off friends, which is too hard to do when in a public place like work.
6. Then I will watch all the rest of 30 Rock on Netflix, all in one sitting, because I don't have to wait for DVD holds to come in at the library anymore.

It will be a good weekend full of headaches.


Waking up.
Coming home.
I'd forgotten how magical winter light is with snow on the ground and up the sides of the trees.
* * *
With the first significant snowfall yesterday evening, I'm oh so ready for December. So many snow-smiles today.

But November, now: I did it! I didn't publicize it, but I was doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I thought about trying my hand at NaNoWriMo again (Novel Writing), but I knew with every fiber of my being that it would not, could not go well. I barely managed a blog post a day, so forget seven pages of fiction.

I bent the rules early on. A post a day, before a midnight-deadline, was impossible. But thirty posts in thirty days is basically the same, and something I could manage. I backdated the late ones so that it would be obvious I had fulfilled my task—a post for every day, if not posted every day. If I'd had internet in my home, I might have kept the rules stricter, but sometimes there's just not enough energy left for a walk back to campus. With this post, I've hit the thirty-post mark. I've got the momentum back. I think, after all those false starts, I've brought the blog back.


Crunching Through December

It's horrible-time in horrible-land.

Okay, fine, sentences with meaning. It's crunch time in university-land. Exams, term papers, other papers. Sometimes you get to turn in five in nine days, and also become a year older and not really celebrate! If you are my boyfriend.

It's crunch time in my land, too, but I am crunching toward December 1st, not crunching toward sometime closer to Christmas. Maybe this crunching thing doesn't work as an extended metaphor. I did finally buy some potato chips yesterday! With the end of November end my blogging obligations. (Blobligations? Bloglibations? Neither!) (That syntax back in the non-parenthetical preceding sentence would totally work in German, instead of sounding almost cool but actually just wrong like it does in English.)

This post is the last thing I have to write tonight before I can trudge home through the sludge to my bed. When November ends, NaBloPoMo ends, and I can write without guilt spurring me on, and spend less time commuting to internet (especially once December 9th rolls around and internet is activated in my home). But my boyfriend is busy. Very, importantly busy. So with my new-found time, I am going to make things. I will cook dinners—everyone has to eat, so he can multitask when he sees me. I will cook things I haven't cooked before, and cook for just me. I will read some new books. And I am trying my hardest to hang out with friends. Movies, dinner, coffee shops, grocery shopping. You offer it, I'll take it. I offer it, you better take it.

Even though yesterday, my brother told me,
"this is death week though
fucking term paper
all the weeks are death weeks"
today, he invited me to eat delicious fried rice he's making on Thursday, and next week to an experimental more-authentic pasta alla carbonara. If I play my cards right, John could fill all my free time, be all my friends, and all my new cooking experiences.

No. He does work sometimes.

* * *

I lied. I have other things to do, deadlines to meet. What's with all these December birthdays? It's hard enough to think of and afford Christmas presents for everyone. In fact, I usually fail.

Saturday's birthday girl lives many states away, so her presents should be in the mail. Since they go by mail, her Christmas and birthday gifts should travel together. My sad busy boyfriend's birthday is Wednesday. I don't know which night, if any, I'm taking off to celebrate.

I have been working on card designs, and silly details to go along with things, and creative packaging materials. I'm not so clear on gifts. Once I make it past the early-December birthdays, there's a translation I want to do for someone, and photos to pick to print, and frames to find, and everything else to figure out. Christmas celebration number one is December 17th. There's not a lot of time!

Fact Into Fiction

I've gotten used to the loud raindrops that fall on the roof right on the other side of the wall from my pillow. A gutter spills or leaks from the third-floor roof onto my second-floor, almost flat roof, so that it drips even after the rain has stopped.

I wonder if I'll remember this, so that someday it will find its way into something else, where it can fill a gap and fit in.

Negative Anticipation

How do you overcome the end-of-vacation dread? Or, if you're me, end-of-tiny-one-day-weekend or sometimes simply end-of-Thursday dread, because Thursday is a nice, pleasant day, and Friday is not.

