Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"They were those which treat of the haunts..." ~ Jane Eyre

Dear Bloggers O' The World,

I, Jack Krikor, aged 14 months like a piece of sharp cheese, woof you a very Happy Halloween!

I thank you all for participating in my costume choice contest a while back. Maternal rights won in the end, and my mommy chose a to dress me as a a little pup! Aunty Amy says I am the cutest pooch ever, that I am her best treat ever, and that I am sweeter than a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

Right now I am cutting my canines, so this costume is rather appropos for me today. Aunty Amy says I will need them in a few years to eat candy and that it is worth the pain I have been in recently. Right now I also howl from time to time when I don't get exactly what I want (stubborness runs in my family), so the costume is timely in that sense, too!

Being a celebrity baby is not easy, bloggers. I don't know how Mary Kate and Ashley did it on Full House. Tonight my house is going to be quite full with lots of friends and relatives to celebrate the holiday and to see me in my costume. Aunty Amy is making dinner for all who visit me tonight, including my beloved grandparents!

Aunty Amy and I want to wish everyone Happy Free Chocolate Candy Day!

With a hoooooowl,
Jack Krikor

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"I must treat you..." ~ Jane Eyre

According to Candy by Sign, a horoscope that indicates what candy is the favorite of each sign, this is what my candy outlook indicated:

Aquarius Candy (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18)
Water-bearers are often drawn to containers built to transport liquid, hence their fondness for those freaky wax bottles filled with syrup. When it comes to chocolate, Aquarius will invariably reach for a box of Whoppers. Describing the taste of malted milk is always a challenge for this analytical sign. Hard-to-find candy like Necco Wafers also gives this sign a kick, since they like things that are off the beaten path.

Firstly, I think wax bottles are foul. I do enjoy Whoppers from time to time, but I prefer my malt in an actual milkshake, thank you very much. As for Necco Wafers, their consistency reminds me of the chalk I use each morning in my classroom.

Alas, this horoscope resigns me to a cruel candy fate. The candy of my dreams is the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I have loved this chocolate candy since I was a child. I recall being a young child and sitting on a section of the oriental rug in my living room, candy sprawled out over its patterns after dumping out my bag after trick-or-treating. The more squares of brightly orange-wrapped cups accumulated, the more excited I became. I traded away Twix, Kit-Kats, and even Milky Ways to my sisters in exchange for PB Cups. Even the smaller cups made me happy since I knew my mother would place them in my lunch that week. I enjoyed the sundaes at Friendly's, and even now I treat myself to one a year (with lowfat fro-yo, of course!)

I don't recall learning about the PB Cup when J. Sarah and I were at the Hershey Museum last January. Ironically, museum tickets were included in our spa package! Hence, I did a little research this afternoon. This is from the Hershey Website:

The H.B. Reese Candy Company began manufacturing a product made with specially processed peanut butter and HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate in the 1920s. Introduced as simply peanut butter cups, the popular candy item is known today as REESE'S peanut butter cups. The name REESE'S has a unique heritage established by Harry Burnett (H.B.) Reese, a former dairy employee of Milton S. Hershey, founder of Hershey Foods Corporation. Reese was so inspired by Mr. Hershey's success that he left the dairy business to make his living in the candy industry. While that decision inevitably developed into something truly unique in America's food industry, Reese experienced much adversity before building a company that thrived on the manufacture of a single product.

Born in 1879 on a farm in Frosty Hill, PA (York County), Reese was not very fond of farming. As a youth, he took a variety of jobs including country butchering and oil burner selling before moving to Hershey, PA, in 1917. Following ventures in nearby Hummelstown and Palmyra, where he had some success with Johnny Bars and Lizzie Bars (caramel-like molasses and coconut candy), he moved back to Hershey, a few blocks from the already famous Hershey Chocolate manufacturing facility.

During the mid-twenties, Reese began selling his peanut butter cups in five-pound boxes for use in candy assortments. Ten years later, Reese added the cups which were sold for a penny a piece to the assortment line. Conditions during World War II prompted him to discontinue his other lines to concentrate on peanut butter cups, "a product that both the young and old alike can eat and enjoy..." Distributed through wholesale jobbers, vending machine operators and syndicated stores, the peanut butter cups, in their familiar orange, yellow and brown wrapping, continued to gain popularity on a nationwide scale during the '40s and early '50s.

