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Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Tyger:

William Blake was born in 1757 in London, England. He was a Romantic poet who wrote about innocence and experience in the 18th century. In 1794 Songs of Experience was published which contains my favorite poem, The Tyger. I've included the poem below because sometimes when I feel frazzled it makes me feel better.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,

And watered heaven with their tears,

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Penne with Fried Sage and Butternut Squash

Attempted a new pasta recipe, I think it came out well enough. My tiny apartment smelled pretty good so I think that's a good sign.

Penne with Fried Sage and Butternut Squash


  • 1 box of penne pasta (please use Barilla, my Italian professors would shoot me had I done otherwise). 
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 butternut squash diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • parmesan
  • salt, pepper, and olive oil
  • Blanch the squash for several minutes in boiling water to soften it, remove and set aside.
  • Fry sage leaves in olive oil for one minute, transfer to a paper towel when done.
  • Combine olive oil, garlic, and onions and heat for a few minutes until the onions become opaque. Add squash and 3/4 of a cup of water. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, boil the pasta al dente (to the teeth people!)
  • Combine the pasta with the squash mixture in a large bowl, mix well and begin to shower the dish with parmesan. When you think you've added enough cheese, add more. Then, add a bit more. Finally, sprinkle with the fried sage and serve it up.
Oh most importantly, eat this dish with copious amounts of wine! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Nostalgia

Recently I was talking with a friend about the idea of nostalgia, the idea of taking a peek into the past and why this little glimpse makes us feel so sad or so strange. As a child growing up I took comfort in "old things", I couldn't bear to throw the tiniest scrap of paper away. An old movie ticket, a birthday card, a feather I'd found in one of my many nature hunts outside. I hoarded memories and objects like a tiny pack rat, afraid that by tossing out that plastic toy I'd won in a vending machine that I was somehow hurting its feelings, neglecting its very existence. My closet and my backpacks were overrun with stuff, stuff that at the time felt very important and all consuming. As an 9 year-old that soft, checkered blanket with the bunny ears attached felt antique, an object from my past. But what is the past to a 9 year-old?

I used to revel in nostalgia, I would pick and prod and cradle old necklaces, retro Barbie doll clothes my aunt passed down to me, some old rocks I'd collected at the science museum. Even as a little girl I felt that all of these treasures somehow managed to tell my story, they were mapping my life as inanimate objects.

I grew older and I learned to love pictures the way I loved old playdough creatures dried out from the sun. Pictures from my childhood, my parent's childhood, my grandparent's childhood. I would creep into my mom's bedroom and open the wooden hope chest that was overflowing with photographs at the end of her bed, then thumb through each album one by one. It was comforting to imagine my parents as kids like me, then as teenagers who met and got married, then as young parents. It felt good to stare at my family, my history.

At my grandma's house I'd repeat the same process, beg her to drag the giant box of black and white photographs down from the laundry room shelf. Ask over and over again, "is this really you grandma?" "is this really dad as a kid?" A still of my dad in black framed glasses from the 60's or my Italian grandmother herself with big, dark hair that couldn't be tamed in the Florida heat of the 1950's.

There is something very glamours about black and white photos, life's imperfections seem to vanish under the grey tones. Women look beautiful and men look handsome and life seems more perfect.

Nowadays I feel less inclined to look to the past for comfort, I purged my bedroom long ago from my sticker collection and the shoebox of notes I'd passed back and forth in class with my friends. Now I find myself drawn to simple, clean lines. I want my life to feel more like an Ikea showroom and less like a warm space filled with weird odds and ends.

It is so easy to hop onto the computer and stalk other people's memories but now I try to avoid my own. I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older but I find it painful to look at pictures of my time abroad in Italy, it makes my heart ache for a time that I can't have back. And maybe that is what is most beautiful and sad about our memories, we each long for a moment that has slipped through our grasp all too soon, and it was perfect.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Honesty Is the Best Policy:

It occurred to me recently that in order to get what you want, you have to ask for it. Getting what you want doesn't happen by sitting on your couch and waiting for "it" to blow through your back door and land on your lap like a tiny leaf separated from a bigger branch. Getting what you want means being honest with yourself, it means admitting that you are not going to settle for less.

I used to think that if I was a good person who worked hard and abided by the social contract, that good things would happen. Good things would rain from the sky like, well, like rain. And every so often some of those beads of rain would land on my shirt and I would catch them and think to myself "wow a really good thing just happened to me because I'm a good person." But that's not the case, in this world where everything moves so fast those rain drops can't catch up with you, they'll flutter to the ground next to you unless you stand up and force yourself into the storm.

There is something about getting older that makes you want to stand up for yourself. Lately I've had this overwhelming desire to do good things for myself, to make good things happen to me. I will never get a six pack by wishing really nice thoughts about the person next to me at the gym. I'll never fly to Paris if I keep lusting after imaginary flights. Sometimes, you have to make things happen.

From now on I'm going to make a real conscious effort to be more honest with myself about I want out of life, relationships, family....

Let's be honest it would be a whole heck of a lot easier if I could organize my life while lounging in bed reading Fifty Shades of Grey but that's just not going to happen.