I had a great Thanksgiving break. Wednesday night, I got to go to IKEA and eat the new version of the Daim-Torte that has cream! on top under a layer of chocolate, and my boyfriend bought a couch. Which I will get to sit on! someday in the future when perhaps I, perhaps he, perhaps a team effort has put it together. And then my dad had cooked my brother John and me meatloaf for dinner. In the morning, my family actually left on time to drive to my cousins' in Lansing, where we drank delicious late Riesling and I ate my third Thanksgiving feast of the week. On Friday, I went to my five-year high school reunion, and it was actually really fun. It was actually too short, or maybe just too crowded by the end. (We agreed that no one had really gotten fat.) I spent Saturday morning catching up with a friend from my year in Germany, and the afternoon was the fourth and final Thanksgiving, complete with tasty apple crisp—there's something different at every one—and a timid cat who not only allowed, but asked me to pet her for the first time ever.

And then it was home again, home again. I was sullen because I didn't know how I wanted to spend those last few hours of freedom. I'd been in a bad mood all day, when not otherwise occupied, and I couldn't shake it. Like I've written before, it gets better once I'm in it, it being that stupid normal thing that happens all the time and yet I dread, but it's so hard to convince myself ahead of time. At work at the restaurant on Sunday, we were doing what you might term 'deep cleaning,' because there wasn't a lot of business, and cleanliness is great. They're not all pleasant tasks, but it was fine. I got some stupid satisfaction from making things clean, and I chatted with my co-workers between tasks. When I left work, I was in a good mood. Once I sat down in the computer lab, after standing for seven hours, I almost fell asleep. Then I almost had Panera for dinner, but it closes early on Sundays. Then I almost made Kraft mac and cheese for dinner, but—surprise ending!–I had dinner with a friend and her mom who had just finished seeing a movie at my favorite theater, and everything was nice. I just wish I had been able to avoid the negative anticipation of the day before.

How can a regular human being like me avoid it? Or—why are vacations so seldom long enough?

Correlation, Causation, Nope

Apparently, the Rudolph who attends the Grosse Pointe Thanksgiving Parade (and delivers the presents to little Grosse Pointers?) hasn't grown his full antlers yet. He looks pretty sad.
If reindeer delivered fresh-baked bread to Trader Joe's, I could blame Rudolph or Santa or Dasher or Dancer or Prancer or Blitzen for there being no fresh bread that day. They were too busy showing off at the parade.

Festivity and Tree Troubles Anticipated

I remember this commercial from last year fondly. Such pleasant Christmasy sights and sounds. Such a funny little quivering rein-dog at the end. Drew, let's get some Stella. Heyyy, advertising.
In the minds of the semi-insane, it is now justifiably Christmastime. I agree with the lights on the trees—they can go up as soon as the leaves are gone, in my opinion, so they can start saving us from winter despair—and decorated storefronts are acceptable, considering consumerism and all that. (They were not acceptable at Halloween.) 

But my family will never have a Christmas tree before the 22nd or so. We make up for it by leaving the tree up forever once it's there, because lights are nice, and who wants to put the ornaments away? Emma and I did it differently. Knowing we would be gone from Ann Arbor at the crucial Christmas-tree time, we got them the first week of December or so, to make the most of the purchase and prolong the holiday joy. We then suffered as a result of those ten- or fifteen-dollar Scotch Pines for the rest of the year. There were always more needles to be vacuumed.
This is one of my favorite Christmas photos. Taken at the Weihnachtsparty ( = Christmas party) senior year.

Those Scotch Pines at Home Depot were the cheapest trees we could find. We wanted smallish trees, because full-sized trees awaited us (or at least me—Emma and her mom like cute, manageable trees) at home. My current apartment requires something much smaller, though, and I think that means I have to buy a living tree. The best way to get a tiny evergreen is one in a pot, for a lot more than fifteen dollars, but I don't want a fir tree of my own, to plant where afterward? We have too many trees in my parents' backyard as it is. So I might get a houseplant sort of tree and hang lights on it. Maybe a Norfolk Pine. My dad brought one of those home for Christmas one year, along with a traditional Douglas Fir. The Norfolk came with extremely lightweight, somewhat tacky, little gold-colored ornaments that attached with golden pipecleaners, which we saved to use every Christmas until the tree got too big for our house and he donated it to city hall. I hadn't thought about my small array of ornaments being too heavy for a non-traditional Christmas tree. I want to use them. Maybe I'll have to take Emma's advice and get a silly little, totally fake, white or silver tree.

Let's All Get Couches!