By mid-1950, it was evident that a larger manufacturing facility was needed. A tract of land on the western edge of Hershey was selected and ground was broken for a modern, extensively automated plant. The 100,000 square-foot facility, built along Chocolate Avenue, opened in August 1957. Six years later, in 1963, the H.B. Reese Candy Company, Inc., was sold for $23.5 million to the Hershey Chocolate Company, currently known as Hershey Foods Corporation, its chocolate-making neighbor. Recently, the company introduced popular limited edition items including White Chocolate (now a permanent item), Dark Chocolate, INSIDE OUT and BIG CUP peanut butter cups.

Dear readers, please fill the comment section as a trick-or-treat bag fills with candy: indicate your favorite Halloween candy and lets see which candy has the majority of love! If you are not a regular commenter, it would be extra sweet to learn about your favorite candy...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"The spoons were moved slowly..." ~ Jane Eyre

My days and nights have been so full this past week that I feel as though I hardly have time to sit down and concentrate on just one thought to follow through to write about. The inside of my brain must look like the swirl atop a latte. Yesterday morning I tried a skim maple latte from Fourbucks; it was like drinking Autumn out of a cup.

Thoughts range from the very serious to the lighthearted. This morning I am making a latte of my words with a swirl on top.

~ Today marks a year since my first entry in Eyre Affairs. Does this mean that I get to eat some lowfat ice cream and Weight Watchers snackcakes to celebrate her birthday?

~ The Guggenheim has been highlighting the art of various countries each winter. Last year it was Russia, and I went to view the exhibit with D.R., which was quite helpful since he is Russian and translated a great deal for me. This year it is going to be Spanish painting (“El Greco to Picasso”), and I am very anxious to see the exhibit. It begins on November 17th, but I shall probably wait until Christmas vacation to go.

~~ J. Sarah and I have plans to eat at Ali’s Kebab Café in Astoria next week after she emailed me telling me she wants to go. And you wonder why she is my best friend? Still, I have kebab on the brain so much that I may head to a local restaurant called the Persian Grill and pick up a platter there for dinner. I want to cook tonight, but a glass of Barefoot Merlot and some lamb kebab with saffron rice are two thoughts in my head that are completely driving me away from being in my kitchen this evening. http://queens.about.com/od/allrestaurantreviews/gr/kebabcafe.htm

~ I am getting anxious as Election Day approaches and hope that there is a good voter turnout. I was listening to NPR yesterday and heard about a new movie called The Conventioneers. I really want to see it. http://www.conventioneersmovie.com/ I am fairly confident that I will vote for members of the Democratic Party both for state and local, and I hope to help J. Sarah do some phone banking for the Dems. The only issue I have with the Senator race. I honestly loathe Hillary Clinton and Spencer comes off as a complete fop. Hence, I have decided to vote for whoever is running independently. I am so agitated that papers like The New York Times and Washington Post are not even listing any other parties besides the Duopoly.

~ I decided that I am going to spoil myself this Friday and spend the entire afternoon at my salon. Haircut, manicure, pedicure, bikini wax, massage. I refuse to leave until the entire staff goes home for the night. I love the staff there, especially my hairdresser, Joanne, who gives me all the latest gossip on other staff members. I hope that every woman reading this does something nice for herself this weekend!

~ I really love mums and have enjoyed seeing them everywhere this Autumn. I need to go buy them for my stoop and place them next to my pumpkin. The other day when J. Sarah and I were shopping at the Americana in Manhasset, she commented on how much she doesn't like mums. I can't understand why, though I am not a real fan of white daisies and I am sure someone could argue that with me.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"A very good man..." ~ Jane Eyre

My father turns 60 years old tomorrow.

I can hardly believe it. As I sat and drank coffee yesterday morning, at my sister's, I watched him with play with Jack. Their silhouettes were like a deja-vu to me; images that appear in old photographs. A man who looked like my grandfather smiling over a curly haired baby who looked like me or any one of my sisters.

The aging of my parents is bittersweet. I love that they are enjoying their grandchild so much, for the smiles on their faces when they are around him are smiles so unique to a grandparent-grandchild relationship. However, knowing that they are grandparents depresses me sometimes, because I want them in my life forever.

This photo of my dad was taken three weeks ago. As part of his 60th birthday present, I drove him out to Brooklyn, where he grew up. We visited the Homecrest section, where his childhood home is located, and to Coney Island, where I treated him to Nathan's. He is standing in front of his old elementary school in this photo. There are other great photos from this day that I shall share when I do a post on Coney Island in the weeks to come.

I am grateful for the many gifts my father has given me. He gave me my education, my love of reading, my passion for history, my stubbornness, my love of jazz, my gregarious nature, my giving spirit, and my sense of responsibility when it comes to family. A single post on my father does this man no justice, but here is a meme I created to celebrate this special day. We are gathering at my sister's for cake tomorrow evening, and my father told me to bring plenty of ice cream for his grandson (who is totally loving vanilla ice cream lately).

