Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Gentle, soft dream, nestling in my arms now, you will fly..." ~ Jane Eyre
I feel as though I were in a coccoon waiting to hatch.
The process of transforming one life into another has begun, and the process is most beautiful.
What has made the process beautiful is the amount of support from all those in my life, whether they are bloggers, friends, or family. I deeply appreciate the words of encouragement and support.
Last week's first set of informational meetings gave me joy. It was a joy to head into the city, a joy to experience the office I visisted, and, most importantly, a joy to meet the people I met.
Slowly but surely resumes and cover letters and emails are being sent out, so here I am inundated with paperwork and unable to express myself here. Thankfully, a coccoon is only a temporary membrane; the butterfly soon follows.
I learned about butterflies when I vistited the butterfly gardens in Key West this past June. Yes, it is stressful to create a coccoon and stressful to commence being a butterfly, but once you are full grown (you can't tell, but the one in the photo above is as big as your computer monitor screen) and flying, all is right with the world.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

" 'My tricks are not bad' said the Cat in the Hat..." ~ The Cat in the Hat

Dear Bloggers O' The World,

I, Jack Krikor, aged 18 months, am so smart that I hacked into Aunty Amy's blog and am taking over! (Well, just for a few days since she is very busy this week with interviews and such and next week I go back to Romper Room and won't have the time to dedicate to my writing.) Watch out, bloggers! I could take over your blog next!

I decided to start my posting with a list of a few of my favorite things!

Favorite Book: The Cheerio's Play Book by Lee Wade (I can eat and read at the same time!)

Favorite Number: Two (I have flashcards and I love saying "do do do do" when I see 2!)

Favorite Foods: Pizza, Grandma Anta's Chicken Soup, Potato Chips (Aunty Amy sneaks these to me sometimes. Shhhhhhhhh!)

Favorite PBS Show: Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks (Mommy and Aunty Amy are taking me to Barnes and Nobles this weekend to meet Jakers in person and hear him tell a story!)

Favorite Playtime: Anytime Grandma Liz comes over to play with me. When she is around, I don't really care who else is, to be quite honest. ;)

Favorite Hugger: My mommy gives the best hugs to me.

Favorite Toy: My brand new blue light saber that my Aunty Jilly got for me after I tried to steal hers! Just call me Jedi Jack!

Favorite Partner in Crime: Grandpa Rich, especially since he provided me with my own laptop (see photo!) and helped me hack into this place!

Favorite Winter Activity: Standing behind mommy as she puts the fireplace on; I like to sit in my little armchair and warm up by the fire.

Favorite Color: Red

Favorite Room to run around in: The dining room

Favorite Beverage: Gateeg (that means milk in Armenian)

Favorite Animal: Doggies

Favorite N0-No: Trying to get through the gate to my daddy's super deluxe home entertainment system!

Favorite Monster: Myself, Elmo, myself.

Ok bloggers, I am off to eat some eggies for breakfast! Have a great day! See you tomorrow!

Love, Jack Krikor


Saturday, February 17, 2007

"And so it suits you..." ~ Jane Eyre

On Thursday afternoon I loved the woman I saw in the fitting room mirror at Lord and Taylor.

It has been a long time since I have purchased a new suit; I do not wear them to work (a rare few of us here dress business casual while the rest of my colleagues make poor choices, such as jeans and sneakers). Although I have a few suits that I love, I wanted a new one in anticipation of interviews to come this Spring. Its all psychological and I am not apologizing for my splurge.

I was nervous as I perused the racks of petite suits. I worked so hard to get where I am in my career; am I really making the right decision to go ahead with this? In a way, buying the suit meant I was committed to truly changing my professional path, and I felt all the weight of the world on me as I carried various suits into the fitting room.

It took a while to decide which one to try on first. I felt like a bride thinking about her gown. I passed up the boring grey and navy blue Calvin Klein suits for a taupe-colored Tahari with subtle pink and cream pinstripes (see photo above). Just as some brides end up purchasing the first gowns they try on, I knew this suit was the one. I fell in love with it. It was not a conventional blue or grey; I am not a conformist, nor am I some young naive girl out of college fighting for an entry level position. It was a pants suit; I do not need to wear a skirt to prove my capabilities. The entire ensemble screamed spring, as I am ready to exit the winter of my teaching career and move on.

I stared at myself in the mirror for a long while, smiling the entire time. The suit was perfect - light and flattering; I could wear my pearls with it and my favorite pair of pumps. I knew it would be a great ally during an interview...such as the first one I have this Tuesday at a publishing company in the city.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dear Bloggers O'The World,

Happy Valentine's Day to all! My aunty can't come to the blog right now since she has passed out from my infinite cuteness. I gave her a rose when I saw her today, and although it almost didnt make it home with her because I tried to rip the rose off the stem, my mommy caught me just in time! My valentine's day was filled with lots of love from my family, which is the most important kind of love there is! My family has even taught me to smile for the camera when they tell me to "say cheese" !