I am thankful for my red leather Klippan* couch, which is truly a dream come true for me. Not everyone likes IKEA, not everyone likes this iconic model, which is mainly known as a cheeeap couch, not everyone likes leather. I don't really like leather. But when I saw this couch the first time, I knew I had to have it. If I entered and won that $500 IKEA sweepstakes, that beautiful beautiful gift card would have bought me my $500 red leather Klippan. At the time, it seemed like an exorbitant amount to spend on a couch that's not even that big (it only comes in Klippan-"loveseat," which while bigger than a loveseat, is not as big as Klippan-"sofa"**). It would be a frivolous purchase, even if it waited until I was older with a job and things. Because it's red, and leather, and a little silly. But someday, I would own it—my future self, who has $500 to spend on a single item. (Can I talk to you, future self, about some things you could buy for me?) The couch would last, and then when I became more serious and needed more couches and a real life and had children and new boring concerns, maybe it would be moved into the bedroom, where it would be a wardrobe-extension by day (putting clothes away is hard), occasional site of refuge, reading in the bedroom with the door firmly shut, by night. It would be the symbol of a wilder youth.

My youth, you guys—it has been so wild. Still, the couch would be a prize, held onto and cherished and hidden from children who might throw up on it or scratch it. I imagine that children are loads of fun all the time, you see.

But lo, a miracle. $250 advertised on Craigslist. $220 in person. Used, but gently. It's the second year of my dream couch and I still love it.
Moving it (and my super cheap IKEA sofabed stacked on top, and my bedding and my popcorn maker and my printer and my fan and my everything) in my parents' minivan to Emma's and my attic apartment, last August, not this August that just happened. My dad is a great packer.
I'm also thankful for Table Cat, even if he is blocking the view of my couch. Ah, attic living.
I'm thankful for this delicious turkey soup, made from the carcass of the turkey my boyfriend's mom made. Yum yum. So lovingly separated for me from the rest of the broth before unnecessary vegetables were added to it. It kept me happily fed those last two days before heading homeward.
Thank you, friend, boy-, soup-maker, for cooking that carcass for seven hours until I got to enjoy that wondrous turkey broth. (I will, apparently, never type 'broth' without typing 'brother' first.) Even if you hide from photos that incriminate you as a wearer of sunglasses, you did pay for an entire day of me in Toronto, complete with you reading the maps, me sleeping on a beach in the Beaches, each of us eating two scoops of some of the best ice cream ever, and all the rest, just because I turned a year older sometime in the past month.

Thank you for actually picking out and purchasing your couch after three trips to IKEA in as many months. Such a feat. Even if yours isn't quite a dream come true. Let's all get couches!

*Recently discontinued, as I revise this in 2015.
**I'd forgotten there used to be Klippans bigger than 2-seats, but I assume this was also once true.

Where Are My Potato Chips?

Yesterday was never-ending rain.
Today is sunshine.
I've seen potato chips on two separate desks in this office. Clipped shut. Abandoned.
Can I just eat some chips and leave while there's still light?

Packing Is the Worst

I'm trying to pack for Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I've got a haircut, a phone date (hi Ali!), work, and then a ride home (hi Emma!), perhaps with a detour to IKEA. So basically, there's no time tomorrow and I need to do my dishes and pack tonight. But that means I have to come up with the clothes I want to wear to all these occasions with real people at them, people I don't see all the time, occasions where I don't just wear one of my boring uniforms (in other words, I'm not going to wear mayo-streaked black pants soaked in the greasy air of a commercial kitchen and a baseball cap, nor am I going to wear grey khakis and respectable flats and a sweater) but instead wear clothes that are nice. Or, like, one of my two pairs of black flats, but the cute ones that can't go out in the rain, and the same jeans I wear whenever I don't have to work, because they are THE ONLY JEANS LEFT, and then that turtleneck sweater I got three Saturdays ago and have worn EVERY SATURDAY SINCE. (Not this Saturday, I swear.)

But there are two Thanksgivings to go, and a high school reunion. That means, hopefully, three different outfits. Plus something to wear to IKEA and to get my glasses adjusted on Friday so I don't look permanently crooked at the reunion/for the rest of the year. I'm sick of being crooked. And when am I coming back to Ann Arbor? What am I doing in the time that's not already violently scheduled? Probably being violently mauled by my Isabel, in which case I will just wear sweatpants and clothes I can leave behind because they are covered in her fur.