Top Twenty Terrific Things about Thursday's Pop
1) He had a Volkswagen Beetle in the 70's that was yellow
2) He knows every fact, significant or petty, about the American Civil War
3) When he had a moustache when I was a kid, I swore he looked like Teddy Roosevelt.
4) He is an amazing photographer
5) Growing up, he always gave me books that I "needed to read" and he still does
6) He leaves messages on my machine about important PBS shows airing that I need to watch
7) He is a Trekkie
8) He loves anything nautical theme-related
9) He likes to drink Grey Goose Vodka with tonic and a twist of lime when we are drinking because he doesn't like beer
10) He knows every damn answer on Jeopardy
11) His obsession with Hemingway was passed on to me
12) His favorite Armenian food is lahmajooon (Armenian pizza)
13) He still lectures me at times
14) His jokes tend to be very corny
15) He loves New York City
16) He belongs to a local chapter of "Sons of the Desert," a group of Laurel and Hardy fans who meet once a month to watch old reels and chat
17) He will still come and hang things in my apartment for me or help me if I am having car trouble
18) My mother's nickname for him is "The Professor"
19) He loves popcorn
20) His heroes are his father, Abe Lincoln, and Alexander the Great

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"He was in such danger..." ~ Jane Eyre

*I know many of you watch Gray's Anatomy and think the theme song by the Fray, How to Save a Life, is about being in the medical field. It isn't. The song was written by a band member in the Fray about his experience mentoring a teenager addicted to cocaine. I am sure it makes more sense to you now.*

Step one you say we need to talk.

Ryan came to me at the beginning of ninth period today explaining why he was absent from my class this morning.

"Another court date, " he said quietly.

In the past year I have had Ryan as a student, for he is repeating American Literature this year with me, I have never known him to be quiet. In the past he has usually been loud, obnoxious, and impulsive with his words. He is diagnosed with ADHD, but he has complicated matters in the past because of the crack I know he used. He smoked so much this past summer that he robbed a convenience store one night when high. No weapons; he just faked having a gun in his pocket. He has been in many physical fights in the building; at one point the Dean's Office wouldn't even handle him anymore - he went straight to the principal when it came to handling his behavioral issues.

There has never been a time I have been scared to be around Ryan; I know he would never hurt me. He has puppy dog eyes and a shit eating grin that is contagious. He is so damn smart. The ADHD impedes him from performing at his best; this child has a high IQ. It is the nature of his illness - he cannot help himself. Period. It is not his parents; I have had his siblings and I know his parents well. The ADHD is a demon. A demon. We have fought often. He has walked out of my room at times. At other times I send him out.

He walks you say sit down its just a talk.

I tell him that I didnt realize that he was back in court today, and then I apologized for kicking him out. I know he was not cooperating out of nervousness. Most days have been good; yesterday felt like a regression back to the battle-filled mornings of last year between us.

He smiles politely back at you.

"It's ok, it's ok. Here is my note from this morning." He looks exhausted as he asks for the homework.

You smile politely right on through.

I tell him to sit down and he does. I say, "Babe, what happened this morning?" I call him babe. All my students are my babies. Mind you, I had to throw him out of class yesterday.

Ryan tells me that he is not going to jail, but that he is being considered for probation. Lately Ryan has been making a turn around, so I know that this judge is doing the right thing by reviewing his latest performance record both with behavior and academics. I sigh a sigh of relief and tell him that I am proud of the turnaround that he has done this year.

Some sort of window to your right
as he goes left and you stay right
between the lines of fear and blame
and you begin to wonder why you came

Last spring I sat in a meeting with his father, who cried during a good portion of the meeting. This was two months before he was arrested.

Where did I go wrong I lost a friend
somewhere along in the bitterness
and I would have stayed up with you all night
if I'd known how to save a life

"Ry, is this over? Please tell me this turnaround is for good, not just because of the charges." I am exhausted, too.

Let him know that you know best
cause after all you do know best
try to slip past his defense
without granting innocence
lay down a list of what is wrong
the things you told him all along
and pray to God he hears you

He assures me with his puppy dog eyes that he has learned his lesson. I believe him. I do. I tell him he will pass English this quarter and that I can send a letter to the judge if he needs me to. I tell him to go home and rest and that I will see him in the morning. I also tell him that the next piece of literature we study will be read aloud in class, so he will understand it more easily. Death of a Salesman. He thanks me again, and I pat him on the back.