Love, Jack Krikor


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Had professed to return with even superior ardour..." ~ Jane Eyre

Since Valentine's Day is about fluff, whether it be fluffy Hallmark cards or marshmallow fluff atop a chocolate dessert, I decided to post a light and fluffy meme about some things I truly love, alphabetically listed! Happy Chocolate Day to all tomorrow!

A rtists: Johannes Vermeer, Edward Hopper
B ooks on Love: Ovid's Book of Love, Plato's Symposium
C hildren: Jack, Jack, Jack
D ips: spinach and artichoke, crab
E pilogues: Romeo and Juliet
F rozen treats: Skinny Cow mint flying saucers, banana splits
G ardens: rose garden at the Planting Fields
H istorical Eras: Roman, American Civil War, American Revolution
I dioms: "And all that jazz..."
J urassic creatures: Stegasaurus
K orean dishes: bi bim bop
L ibraries: Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC
M ollusks: mussels oreganata
N awlins: Pimm's cup, Rebirth Brass Band, Audubon Zoo
O pera: Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky)
P oets: Pablo Neruda, Li-Young Lee, Sharon Olds
Q ueens: Elizabeth I
R eviews: The New York Times Book Review
S eas: The Atlantic Ocean
T eas: barley, gingerbread, vanilla, Earl Grey
U rban areas: New York City
V ictorian writers: Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot
W ines: Nero D'Avola from Sicily, Scuttlehole Chardonnay (Channing Daughters)
X mas activities: decorating the Christmas tree, cooking for my family
Y eats poems: "The Falling of the Leaves" and "Leda and the Swan"
Z est: Key lime!

(Hungry? Visit me at www.epicureanescapades.blogspot.com!)


Monday, February 12, 2007

"And suffering greatly now for want of food..." ~ Jane Eyre

Alas, it was only a matter of time until I decided to create a food blog in addition to Eyre Affairs! Of late I feel that there have been so many foodesque postings here, and I want to now separate that passion into a new creative outlet! It is linked to my profile, or you can click here at:


I am hoping to get real participation with recipe shares and restaurant anecdotes, etc.

Allez cuisine, dahlings!

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Friday, February 09, 2007

"I had often heard the song before..." ~ Jane Eyre

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass. ~ Walt Whitman

I am teaching Whitman this week, including “Song of Myself.” I admire Whitman’s words of personal praise; this post is in his spirit.

Though I believe Neil’s Valentine’s Day support system for singletons via IM is a sweet idea (www.citizenofthemonth.com - 2/6/07), I decided to create my own post in a slightly different spirit: Singletons need to celebrate themselves on Valentine’s Day. If you are not going out with your friends and celebrating one another, what better way to do so than to cook a three course meal for yourself, complete with wine and flowers? Why do you need someone else to treat you well? Treat yourself well on Wednesday, please! Here is a menu I have created that will have you singing of yourself on Valentine’s Day.

Firstly, do the majority of your food shopping this weekend for any ingredients you need. Perhaps wait to purchase the produce until Tuesday. Secondly, go out to your florist and get a dozen carnations for yourself. They aren’t expensive, they last for weeks, and you can get them in various colors! Stop by your local wine store and pick up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, a dry white wine you will need for both cooking and drinking. Ask where the Californian wines are located and choose from there – most are less than $20 a bottle. Thirdly, go get yourself a small box of chocolates of your favorite variety, as Valentine’s Day should truly be named Chocolate’s Day.

When you get home from work on Wednesday (or after you have worked as tech support for Neil's Valentine's Day IM network), this menu will take you no more than an hour to prepare, and the dessert takes all but five minutes. The salad has sweetness from pears because you are sweet, the main course is surf and turf because you deserve it, and dessert is going to have you singing. Spend the evening listening to jazz or watching a classic film like The Thin Man or Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Baby Greens, Pear, Walnut, And Blue Cheese Salad
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
1 5-ounce bag mixed baby greens
2 large ripe pears, halved, cored, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped (you can toast these easily in a pan on your stove a day ahead of time and keep it in a sealed container)
Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Toss greens in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Divide greens among 6 plates. Top with pear slices, dividing equally. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Drizzle lightly with remaining dressing and serve.