I was sitting on my couch last night, staring at my open closet, trying to convince myself to deal with this wardrobe situation and not watch a second or third or fourth episode of 30 Rock (I stopped before four), when I realized that a substantial number of the items hanging before me were five years or more old, just like my high school diploma. There's pretty much no way I'm not using my black leather purse this weekend—the one I picked out for Christmas senior year of high school. I don't think anyone will remember, or care, but most girls have more than two purse options for going to the bar. I pretty much only have one I would consider for this weekend, and its handle is dried out and cracking, its lining has black ink from an exploded pen all over it, and I've been carrying it for nigh on six years. The other options are too schooly, too summery, too utilitarian, or too fancy. (Where's my -y word for 'utilitarian'?) Then again, maybe I don't need a purse for an open bar, just a license and a cell phone. But then I have to wave my cell phone around all night, because I will not have it bulging out of my pocket.

I always assumed I wouldn't go to a five-year reunion. It seemed like it would be too early to care. Too early to have succeeded at anything, if reunions are about showing that you are great! and not fat! and not alone! like TV shows always tell us (including 30 Rock, this evening, playing on my computer screen). We have Facebook, so we've got some sort of handle on the lives of most of the people we care about. Except for the ones that made their Facebooks tiny-profile-, no-wall-only. Or the ones we missed in that friending-rampage that shook the internet when we graduated and made our college profiles, and then couldn't just friend later, because it was weird to do it later, even if they were in more of your classes than those other people who friended you, who you never really talked to.

Anyway. Reunions. Weird. I was reading some advice column or something on the Hairpin the other day, and whoever was dispensing advice said something like, "College friend? Why does he still care about his college friends? They stop being your friends after like five years." I was flabbergasted. Or some emotion less silly-sounding. I thought college friends were supposed to last. My situation isn't totally normal, in that some of my closest college friends are my best high school friends, in which case they transcend those labels and are just my best friends, leaving room for other people to be best college friends, but still. I make friends seriously. For keeps, maybe.

I'm excited to see the friends (hi Sarah!) I know I'm going to see at the reunion. As long as no one asks me what I'm doing. And no one thinks I look fat.

That was a joke! Mostly! What am I going to wear?!

Maybe I Should Make a 'Transportation' Label

This is my bike. Not the lovely, white, somewhat antique Peugeot in the back; it's the beat-up Huffy in front. I've had it since sometime in high school—all my other bikes were tied to birthdays, so I can pin them down, but not this one. There was my first bike, on my fifth birthday, an extremely 80s white one with thin black squiggles of wild paint and fluorescent yellow wheels surrounded by white tires. I think we tried to name it Zebra at some point, but naming bikes doesn't really work for me. The next one was Black Beauty, or maybe the Black Stallion (not so feminine, nor beautiful), but that name didn't stick either. It was a black Magna with yellow and orange bits. On that bike, I finally learned to balance on two wheels, and then to start the bike rolling on my own, at which point I convinced my parents I could have a proper girls' bike that I wouldn't have to pass on to my brother. I was turning nine years old. This bike came with a name, "Glamour Girl," as well as shiny streamers on the handles and serious glitter you could feel as little bumps when you ran your hand along the shiny turquoise body. The color and the glitter outweighed the stupid name; though eventually, I had to rip the streamers out and peel off the Glamour Girl and all other associated labels.

My dad bought me my current bike less than two years after he bought me my first full-size bike, which was a nice, dark purple with a comfy, wide old-lady seat. Once I realized that was something to be embarrassed about, I was, but I also loved that bike. (I wish the current one was as comfy as that one was.) My dad has a habit of forgetting to close the garage door; one night, that cost me my bike. So we went to K-Mart, I think, and I chose this purply-blue Huffy (historically a favorite color of mine) with thick curves inspired by old-fashioned bikes and a matte finish (still with subtle glitter). It turned out that a water bottle doesn't fit in the normal place because of the way the bike curves; the lack of space can also make locking it difficult, since I use a thick lock with little give. The suedey finish on the bike seat, soft and appealing when I first got it, has dried out, cracked, lost a layer, and now soaks in all moisture it meets. If I leave a plastic bag on the seat overnight to protect against rain, I'm confronted with a wet seat inside from condensation. It takes forever to dry out. The handles are cushioned by foam, which, like the seat, has dried out and holds in moisture. The gears don't like me very much, and my back brake—you know, the important one—needs to be fixed again.

