Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Monday, November 27, 2006

"At once weary and content..." ~ Jane Eyre

Even a red eye from Fourbucks does not help on a Monday morning after a holiday weekend.

I purchased the tall cup - the Verona blend with a shot of expresso - not particularly paying attention to the barista who had to ask me three times if I wanted room for milk. Instead, I was paying attention to the cranberry bliss bars that I will not be tasting this holiday season. (Instead, I will taste the sweet delights of being back to a blissful size six.)

At the sugar/milk/stirrer/napkin kiosk (I think these are called kiosks, but I can't be sure. Maybe they are cream counters? Sugar centers? Stirring stations?), I looked down into the brown with hope. Perhaps this strong coffee, with skim milk trickling into it and splenda adding a robust artificially sweet flavor would save my morning.

Was the morning salvageable after the continually artistic procrastination of getting out of bed? I managed to make some very creative daydreams as I held on longer to my pillow long after my alarm clock sounded.

Alas, the morning was not to be salvaged. Despite the mild winds and bright sun of the dawn, I could not feel alive this morning.

I couldn't even cope with NPR, which is extremely rare because I love Morning Edition. Instead, I listened to Sarah McLaughlin's melancholy voice and felt rather melancholy.

I was melancholy because I wanted to be back in bed like I was this past Friday morning, on a high from the holiday festivities of the previous evening and daydreaming about the long weekend ahead. I had time to take a bath whenever I decided to get up, not a fast-paced shower. There were crossword puzzles waiting to be done, holiday menus to plan, and a double session of yoga if I so pleased.

As much as I am passionate about coffee, the red eye was no substitute for the Kona coffee I enjoyed in my press at my leisure all weekend. My red eyes looked at the red eye with hopelessness. This was no use. It wasn't going to help me; nothing could help me today.


Because it is 7:30pm and I am still not fully awake.

Friday, November 24, 2006

This was a blessing, bright, vivid, and exhilarating..." ~ Jane Eyre

I am thankful this evening to have found my voice, for it has been metaphorically lost for almost two weeks. The days preceding Thanksgiving were a bit difficult since my dear father was in a car accident; he is fine and well and already in a new car. Our family's holiday was beautiful and filled with love, warmth, gratitude, and a sense of inner peace.

Robin and I hosted Thanksgiving together this year, and I loved each moment of working together with her as a team. We coordinated everything from the menu to the table decor to the dinnerware. When she and I were in the kitchen together yesterday, I felt a great deal of energy between us. We were impassioned about giving the best holiday to our family, especially Jack, and we did. For this reason, it was the best Thanksgiving for us.

Another reason why it was also the best Thanksgiving for me because I spent the later part of the evening with D.R.'s family, having dessert with them and drinking champagne. I do not take for granted one bit that he is home and able to celebrate, and I feel for the families whose loved ones are serving in Iraq and not home to enjoy Thanksgiving.

Exhaustion consumes me, but its a pleasurable kind of tired. I got to see and speak to all those that I love yesterday, and for that reason I am truly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all - I wish you a lovely holiday weekend and I am so grateful that you are here reading my words. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"There was now visible a house or houses - for the building spread far..." ~ Jane Eyre

A Thursday's Tuesday's Twelve: My Top Twelve All-Time Favorite Building Structures

1) The home of my childhood - I grew up in aTudor home, which was quite cozy and Stratford-Upon-Avon-esque. I am thankful that my parents were able to give this home to me and my sisters. I loved its nooks and crannies, and I especially loved the old fashioned radiators. When we played outside in the winter as young girls, my mother would sit us on the radiator (covered, of course) to warm up when we came in and dole out the hot chocolate to us as we sat there getting our butts warm!

2) The Chrystler Building - This is my favorite view within the NYC skyline. There are so many amazing structures that make the skyline special, but I think this building is the most special because it is so beautifully detailed.

3) My Catskill House - My grandparents used to have a house in the Catskills and many of my favorite childhood memories were there. My grandfather had an actual well located on the path to the house from the road that my sisters and I referred to as "the wishing well."

4) Rita's Sag Harbor House - J. Sarah's grandmother's home in the Hamptons will always be one of my most favorite of places and I shall always remember my late summer jaunts with J. Sarah there with joy. My favorite part of the house is the dining area that overlooks the cove, as it is probably everyone's favorite part of the house who has ever stayed there.

