Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Monday, April 30, 2007

"The remembrance of the wider ocean..." ~ Jane Eyre

Learning from the man is something important to me when it comes to relationships. Yes, it is important to have commonalities in values and interests, but it is also quite lovely when a man is able to introduce me to subjects and teach me about them. I find the exchange extremely romantic and attractive.

I never knew that Alaskan King Crab would ever be a part of my new romance, but they have clawed their way into my new relationship with gusto! In retrospect, I don't even know if I have ever tasted Alaskan King Crab. Aside from my learning from his knowledge on food, wine, politics, sports, and Manhattan's history, the new man is also knowledgeable about fishing.

Yes, this landlubber has fallen for a man with sea legs.

His boat is to enter the water soon as it is being prepared for weekend fishing excursions off of the waters of Long Island this summer. In addition to fishing, he has a few crab pots that he likes to drop. Yesterday he told me that during his twelfth summer, he decided to take the concept of a lemonade stand to the next level and asked neighbors for crab orders. He would fish with his father, and his mother would prepare the crabs in the kitchen and he would deliver them. The idea of fishing and crabbing with him this summer makes me smile as I sit here and write. I can't wait to look for bluefish recipes, crab recipes, and picnic recipes for the trips out to sea.

A few weeks ago we were both doing a When Harry Met Sally moment watching tv together via phone when he told me about a show that was about to come on. I had never heard of it, so I flipped to the channel and within ten minutes I became hooked (pun intended, of course). I rarely watch tv, but thanks to him I am addicted...passionately addicted...to Discovery Channel's The Deadliest Catch. http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/deadliestcatch/deadliestcatch.html

The show is currently in its third season, and I have done my best to catch up on seasons one and two via reruns. Season three is in the middle of its run, and this has become my soap opera. I have become obsessed with the boats, captains, and drama that is involved in the Bering Sea during Crab season. My favorite captain is Phil, because he is such a good dad to his two sons who are now deck hands on his boat, the Cornelia Marie. The ship got damaged recently and its been upsetting to watch Phil lose ground in the season. I am hoping that tomorrow night Phil makes a comeback and his pots get lots of crab.

The beau and I are so crazed over this show that we have been emailing information back and forth all afternoon about Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, and even the architecture of the Russian Orthodox Church in Unalaska while we should be working. I also discovered that the boats are making merchandise now and I really want a Cornelia Marie t-shirt or a t-shirt that says I Got Crabs in Dutch Harbor.

At the moment work is hard and I am really crabby that it is Monday, but I cannot wait to learn from the new beau how to crab this summer and how to teach myself to make this for us:

Alaskan King Crab Nachos (courtesy of Epicurious.com)
24 won ton wrappers
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For filling:
1 ripe California avocado
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon wasabi paste
3/4 lb cooked Alaska king crab leg in shell (1 leg), thawed if frozen and split lengthwise
Special equipment: 2 mini-muffin pans
Make won ton cups:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Stack 12 won ton wrappers together and trim stack into a 3-inch square. Repeat with remaining won tons. Transfer 1 won ton to an oiled work surface and brush top lightly with some oil. Top with another won ton and brush lightly with oil. Repeat with remaining won tons (this way both sides become lightly oiled).
Put 1 won ton into cup of a muffin pan, pressing it gently into bottom and side to form a cup. Repeat with remaining won tons and sprinkle with salt to taste.
Bake won ton cups in middle of oven until crisp and golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer won ton cups to racks to cool (they will continue to crisp).

Make filling:Scoop flesh from avocado and mash coarsely with a fork. Stir in shallot, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and wasabi to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove crab meat from shell and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss crab with remaining tablespoon lime juice and salt to taste.
Spoon guacamole into won ton cups and top with crab.
Cooks' notes:• Won ton cups can be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at cool room temperature.
• Guacamole may be made 4 hours ahead. Chill and cover surface with plastic wrap.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"And while seeming to be busy with my sum..." ~ Jane Eyre

This elongated winter weather has frozen my hands at the keyboards and I wish to thaw as the ground outside has, for the warm breezes and daffodils ground my soul. There are many lovely things growing around here of late, so this is a piece of my garden...

~ My Jack is becoming a beanstalk who grows each day from a baby to a little person. I am kept in awe as we plant seeds of words and ideas and actions in his head that he retains and projects out. His vocabulary is advanced, of course, and his curiosity blooms as big as a sunflower does on a hot August day. A few days ago we took a walk together and I had to hold him back since he was trying to chase a squirrel, calling after it!

~ I keep my resumes for various applications divided into packets like ones that contain seeds. Some plants are slow to grow, but the continual brightness I feel as I send them out and the waterfall of opportunities are flourishing. No word yet from interviews, as I am realizing that corporate is as slow as a snail sliding along in a garden! Still, I know I will be rooted elsewhere shortly in complete content.

~My spring cleaning inside and out has lead me to think about setting up a raised garden in my backyard this year. After cleaning and setting out my patio furniture and barbecue, I thought about how nice it would be to grow some herbs and vegetables. As much as I dislike raw tomatoes, growing them to make into sauce to place into jars at the end of the summer would be quite an enjoyable endeavor. Most of my free time in the past two days has been spent on the HGTV website reading about raised gardens and such.