Ryan will be saved; I know that. But for each one that is saved, two more are not. I called a parent of another student this morning telling her about his poor academic performance. There were bigger fish to fry; she told me that she had his sister follow him home. Just that afternoon he left school early to go do meth with three friends at the house. He wants to drop out of school; the drugs have so overtaken his mind that he is disaffected. Last year a student I had, Carl, dropped out in March after he was jumped for what he was carrying. He was, by far, the angriest student I have ever met. He is a drug dealer now, walking the streets day and night. Two years ago I had a sophomore leave two months into school to enter rehab after he was found unconscious during a rave under the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is not the inner city. The majority of the students in my building are white. Drugs are a silent epidemic in all high schools, whether it is inner city or suburbia. The administrators are in denial of the problem, as are the parents. Teachers, including myself, are not. Drugs impact me in horrific ways daily. I get really tired of it. Really tired.

And you begin to wonder why you came...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Such a wealth of the power of communicating happiness..." ~ Jane Eyre

As a child, I remember my mother coming home from a tag sale with my father and giving my sisters and I a book each. They were all different variations of the Happiness books that Charles Schultz wrote featuring his Peanuts characters. She inscribed each one to us.

Yesterday I rather enjoyed myself as I helped my sister Missy and our cousin Allie hold a garage sale. We had some items we didn't need anymore. Though we didn't sell a great deal, we had a great time being outdoors together, drinking coffee, eating oatmeal raisin coconut cookies, and enjoying each others' company. Jack visited for a little while (my mother sat him yesterday) and refused to let go of a big red leaf my mother had showed him early on in their walk. The beauty of a close family is that you never need an excuse to celebrate or to be together. So last night we had a big family dinner at Missy's with Allie's family and my parents.

I had volunteered early on that day to cook for everyone. It is rare I get to prepare a meal for a large group; happiness is cooking for more than one person! I had fun at the Italian market with my brother-in-law; food shopping with him is always fun. Last night I made tri colore baked ziti and sausage and peppers for everyone. Allie made dessert - a gingerbread cake. It was so delicious topped with coffee ice cream. I could not get over how well the coffee flavor complimented the gingerbread.

I started thinking about my own variation of the Happiness lists. So here it is. I hope that those who leave comments for this post will do so in the form of their own "Happiness is..." I would really enjoy reading them!

Happiness is...

~ A warm rottweiler puppy

~ Wearing a new hoodie sweatshirt on an Autumn day

~ When school closes for a snow day

~ One's 16 month old nephew insisting that he feed his aunt a Cheerio after his aunt feeds him a Cheerio

~ Opening up a new book and cracking its spine

~ Finishing a New York Times crossword puzzle on a Wednesday

~ Drinking kona coffee

~ Hearing the clink of wine glasses being set on a dinner table

~ Eating Dee's matzoh ball soup

~ The sound of New York City on any given night as you walk down one of her streets

~ Looking at old photographs of one's grandparents

~ Spending hours procrastinating as one peruses possible dresses to wear as a maid of honor

~ Taking a chocolate scented bath

~ Sitting in the upper deck at Yankee Stadium

~ Sitting by a fireplace on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

~ Lying on the beach all day with a good book

~ Finishing a stack of papers that needed to be graded

~ The smell of the lotion after one's hands were placed in a hot towel when one goes to get a manicure

~ Sleeping past 6 0'clock in the morning

~ Loving one's car so much that one wishes one could sleep in it sometimes

~ Purchasing new makeup at a counter

~ Having naturally curly hair

~ Taking warm clothes out of the dryer

~ Picking out a Christmas tree

~ Viewing any episode of Sex and the City

~ Knowing velvet blazers never go out of style

~ Lighting tealights all over one's home

~ Re-reading Jane Eyre for the ninth time

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"But first, look at me..." ~ Jane Eyre

As much as I am all about Sandy in Grease, I admit to being more of a Rizzo fan. Clearly she gets the best tune in the musical where she gets to be sarcastic and witty, clearly aware of what the archetype for satire is. In the end she also gets Kenickie (sans bebe) who clearly never feels he has to present himself socially in two differing ways as Danny does.

I think what I love about Rizzo the most is her backbone. She is a tough young woman who throws milkshakes in faces if the faces give her a hard time. Oh, if only I could throw creamer at my colleagues in the English Resource Center once in a while. Its not that they give me a hard time, its that they can be quite annoying sometimes and perhaps a little International Delight would quell the irritation.

I also admire Rizzo's sense of leadership. This woman knows how to run the Pink Ladies. Not only that, but she designed one amazing logo for their jackets. Rizzo is an amazing artist in addition to being a fashionista. After all pink IS the new black.

