Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Quinn has been tres busy! Unfortunately, the projects and presentations she has been hyperventilating over (with great success, Ms. A-B student) are not terribly interesting. Her classes have been ranging from historiography -- the philosophy of history -- which is poke-out-eyes boring to her, or computer graphing skills , or Nordic and neolithic archaeology. Some cool things have come of them, like the powerpoint with maps that she drew, but it doesn't make her more excited about her field. There has been an, "Is this it?" moment.
Snow and cold rain. Southampton Starbucks. 'Nough said.
She is spending her rather brief vacation in London with her aunt Ana and uncle Adrian and cousin Evan and more-or-less-family Camilla, plus Denis and Noel are coming out around New Years. Fun times for all!
I have been putting in the hours at purgator...er... Brennans, where I am officially an 'egg slinger', working breakfast serving a dozen variations on Eggs Benedict for $50 per person. What is left of my soul goes to organizing a remarkably successful weekly Vespers at Loyola's Ignatius Chapel, with the help of Buddy Noel (private eye) and my new friend Ken Webber, who is the liturgical director/cantor/pianist there. I dig it, they dig it, about 20 people/week dig it. I'll see if I can attach the file for the program this week. I also have some prospects - a DRE job in Mississippi that I won't find out about until January, and possibly pushing into a last-minute opening in New Orleans schools that is last minute, ie, not known yet. So the usual wait-and-see for me.
I am spending Christmas here, but a number of days beforehand in Monroe, where Jessie and James will be resting all the way from Singapore! I will be very thankful and in the Christmas spirit to see them, and Mom and family. Then, after Christmas I am going to DC to see Dad, Kathy, and Patrick, who has grown into a handsome, tall, blond lady-killer (sound like anyone you know?). They are traveling up from San Salvador, and Dad will be doing a tour in Afghanistan soon, so I am extremely happy to see them.
Sorry we have been so remiss with this blog! My life is boring, and Quinn's life is also routine, which means lots of writing, so writing some more isn't fun. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good Blog!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Mary McCay has joined our little family at 931 Nashville these past weeks while on vacation from her teaching in the Netherlands. I was surprised by how little I welcomed this change in routine, but we have quickly become better friends.
Otherwise, my routine is unbroken: Early morning bus or streetcar to Canal St., at Brennans around 7:30, hustle until 2 or so, return home to edit or chores or relax, Rachel Maddow at 8, days end at 10. Tuesday and Thursday I have enjoyed off, with a visit to Monroe or picnics on the Fly.
Halloween is huge in New Orleans, and we observed from the sidelines. Stephen came from Raleigh and slept on the floor (which is surprisingly comfortable). Good adventures were had by all, ending with Ricky Oh! and drinks in Buddig. We picked up our old habits of conversation, his relative conservatism a tonic to my social liberalism, his love of data (tempered and muted) still rubbing against my love of fiction and storytelling. His steampunk, my falling asleep muttering the last incoherent trail of thoughts on life and death.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
That blue cooler is like another friend, itself, sticking with us in good times and bad.
Monday, October 12, 2009
This quote is from the first chapter of my "tutor's" book. It's weird reading the book of your professor, and realizing that he is like a celebrity and you're hanging out in his office. School is hard - 600 pages of reading for tomorrow, and a whole 700 page book by next Tuesday - but it is still interesting, and my classmates are fantastic.
The quote is about how maritime archaeology is still not taken seriously, by critics or some divers/archaeologists/treasure hunters.
"The result was that to much of the European and
American academic community, ‘underwater
archaeology’ was variously seen as synonymous
with treasure hunting, the lunatic fringe or at
best, a somewhat esoteric pursuit of little interest
to central archaeological research agendas. "
"The point has already been made that recording
complex structures and recovering thousands of
objects can appear to be an orgy of particularistic
data collection. But in such circumstances it’s a
little difficult to focus on generalist approaches
if you are up to your neck in the ‘particulars’ of
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
People we or I know who are roughly our age and are/will probably soon be married:
Kat and Cody (Q doesn't know them well, if at all) (Leuven)
Elliot and Audrey (neither of us are as close to Audrey as we want) (Kansas City)
Megan and Gary (again, Q doesn't know them well) (Massachusetts)
Emily and Grant (does this count?) (St. Louis)
Brian and Rebekah (duh, how lame of me not to put them here for so long) (Ruston?)
So I think it's fair to say that this size and quality of this list (small and low) say a lot about the uniqueness of what we're doing. And that's cool. Have I missed anyone?