Still, it's essential. My bike keeps me within ten minutes of everywhere I regularly need to be, as it has for the past two years (excluding Detroit, an important destination for the past year if not anymore, but one that required my dearly departed Honda). I am, with my bike, less than ten minutes from the train station. Both jobs, my brother, my boyfriend. If there was anywhere I actually liked to buy groceries in this radius, I'd be set. Still grumpy, but more contentedly self-sufficient. Between downtown and campus, it's usually faster to bike than to drive, anyway, partially because traffic laws feel flexible when you're on only two wheels.

But I kind of hate it. I hate the hills in Ann Arbor. I hate how I bike up the same ones, day in and day out, and it never gets easier. I keep doing it, and I keep getting exhausted. We lived for a year at the bottom of a hill, and every day I biked to class—often in the rain, sometimes in the snow—I had to pedal up that hill. It felt like it took forever to reach Hill Street (ha ha) and be able to catch my breath and charge forward onto campus and to class. Coming home, though—it was great. To work hard to get to class, a place I usually didn't really want to be, made sense in some way. It was unlikely I would enjoy the way there, but the way home was fantastic. I raced down East University once, sometimes two times a day. If the street was dry, the traffic sparse, I'd let go of the handlebars completely and fly down the hill. Sometimes I dared keep my hands off even at the curve, so I could practice steering, not just balancing, simply with my body.

These days, I bike on busy streets, steeper, faster hills, in the wind and the rain (and the snow, as of last week). On these streets, I'm too cautious to fly, and I don't really want to bike for fun when I've been biking back and forth all day. It's also cold. If I were writing this in the spring, it might be different. Now walking feels like a treat sometimes. My impatience and my chronic tardiness are the reasons I bike so much more than I walk. Even if I don't have to be somewhere as soon as possible, my instinct is to pedal pedal pedal, make as many lights as I can, and be done. I'm better at relaxing while walking than biking, though again, the cold makes me want to get from A to B with the utmost speed. It's also easier to keep your pants dry when your legs aren't perpendicular to the sky.

Thanksgiving 2011, Part II of IV

Yesterday we had Thanksgiving with my boyfriend's mom and brother, before heading to Cranbrook. Today, I took off the last hour and a half of work at the restaurant so I could make it to my brother John's apartment in time for the appetizers at his and his roommate's lovely Thanksgiving—which was the site of my brother's first turkey attempt. It was a success, and the gravy was, in one guest's words, the "best [she'd] ever had."
Skins in mashed potatoes is a crime in my book. But never fear—you can bake the skins with oil and enjoy them, instead of throwing them in the trash! This was a revelation for some of us.
The great tragedy of the evening was that the double-batch of corn casserole, which is a must for any Thanksgiving meal John attends, failed to bake in a timely matter. The shape of dish and the sheer mass of it resulted in a jiggly mass of corn muffin mix, sour cream, and canned as well as creamed corn hours after it should have been done. The crispy edges that baked were still delicious. But I, foolishly thinking my stomach was recovering from the meal, ate two buttery little morsels of it. And I could feel how there wasn't any space free for them.
The table was beautiful (complete with name cards!), thanks to Rachel, his roommate, and the mulled white wine sangria was delicious. We finished it all off with raspberry chiffon and apple pie—prettier in person, I promise.
Eventually, I ventured forth toward bed. I cannot convey to you the pain of biking with Thanksgiving in your stomach.

This Evening

...we went to the newly-reopened Cranbrook Art Museum. We couldn't find the entrance, at first, because the original entrance is opposite the library entrance pictured above. We knew it was supposed to be the original entrance. But it looked so dark, that we went looking for another one at first. But you should know, if you go there, that the entrance is up there, past the fountain that my night-photography skills couldn't capture. And it's nice.

It's open a few more days—11 days from 11/11/11, 11 hours each day.

Chez Moi

I've lived in my new apartment, the first home I've had all to myself, for almost three months now, and yet so few people have seen it, it seems. I guess I introduced my desk, and another brief glimpse of my bedroom back in October, but it's time to unveil the oasis.