Chuck Blade Steaks with Herb Wine Sauce (Gourmet Magazine)
*You may choose to halve this and make two steaks*
4 (1/2-inch-thick) top chuck blade steaks (about 18 ounces total)

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Pat steaks dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute steaks 3 minutes per side for medium. Transfer steaks with tongs to a plate and keep warm, loosely covered. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to skillet and cook shallot over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and carefully add wine and any meat juices that have accumulated on plate with steaks. Simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in herbs and salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour sauce over steaks and serve.
*The vegetable I suggest to pair with the steaks are sautéed green beans*

Crab Potato Cakes
(This recipe is halved)
1/2 lb. crab meat (do not use imitation!)
1/2 c. mashed potatoes (use Yukon – peel, boil until fork tender, mash, mix in some butter and milk)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
Dash onion salt
Remove any shell or cartilage from crab meat. Combine all ingredients. Shape into 12 cakes. Place cakes in a heavy frying pan which contains about 1/8 inch of canola oil, hot but not smoking. Fry at moderate heat. When cakes are brown on one side turn carefully and brown other. Cooking time approximately 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper.

Chocolate Mint Parfaits
1 shot creme de menthe liqueur
1 scoop mint chocolate ice cream
1 chocolate mint candy, such as Andes or peppermint patties
1 sprigs fresh mint
Using a parfait glass or cocktail glass, pour 1/2 a shot of creme de menthe into each glass. Top with scoops of mint chocolate ice cream, then drizzle another 1/2 a shot per parfait of creme de menthe over ice cream. Garnish parfait with mint candy and fresh mint sprigs.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

"With an accompaniment of secret tears, forced from me by the exigency of hunger..." ~ Jane Eyre

There were custom made wooden shelves built in the basement of my father’s parents’ home. My grandfather, Krikor, layered basic planks of wood next to a refrigerator besides the one in the kitchen upstairs.

These shelves were over five feet long.

On the shelves sat mason jars filled with brined grape leaves for dolma, processed by my grandmother Anoush's hands – leaves straight from the grapevines in the backyard. Other mason jars were filled with bulgur, the cracked wheat used in tabouleh. Cans of chicken broth would practically fill an entire shelf. Boxes of pasta were stored intermittently between hundreds of cans and containers…hundreds. Corn, tuna, cranberry sauce, kidney beans, chick peas, peas, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, soups, gravies, fruit cocktail, yams, peanut butter, breadcrumbs, olive oil, vinegar, pickles, rice.

As a child, I believed everyone’s grandmother’s basement was filled as though it were its own aisle in a supermarket. Six days a week she cooked for herself and my grandfather; she was petite and lean and he was tall and lean since neither were big eaters. Sundays we came – an addition of five more. Even then I never saw her actually enter the basement to gather ingredients for whatever dishes she was making, like pilaf and shish kebab and lahmanjoon.

It was as though the cans and jars and boxes of food were a permanent fixture there.

In her childhood, my grandmother was not to remain a permanent fixture in Chomaklu, Armenia. She would never grow up in her homeland. As a child, she and her family were deported and sent on a death march by the Young Turkish party after they had decimated the village and killed hundreds there, an addition to the million that were murdered during the Armenian Genocide.

Along this death march into Romania, my grandmother starved. Two of her siblings starved to death and their graves were preyed on by ravenous wolves during the nights after their burials. I remember the fight that ensued between my grandmother and great-aunt when my great-aunt told me of these events when I was a very young girl. My grandmother didn’t want me to know. But I needed to know.

And so do you.

A year after my grandmother died in 1998, I sat in a class with Dr. Druyan, who allowed me to alter her syllabus for Literature of the Holocaust and incorporate my own readings of the Armenian Genocide into the writings I did in the course. After reading Enemies, A Love Story, Dr. Druyan discussed Survivor’s Syndrome in her lecture. It was then that it dawned on me the full extent of my grandmother’s syndrome. There is more besides the stockpile of food in fear of starving, but the ocean of cans and boxes and jars and containers were the most prominent aspect of her symptoms.

I never left my grandmother’s home without eating. She was an amazing cook, and I hope that I do her proud with the dishes I make. My grandmother would make me and my sisters anything that we wanted…anything…and she would cook with a smile and watch us eat with pleasure. She spent her childhood starving and I spent my childhood being fed the best of food by her small hands, hands that even cooked despite Parkinson’s disease in her later years.

These days I relish in cooking for my nephew, whether it be pastina or scrambled eggs, for I know she is looking down and watching me make sure that her Armenian great-grandson, who will be taught about the Armenian Genocide one day, is well fed, both with the kind of food and the kind of love she gave us.



Friday, February 02, 2007

"It was silent..." ~ Jane Eyre

There are times when your soul becomes taciturn for no monumental reason.

Perhaps it is the sudden frost that creates chords of crystallized ice. The words move slowly as the temperature drops until finally they are completely solid and cannot flow. A blanket of white covers expression and covers its layers with condensed flakes. Instead of moving your mouth you move your body and make snow angels and pray silently to them in fragmented sentences swirling in your head that they can help you recover what is lost.

The air is most quiet as snow falls, and one can always tell it is about to snow by listening to the air. It is both amazing and perplexing that a sky so full creates a certain empty sound at the ear...