Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dallas Sucks

Neither Rachel nor myself are what you'd call big sports enthusiasts. If we do watch a game, we're usually (but not always) likely to do so mainly for the social component. For example, I remember watching the Super Bowl this year at my in-laws house, but I don't remember who played or who won. What I do remember is having a good time with family and enjoying some delicious home-made pizza.

That said, you might wonder why, when I passed a guy on the street with a baseball cap that says "Dallas sucks" (referring the the football team the Cowboys) it hurt my feelings so much. I mean, despite not really caring about the football team, I haven't always had the kindest words about the city. I think the best analogy is a relationship with a sibling.

(Let me preface this by saying that I have a very positive, healthy relationship with my brother and only sibling.)

Despite the fact that deep down, you know you love your brother or sister, sooner or later you'll eventually get into arguments and call each other names. So, for example, you may call your brother or sister a jerk (or worse), and for a time, feel totally justified. The situation shifts when a third party enters the scene and utters the same insult at your sibling that you did a half an hour ago. They, unlike you, do not possess the same right to insult him or her that you do. And so, despite the fact that you may still harbor ill will toward your sibling, you will quickly come to his or her defense.

Thus is my relationship with both the Cowboys and the city of Dallas. I'm not particularly fond of either, but they both represent elements of my past. I can no more erase them from my history than I can change when or where I was born.

Dallas sucks?

No sir, you suck.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Autumn Leaves

C'est une chanson, qui nous ressemble
Toi tu m'aimais et je t'aimais
Nous vivions tous, les deux ensemble
Toi que m'aimais moi qui t'aimais

Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s'aiment

Tout doucement sans faire de bruit

Et la mer efface sur le sable les pas des amants désunis

(Okay, the above lyrics don't apply to my life exactly, but perhaps the sentiment does. And how could I resist "The Autumn Leaves?")

My life is in an autumn. The leaves are constantly changing color. Every time you drive on the same street, the trees look different. Fiery reds, vibrant yellows, robust oranges--the colors of autumn that fade into one another, become one another. Breezes that coax the leaves from their branches, sending them into the whirling winds. Every moment is a treasure, because the morning sunrise may never reflect off of the clouds in just that way again, casting the brightly colored leaves in soft pink light. There is no illusion of permanence in autumn.

Friday, October 22, 2010

In love

After I taught my class today, I decided to stop by the grocery store near the studio.

I have found my new Central Market.

The place was huge (it had separate entrances labeled "Health & Wellness", "Produce," and other such things. It possessed the mark of a great grocery store: a wall of cheese (this made me happy, since I went in there to find some chevre). It also had a charcuterie, which I'd never even heard of, right in the middle of the store. Meat hanging all around. Being a (now) pseudo-vegetarian, that wasn't of particular interest, but I was impressed nonetheless. This grocery store has made my day. The Giant Eagle by our house is convenient, but we've found that it's not really suited to our needs (they only have three kinds of chocolate chips, and don't sell Red Curry Paste, for example).

Sooo, this will be our destination for special ingredients. Hooray!

We've made it to another Pizza Friday. This week has flown by! Today's menu features a pear, chevre, and caramelized onion pizza topped with dressed arugula--a variation on a pizza we made for my parents for their Super Bowl party (okay, I admit we're pizza snobs). Unfortunately, this time we don't have access to the $20-a-pound double cream artisanal goat cheese from the fancy cheese store . . .

We do make our own crust. This week, we're using this dough recipe, although divided by 1/4. (Last time we did the full recipe for 2 pizzas, and I thought it was a bit too much crust. By the way, the pizza itself is also worth a try.)

In conclusion, I have been talking way too much about food. Where's my Andyface, so we can go make that pizza?!?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just Shy of Exhaustion

Life is hilarious, unexpected, and weird sometimes.

I got a call out of the blue offering an interview for a position that I didn't apply to. I'd interviewed for another position at the same facility, and my name was passed on to this other department (I guess I didn't get the first job . . . hrmmm). A week ago, I got another random call with a heads' up about another potential job opportunity from my sweet RS President. We'll see.

My teaching is going well, though I'm not so crazy about having to drive around everywhere all the time--just wears me out. I'm not really sure, considering opportunity cost, that I'm making the best use of my time and talents, but I guess the point is that I had to go any place that would have me at all. There will probably be some reevaluation of this approach as life goes on.

We got our new camera--Canon Powershot. This camera came highly recommended to us, and so far, we've been very pleased. Hopefully the weather will be nice this weekend so we can take some shots of the pretty changing colors on the trees! There are a lot of trees here.

I am super-tired, due to lack of sleep and a fair amount of stress this week. Definitely looking forward to pizza and a movie, or something equally "kick-back-and-relaxy." Heck yes.

That was last week's pizza. Tomato & yellow pepper with provolone and fresh mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce, real Parmigiano Reggiano and chopped fresh parsley. Yum. I love Pizza Fridays!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Has Fallen

This week's forecast here in PGH is definite evidence of the onset of fall. Sweaters, scarves, and coats are climbing out of hibernation [I can't remember the last time I wore the jacket I'm currently donning, but apparently, I was hanging out with a big, furry dog at the time], empty warehouses across the country are turning into HALLOWEEN SUPER STORES, and the air is twinged with the scent of pumpkin spice lattes. Most of all, I am happy--because I LOVE FALL. And I love calling it "Autumn."

Autumn carries with it an air of nostalgia. You reflect on the upcoming end of the cycle of the seasons, on the end of the year, and perhaps (for those of the Romantic persuasion) the end of life. In autumn, we have the beginning of the "holiday season," where many of us enjoy our happiest memories and traditions. There is something about the sound of the leaves crunching beneath your feet, the feel of the crisp air, the way the light hits everything, that evokes these rich emotions within me.

There are, however, other reasons that autumn is my favorite season.

Reason #1: Fall Comfort Food

Despite summer's colorful bounty of crops, there are precious few dishes that actually sound appetizing on a hot summer day--especially when you take into consideration that you have to heat up your whole kitchen (and, in the case of our teeny apartment, the whole house) even to turn a piece of raw chicken breast into a chicken Caesar salad. The onset of fall comes as a great relief to a girl who loves to eat soups, stews, baked pastas, things covered in cheese, and other such rich and delicious foods that I don't bother to feel guilty about loving. Yesterday, to complement the cold and rainy Sunday, Andy and I had Spicy Sweet Potato Coconut Soup and cheese toasts, with chocolate-cinnamon bread pudding for dessert. A menu like that will take the chill right off of you.

Reason #2: Autumnal Attire

Again, there is something about breaking out those long-sleeved shirts and sweaters that is just comforting. Unfortunately, not too much of our wardrobe (cold-weather or otherwise) survived the Great Purge that took place before our move, not to mention the fact that the fall weather wardrobe required in PA is quite different from that of TX . . . so it looks as though we may do some shopping pretty soon (feel free to send us cash or gift cards, we're ever so cold! *weak, sickly cough*).

Reason #3: Pumpkin
(comic courtesy of

Yes, pumpkin gets its own reason. What else can give so much? It can be muffins, jack-o-lanterns, scones, cookies, cakes, beverages, soups, stews, interior decoration, and, of course, the ubiquitous pie. I've already made pumpkin scones and pumpkin cupcakes (or "muffins," if you eat them before noon). I will continue to turn pumpkin into whatever I feel like, tinting my pancakes, my breads, and anything else I can think of a lovely orange color. And I will love it.

I could go on, but three is such a good bullet-point format! So, happy fall, everyone! Now . . . what should I be for Halloween??