~A new romance is budding, and it seems rather apropos that one of our first meetings was underneath the arch in Washington Square Park, where Harry met Sally...or rather, where he met Amy. How often does one find a man who loves nero d'avola as much as you do? I find myself drawn to him despite my jadedness and apathy towards romance of late, and he brightens my day since he is the kind of person whose wit is so great that he makes you laugh until it hurts.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"This violence is all most repulsive..." ~ Jane Eyre

A few months ago I shook hands with Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott.

Rachel was the first student shot and killed at Columbine High School in 1999.

Rachel's Challenge, a program that teaches tolerance and love both of one's self and of others, was being presented to all of our students at the high school that day. Rachel's death would not be in vain; for this program seeks to counteract all of the evil that occur ed on that day in April. Her father speaks all over the country to students each week, standing strongly and proudly as he speaks of his dead daughter. At the end of this program, each student signed a sheet and accepted the following challenge to
~ eliminate prejudice
~ dare to dream
~ choose your influences wisely
~ speak kind words and act kindly
~ start a chain reaction with family and friends

I thought a great deal about Mr. Scott this morning.

At the time that I met him, listened to him speak, and learned about his foundation, I still was not exactly sure how the man was standing. To this day I find his ability to do this stemming from some kind of super heroic powers. The depths of his love for his daughter were deeper than the pain, and that is what, in the end, keeps him going. I knew deep down that this project was his catharsis, and I believed that yes, indeed, he is making a difference and he is helping us all move beyond Columbine's massacre.

And yesterday, we took ten steps back.

I wondered if Mr. Scott was able to get out of bed this morning.

He did. I should not have doubted him, for he is one of the strongest human beings I have ever met.

I owe it to this man, whose hand I shook with the greatest feeling of respect, to repeat his words here...

Newsweek, 2007

April 17, 2007 - For Darrell Scott, the bloody massacre at Virginia Tech on Monday was a painful reminder of eight years ago this week, when Dylan Kebold and Eric Harris opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. It was then that his daughter Rachel, a junior, was the first to be killed by the two assassins while she ate her lunch outside. Her brother Craig was unharmed, but watched from hiding as his friends were gunned down in the school library. Scott has since devoted his life to preventing further attacks—another reason why this latest tragedy is especially upsetting. Through the Rachel's Challenge Foundation,Scott reaches out to some 60,000 students a week through school assemblies, workshops and outreach programs he says aim to deliver a "chain reaction" of hope through Rachel's memory. He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Jessica Bennett about the latest school shootings. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: What would you say to the families of the Virginia Tech victims?

Darrell Scott: I had a hard time breathing all day because my chest tightens and the anxiety sets in, and it just brings back memories of what we went through eight years ago. It's just a terrible, terrible situation. But I hope these parents can be aware that there are thousands of parents like them out there, like me, who stand with them silently and invisibly and support them with our hearts and whole being.

What helped you cope with the loss of Rachel?
For us, the thing that was most effective was each other and our friends. After the healing process had begun, we got through it by cherishing the memories and celebrating the lives of those who've been lost. There's a big hole in my life that can never be replaced. But by celebrating Rachel's life, we've been able to keep her legacy alive. And through our program, I'm seeing lives touched and changed by it every day.

But can you ever truly recover from something like this?
In Columbine there were students who didn't even see the action take place who are still going through depression and other struggles, so it's not easy. My son was probably the biggest emotional victim of Columbine: he lost his sister, he was covered in the blood and body parts of his friends while he was crouched in the library watching everything happen. And he still struggles. But he made the choice to celebrate his life and his sister's, and not to live in the past.

Why do you think this continues to happen?
Are we fueling a culture of violence?I've said for eight years that the responsibility lies with all of us. When I was a child, they didn't allow the extreme violence to be so widely available to young people the way it is now. Unfortunately, today people can go to the Internet and find out how to make bombs. We've got artists and musicians who glorify suicide and homicide. We've got videogames being mimicked after Columbine. And you've got extremely violent movies. It's no secret that when people are exposed to extreme violence and become angry, it triggers something. And if they have access to a weapon, the combination of all of that can be pretty volatile.

This was the second incident at Virginia Tech this year. Do you think there was more the school could have done to prevent this?
Unless there were warning signs from this man, there's really not much anyone can do. If someone is suicidal and wants to take out a bunch of people, and there are no warning signs, metal detectors or armed guards aren't going to stop that person. And unless we turn our schools into prisons, there's only so much we can prevent.

So how can we try to prevent these rampages?
The best way to prevent violence is to demonstrate kindness and compassion. Many times, if you look at the lives of killers, there's been rejection in their lives. That's no excuse for what they do, but if we could simply show everyone around us compassion and kindness, though we may not know it, I guarantee we will be making a difference.

School shootings always spark debate over the availability of guns. What's your view on gun control?
I spoke before Congress about a month after the Columbine tragedy and I said then that I didn't think gun control in itself could solve this—and I say it now. Eric and Dylan broke dozens of laws to do what they did at Columbine, and unfortunately, if a person is determined to kill, and they don't care whether they live or die, they're going to find a way to do it whether or not they've got easy access to a gun.

You speak at a lot of schools. What can school administrators do to quell anxieties among students and parents about these kinds of attacks?We can choose to live our lives in fear, but the truth is we can't predict the future. We have to choose to live life fully. If we walk in fear it just becomes a never-ending cycle.

Is there any good we can take away from this tragedy?
When tragedy occurs it reawakens people. But we also so quickly forget. If anything good comes out of something so horrible, I think it's how sacred life really is. If we could just live with that understanding.