Well, congratulations again, Kat and Cody! Rock rock on!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I have a job now! I am an under-waiter at Brennan's restaurant in the quarter. It is a very popular high-end restaurant, with a rather touristy reputation, which is good news for the wait-staff. My supervisors are competent and genuinely enjoyable people. I start on Tuesday at noon. I am also doing some tutoring, in writing with our old friend Isabelle, Melanie's daughter, who is precocious and imaginative, but rather unrestrained in punctuation and paragraph structure. And I may have just scored a few more gigs via craigslist. I also got my Brennan's interview through CL, so count me as a believer!
It is rather disappointing to not be working in my field. I gave it a good fight, and I am still moving the water, but good opportunities aren't coming until Christmas. I may help Holy Cross College on the Westbank start a new Theology across the Curriculum program as an adjunct professor (and maybe assistant director?). That is a position worth patience. And I might use whatever quiet time I have to write, which has been a goal these last few months, so I can stay in practice that way.
I have found that the Ignatius Chapel on campus is a good place for Mass. I like the small size, the democratic nature, the obvious appreciation and understanding of everyone there, the quality of the leadership from the Jesuit community, and especially the liturgical music from Ken, who provides another entry on my very short list of times I have benefited from liturgical music. It reminds me of the UPIC community at Leuven, where I first discovered the Mass again.
Loyola has been like a warm blanket for me these days. My friends there look up to me, if only because they know me as an older-brother figure. It is an unchallenging environment in place and person, but perhaps that makes it a place where I can be dishonest with myself, so I am afraid to stay around much longer. I am grateful for me friends there, especially those who can kick my butt (Buddy, Alex, Diane, Kathleen, Shea, Judith, I think of all of you especially).
I am off to do some laundry, and maybe some tutoring, but certainly the laundry. Pictures will be forthcoming.
PS - Quinn is well, with printer, and convincing her flat-mates that she's not a vegetarian. First day of class is tomorrow, and she is anxious, so please think of her or pray or whatever it is you do to communicate your cosmic energy in a positive way to Soton.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
So, if you ever get it in your head that moving to England sounds like a brilliant idea, do it in the late summer. Similar to New Orleans in the spring, the weather right now is so beautiful you can fool your self into believing that it won’t ever be terrible. Also, if you make up your mind to move here, don’t think that just because the British have technically been doing anything longer than America that they are better at it. Cause all of that’s a load of crap and will leave to fuming in all sorts of lines for hours.
I arrived on time in London Heathrow after a rather uneventful flight. It was early afternoon and everything was just peachy…until I saw the lines. Several hundred people lined up like at Disneyland but with out all the joy, candy-smell, and fresh air. I queued up in the “first year” student line only to find out I don’t have a piece of information about myself that they want my to have in hand. One is my medical record lost by my GP in a medical computer glitch. Needless to say, I had a minor panic attack. No worries though, the border patrol are the most racist people on the planet, and I happen to be the only white person in my line. A glance at my passport, a stamp on my visa, and a perfunctory “have a nice stay” later, and I am racing to get my bazillion bags and meet up with Raj, my AWESOME hired cab man.
After two trips to Southampton where I got absolutely nothing accomplished I decided to suck it up and accept that the universe thought my life needed a bit more dorm in it. I will be residing in a single bedroom with a sink. Woo!
With accommodations, and therefore public transport, out of the way, I am left with nothing to do there until I can move it. I have been hanging out in London getting my fill of home life.
I will hopefully have more to tell everyone once I move in and classes actually start. Wish me luck….
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Quinn promises that a post is forthcoming, but to undercut her, I am happy to say that she is safely in England, well on her way to being a real resident with apartment/dorm, bank, and university orientation. She's been running all over Southampton, and seems really satisfied (except about the price of PG Tips on the train).
I am driving to New Orleans, and I'm already in El Paso! I got a chance to stop in Tucson for a long lunch playing hookie with Katie, and playing walk/throw frog with Emma. Here are some pictures from today, and I hope to make it into New Orleans tomorrow night. And I've already got a place, with the McCay's and their Beagles! Enjoy the pictures,
Monday, September 14, 2009
There have been some positive developments in our lives.
Number one - Jude (the cat) has started loving me. He always takes a few weeks to warm to me, and now we're best cuddle-buddies.
I hope to hear from you,
Friday, September 11, 2009
Quinn has received here visa! It is in her hand right now. She is changing her flight - again, if its not too expensive - so that she can get to Southampton quickly, setup an apartment, and make it to the 'welcome week' at University. Her ticket for the 21st would have left her in the middle of orientation week with no apartment, so we are happy for that change. I hope her arrival is less eventful than mine! She will be staying at Anna and Adrian's house in London, commuting to Southampton to find an apartment and attend school events.