What? If it's being unveiled, it must be exciting, like an oasis. It certainly isn't large, so that angle's out, nor is it impeccably decorated. I'm trying, but there are gaps. When you boil pasta or take a shower, it is steamy like a jungle , and it is an island of warmth in this cold, cold sea. It's hard to fit the whole bed+living room in one photo, because, well, it's just so small. And cozy!
This photo from when I was in Ireland needs to go on the wall between the window and the cabinet.
Here are the gaps I'm talking about. I've got a map for over the desk, one framed poster (Croatian naive art bought in Zagreb!) to go over the couch, but it needs a collage of other frames (to be purchased) with it to fill that massive space—I have nine-foot ceilings! My obliging father painted it for me, and he just brought a paint bucket to stand on, because it was easier than a ladder and worked at home. At home, we have eight-foot ceilings. Thank goodness my landlord keeps a painting ladder in the basement.
My cantilever chairs are antiques. I'm so cool. My parents bought them in the seventies when they moved into their first apartment together (also in Ann Arbor). My dad says they're from the beginning of the twentieth century. He helped me I helped him reupholster them for Emma and me to use last year. Can't wait 'til Deutschland is on the wall. The pastels of the different Bundesstaaten (states) go great with my "ice cube" walls. They're so pale they don't quite show up right in these photos, but you can take my word that they're lovely. Oh, and that hallway is my breakfast-lunch-dinner nook, which leads to the kitchen and then the bathroom. But those are for another time.
 Close-up of my ivory velveteen curtains (which I still have to hem). Funny story—I washed the velveteen for the curtain for the little window over the bed, to pre-shrink it, and when I took it out of the dryer, the raised leaf pattern was gone! Thank goodness I didn't shrink the big curtains.
These are my lovely Simply Shabby Chic sheets, which were discontinued before I moved, causing much anguish. But I found them on eBay, and now can happily coordinate with my walls.
The biggest question: where will I fit a Christmas tree; or: where will I find a tree small enough to fit?

I Need More Friends, Feline or Otherwise

 Yesterday I stopped to visit my kitty friends on my way to Nickels Arcade, where I intended to and did enjoy a pain au chocolat. (Side note: how can anyone get anything done at Comet? The baristas were chat chat chatting away with the customers, and there were so many people going back and forth, that I couldn't stop listening and watching. It was great, but I didn't get a lot of reading done.) I met with early success—the mother cat retreated to under the porch, and the kitten, lulled by my flicking-leaves-with-leaf-stems ways, allowed me to pet its head and its chin and its back. It didn't quite get that it was supposed to enjoy it though. I tried to pick it up, but the mother's head popped out, hissing ferociously, so I gave up.
She hates me.

Well Maybe Just Half a Drink More

You know what's great? Sidecars. Look how goldy that beautiful thing is. Look how pretty, the sugar rim. And the shadow!

If only the Coach Insignia, the restaurant at the top of the Ren Cen, was less boring-slick and more cozy-fancy. It's still a great stop on a birthday night (that was almost six months ago but I can still bring it up), and you can't beat the view in this part of the world. It's even better to have a Detroit expert with you, but either way you're so high in the sky and there are so many lights forever, because that's how this giant metro area works.

We were there on the weekend (two weekends ago already!) with Emma and Ali and Drew. Drew's friend joined us, taking a break from night three (?) of the anime convention taking place in the building. Why I didn't take photos, I don't know, but there were teenagers and not-teenagers in all sorts of costumes running all over the place. Not so much in the restaurant. We didn't see many people who were old enough to drink, and if you're doing it all weekend, you probably don't want to be paying Coach Insignia prices. Cocktails, all weekend! Nope.
Ali and Drew posed perfectly. It was their last dating anniversary—next year, they'll be married! I don't know why they wanted to spend it with us, but I enjoyed it. The photos with me in them failed, so I shall allow them to fade out of memory.

Ali's drink was also pretty. It was pomegranate liqueur and champagne. Not as good as the nineteen-dollar Kir Royale I had once by accident (the accident was the price, not the drink). Drew passed up drinks for a huge, delicious piece of apple pie. Also not pictured, because I'm not used to keeping up with my blog.

Now comes the part where we think about winter.
This is what's coming. I'm sure of it. Sunsets, and broken-up ice the whole width of the river. And down coats with fur-trimmed hoods—I got one this year. I'm ready. Just like Emma, pictured above.

My ice-cold indoor nose is not ready, however. I get that computers are hot, but do they have to air-condition the Fishbowl this much? Glühwein, anyone? Such a nice word. Glow-wine. Mmm.