5) The E.W. Library - I worked in the E.W. Library for six years; the building itself is a historic landmark. It was tiny and the floors creaked and it smelled old and the shelves were sagging, but I love that building because it holds a great deal of magic.

6) My high school - There is never a time I walk back into that building where I don't feel joy and a sense of completeness. My time in that building led me to my career today as an English teacher. Whenever I go back in that building, it always feels like home, especially the theatre and English Department!

7) The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Aside from all it contains, the actual structure of this building is a work of art in itself.

8) My sister and brother-in-law's home - The love I have for that house is just about 16 months old, since that is the amount of time Jack has been living in that house. I walk through that door and experience such delight when he greets me with his big eyes and wide grin.

9) The House that Ruth Built - Yankee Stadium is my favorite place to be on a summer afternoon or evening. The structure is historic and I love it for all of its imperfections. Sadly, Steinnie does not. I am sad that there is going to be a new Yankee Stadium.

10) Michie Stadium - The view from the stands is stunning. The Hudson River is one of the most beautiful bodies of water that there is. My experiences there for football games and such are, by far, some of my favorite memories of Saturday afternoons in the Fall.

11) Westminster Abbey - My sister Robin can attest to the fact that I probably sucked my breath in at each corner of the abbey. From Poet's Corner to Elizabeth I's tomb, I was in awe with each step I took in that church.

12) Commander's Palace - Yes, a restaurant had to make this list! Not just any restaurant, though. I loved each moment of brunch I had there with J.Sarah back in 2004, and I hope to return there very soon since it has since re-opened.

*It would interest me a great deal to hear about your favorite building structure when you leave a comment*

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"Sitting down to feast alone at a table..." ~ Jane Eyre

Forget Anglicanism.

I practice Anglophilism.

The thick database of items pertaining to my passionate love of Jolly Ol'. Of course a good third of the database are all authors, P.G. Woodehouse included, there are also some rather obscure items such as the trifle, Absolutely Fabulous, Ralph Fiennes, and PEEJ and his blog: http://wonkytimes.blogspot.com/ (How can I not love Peej, who refers to me as a Spiffy Blogtart?)

Still, one of my absolute favorite narcissistic loves on the Brit List includes Miss Nigella Lawson. She is a bit curvey, she has dark features, her hair curls, she likes to lick her fingers when cooking, and her grammar is stellar. Sound like someone else you know? Of course my cooking capabilities are no where near Miss Lawson's. I admit that I have a girl crush on her, and in my fantasies she uses her rolling pin not to smash up crackers for a pie crust, but to smash up Rachel Ray's face. It is about time that Foodnetwork is airing Nigella Feasts. It is my hope that she dominates the Dum-o who says Yum-o on the telly.

Aside from all of this, I do admire her as a person since she has quite a stiff upper lip. Her husband tragically died so young just after five years of marriage, and she is a single mother to two children.

This holiday season I have every intention of asking for Nigella cookbooks, and I have been perusing her products in her Living Kitchen line and drooling. Sadly, so few are available here in the United States, save a few items on the Foodnetwork store online. I shall just have to get my Nigella-esque ass to London sometime soon. Check out these lovely tins:

I think the Brits have gotten a bad rap when it comes to food, and London now certainly has many exceptional restaurants, ethnic cuisines included. One of my favorite restaurants to eat at when I visited London was Wagamamas, a casual noodle bar. http://www.wagamama.com/ I am also a huge fan of Jamie Oliver, but that is a post for another day.

Sigh. After writing this post, I cannot wait until Christmas. I am off to Barnes and Noble for one of her cookbooks. The errand leaves me plenty of time to get back here to watch her on Foodnetwork. Cheers! I leave you with a few of my favourite Nigella-isms:

I always wanted to be called Caroline. Carolines were always very nice in books.

Gordon Ramsay makes me laugh because he knows that I'm not a chef.

I can understand why those primitive desert people think a camera steals their soul. It is unnatural to see yourself from the outside.

I never taste the wine first in restaurants, I just ask the waiter to pour.