Still, if I were to be typecast for the movie, it would have to be Marty. She falls inbetween Sandy and Rizzo - a combination of the two. She stays out of trouble, she stays in school, she is kind to Sandy, but she also is strong enough to be close to Riz. She is clearly a great writer with all of those pen pals of hers. She isnt afraid of looking nerdy in glasses (albeit they were rhinestone glasses, but glasses nonetheless). Her last name is a signifier of the best part of a sundae. Oh, and clearly she is sophisticated based on her speech. She has my favorite line in the film...

Twinkies and wine? Oh, that's real class, Jan.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"While there was yet time to rescind it..." ~ Jane Eyre

A few months ago I posted a "Never Will I Ever" list that included, as an item, never eating jellyfish salad (see above photo for how the salad appears on a plate). Promptly after that post, I received an email from J. Sarah's mother informing me of how delicious it is and how I should try it (she has made it before and eaten in during her travels to China).

Last Autumn I attended a program of The Fall for Dance series at City Center with J. Sarah, her fiance, and Moo. We dined out at Wu Liang Ye, a yummy Szechuan restaurant. Tradition brought us back there a year later the other evening, this time with J. Sarah's mother, Dee.

Clearly the combination of the aforementioned information was going to land me in some hot water where jellyfish roam. Dee does not take no for an answer when she tells you to try something. Of course I owe her the pleasures my palate has enjoyed over the past 14 years of dining with her, including escargot, but I have my limits. And those limits include blubbery gelatinous creatures that roam in the ocean and terrorize the feets of beachgoers everywhere.

Mistake number one: I had the chance to pass on szechuan since J. Sarah mentioned doing Korean. Being sentimental, I said lets go back and have the same kind of evening as last year.

Mistake number two: I know very little about Szechuan cuisine, but apparently it includes jellyfish salad.

Mistake number three: I sat next to Dee at dinner.

Yes, yes, yes. I am eating my previous words along with the JELLYFISH SALAD I ATE. It was absolutely delicious, flavored with scallions and sesame oil. I would have it again, thanks to Dee, and I am even considering going to the Korean market and looking for jellyfish since it is high in protein.

Sigh...I am so proud of me.

It would be lovely to read in the comment section about the most "exotic" food that you have ever eaten. For some it is more tame than others, and that is just fine! I still want to know! I also want to know if you would ever try jellyfish salad. If so, here is a recipe! I hope everyone is eating well this three day weekend! Cheers!

JellyFish Salad
Oriental sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic (finely chopped)
2 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 giant white radish (shredded)
1 small cucumber (shredded)
4 ounces jellyfish (salted and soaked)


Drain jellyfish. Cover with warm water and soak for 20 minutes. Drain again and mix with cucumber and radish.

Mix soy and vinegar with garlic adding sesame oil, salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Toss with salad; serve cold.

Shredded cooked chicken can be added.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Near a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat shrub..." ~ Jane Eyre

Even a lady of the Canon needs to get her beat on once in a while. I am in one funky Ginsberg mood at the moment. You may want to read one of my favorite Ginsberg poems first. http://www.poemhunter.com/p/m/poem.asp?poet=6613&poem=27333

A Trader Joe's in New York

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Alan Ginsberg, for I drove down the road under fluorescent lights with a fucking migraine because this fucking world shining under the moon still doesn't understand all that you understand.

I am starving and fatigued and thinking both of food and of a man in fatigues and wonder which one I am really hungry for. Shopping for images, I went into Trader Joe's, dreaming of your granola-esque words.
What figs and what figments! Single women shopping at night. Aisles full of fake Gucci knockoffs! Twentysomethings in the tomatoes, thirtysomethings in the snowpeas. And you, Sylvia Plath, what were you doing down by the strawberry jams?
I saw you, Alan Ginsberg, Kerouac-less and Saroyan-less, poking among the pita chips and eyeing the grocery boys in green aprons.
I head you asking questions of each: What price Luna Bars? Who killed the Tofurkey? Are you my Seraphim?
I wandered in and out of the whole wheat pastas following you and following a figment of my imagination.
We strode past the free coffee station with our artichoke hearts peeling, never approaching the cashier.
Where the fuck are we going, Alan Ginsberg? The doors close in a half hour. Which way are your horn-rimmed glasses looking tonight?
(I touch your books of poetry and dream about our adventure in Trader Joe's and feel everything but absurd.)
We will drive all night in traffic-laden streets? We will both be lonely.
Will we go to Starbucks and dream of the lost America of love as we sip burnt coffee?
Ah, dear master, please master, what America did you have when a generation cared about making a difference in American society and a cup of coffee was 30 cents?