Update at 11:00am on Sunday: I just ran to B&N and picked up Nigella Lawson: How to Eat - The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. I then dashed into the market and picked up items for her One Pan Chicken (p.360) that includes lots of red onions and red peppers.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"As I can tell without compromising my own peace of mind" ~ Jane Eyre

I pushed the eggs around on my plate, for there was no room in my stomach for them. My insides were in a knot. I had been up for hours on this particular morning this past spring, waiting for him to come pick me up, wondering if this was the last time I would ever see him.

A few weeks earlier I had inquired as to what I could give him monetarily to help get the best body armor, for the Secretary of Defense at that time - and oh God I love saying at that time - was not providing good armor for the soldiers in the Army's infantry. I was then told that private armor was not allowed; a cruel dictate from the Defense Department. Not only had Rumsfeld not given the men in the infantry the best protection, but he purposely prevented them from having it.

My question over our breakfast was unfair and I knew it.

It was just weeks before his deployment to Iraq.

"I don't understand," I said. "How can you tell me that you are okay with the fact that Rumsfeld is not providing you with the best protection and resources? How can you accept that?"

"I have to accept it."

Yes, I suppose he did. He was about to walk into a war zone, and this was not exactly the best timing for me to stage a protest, so I just kept pushing my food around and changed the subject. I felt the bile rise in my throat as I half participated in our breakfast conversation and half participated in my silent rage over the fact that a smarmy, incompetent, belligerent jerk off was head of our nation's defense.

I blame Rumsfeld directly for all the sleep I lost this summer. He needed to be three steps ahead in this war, and he was always just half a step ahead. I argued with D.R. constantly about this vile man, and I was always flustered when D.R. would defend him.

Yesterday at around 1pm I saw the main news headlines online, and my eyes widened and my spirits lifted. Rumsfeld resigned, Rumsfeld stepped down, Rumsfeld fired. I raced upstairs to the media center where I knew Bush's press conference would be on. I sat there with four other teachers who also raced upstairs in joy after hearing of this poetic justice, staring at the screen with the corners of my mouth directed upwards in a small, faint smile.

I slept peacefully last night in hopes that perhaps this would even mean no deployment again next year. Perhaps there is now someone who is going to be three steps ahead, or maybe even four, who will be a better support to the soldiers and a better "architect" in the rebuilding of Iraq. Perhaps there will be more equity in who deploys, and perhaps D.R. won't miss another summer here in the United States. Perhaps there will be longer strides to get to peace quicker. All of this hope gives my insides little peace since it is all enough to send my heartbeat "a thumpin'."

For the first time in a long time, I feel joy in the morning.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"For shame! for shame!" ~ Jane Eyre

A good writer avoids cliches at all costs.

However, I cannot help but reverberate the old adage, they don't make 'em like they used to when I think about the midterm election.

Elections have become a farce in this country due to the politicians. They have no shame. This midterm election has gone beyond mudslinging; this is shitslinging.

I am so relieved that this year's election will be over in about 13 hours. My intuition tells me that there will certainly be voting problems at the poll sites, and perhaps there will not even be clear winners decided by the morning. Still, the campaigning will be over and done with, and I hate to even use the word campaigning because most politicians are finger pointing rather than campaigning - and that goes for both parties!

This morning the old ladies at the polling site informed me that I was their 18th voter. The 18th president of this country was Grant. He was a horrid president, but he was an amazing general. Therefore, I like to remember him more for his leadership during the Civil War and not post Civil War.

I begin to wonder what would happen today if my three favorite presidents - Lincoln, Teddy, and FDR - were alive today and seeking election. I am sure Abe would be called ugly by mudslingers, Teddy would be called fat, and FDR called a cripple. Lincoln's failures would be listed as showing incompetence, Teddy would probably be in huge trouble with anti-NRA groups, and FDR would be impeached since he had more mistresses in the White House than Clinton. It makes you think, doesn't it?

These men were on my mind as I voted this morning. I respect them more than any other men in history. I find it a shame that the lack of respect that politicians have for each other have made election campaigning a mockery and an insult to the ideologies, passions, and strengths of our forefathers. I also find it a shame that people in this country take for granted their right and are too lazy to vote. I have no tolerance or patience for that. I am sure those who are too lazy to vote would get out and go if they were living in China for even just a week...