I will leave LA after she does and head to New Orleans. I think that means the 21st. I will keep trying to get my own visa (without which I am barred from the UK), but mostly I am looking for work (thank you Buddy and Kathleen) so I can start paying down student loans. There is some hope for a visa, especially if I can convince my diocese contacts in England to sponsor me.
We are staring down another year apart. Sadness. This is no good at all, but what to do? Depending on work I may or may not travel to Belgium in October as planned. Maybe Christmas? Questions questions questions. Another wrench thrown into our plans, another year suddenly and profoundly changed. Does the universe conspire to separate us? Do we sabotage ourselves? What is the meaning of these challenges in our lives? Are they signs, grace-filled acts, or are they the result of accumulated randomness? We will see.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Can you imagine a game about waiting? Why has no-one filmed a romantic comedy with that title, about people getting married maybe? The anxiety from waiting is a unique breed and makes me want to clean things so as to insist upon my ability to control my world. My desires to clean and organize coordinate with Denis' hopes for the attic and the garage, so at least it's productive and not straightening rugs and re-folding t-shirts.
Although, since we are leaving separately, I have replaced that anxiety with packing fever, and have begun making lists of things that go into suitcases and backpacks. I have begun making appointments in Soton and London. I wake up with visions of the apartment hunt and first visit to the grocery and meeting the neighbors. I am trying to figure out what to do while I am there, what services I will volunteer to get myself into the community of churches in the diocese.
I have also been editing a lot for an online service. I just finished helping someone with his dissertation on Croatia and diaspora which has filled me full of rather useless information (until I go back to Dubrovnik!)
Mostly, though, we have been catching up on movies and getting Quinn's room 'packed up' in a serious, permanent way. Rather emotional, sometimes. Yesterday she made some insanely good pork and grilled corn-in-husk, and we had something like a part with Andrew (who's staying here now), Emily and her brother John and their mother. Fun times, good beer, great food and dessert and philosophical conversations. It was like an indie short film.
I hope everyone is dandy. Besides the passive stress of waiting, we are very dandy ourselves.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Under the smoke filled skies of Southern California, Andy and I have been cleaning out the garage of my house to make room for everything I deem necessary to store. Mostly, It has turned into a chore of taking everything out of the room, organizing a box, and then putting everything back into the room into a different arrangement. It’s been super fun. Dad found a bunch of pictures of him and the family from about thirty years ago. Its amazing how short men’s shorts were in the 70’s.
In more pressing news, my visa application has been officially turned into the proper authorities. Now begins the waiting game. Andy and I have started a preliminary look at apartments near my campus; some look promising. We have been making boxes of what we can survive with in England. So far, it’s a Le Cruset 3l pot (early wedding present from Emily), a wooden spoon, a pair of tongs, a 13x9 baking pan, and three knives. If we can stick with just that, I think it qualifies as an adventure cookbook…
On Wednesday we went to see Inglorious Bastards. It is by far my favorite Tarantino movie. On Saturday, we went to dinner with my grandparents. They gave me three books on British history and tourism. They have some amazing pictures and a dictionary! This will help us better understand what those English people are saying. And what their signs mean.
I also made a pretty tasty pasta dish I’m pretty proud of and will be sharing with you now:
2 Sweet potatoes, peeled and large diced.
4-5 Chicken and apple sausages, cut into ½ in sliced disks
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 large sage leaves
¾ cup white wine
½ cup cream cheese
1lb fresh pasta (we used whole wheat)
1.Place a medium sized pan filled with water, the diced sweet potatoes, and a tablespoon of salt on high heat. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 2 min. Drain and rinse with cool water.
2. Fill a large pot with water and place on high heat. Bring to a boil and salt liberally.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausages and brown liberally. Remove the sausages from the pan and lower the heat to low. Drain the fat into a receptacle.
3. To the brown bits, add 3 tablespoons of butter. Allow to melt and start browning. Then, add the garlic and cook for 1 min.
4. Add the sage leaves to the butter and allow to fry for 1 min. When the leaves have started to curl, add the wine. Allow the sauce to reduce for 3 min over low heat. Add the cream cheese and stir.
5. Put 2 tablespoons of salt into the pot of boiling water. Add the pasta and follow package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking liquid.
6. Add the cooked pasta and the reserved liquid to the skillet with the sauce and mix. Serve immediately.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I think this picture is my favorite.
Berkeley was a paradise. It is a beautiful place, with loads of nature, good public transport (go BART!), views of the Bay, and an endless supply of delicious restaurants which have earned their fame. Quite a few bookstores and cats, which may be the best part!
The university is spread around, but centered very near to Reilly's dorm. Her dorm itself is new and big! Only four floors, so it feels like a sprawling apartment building with colorful patios and wide-open windows. Gender-neutral bathrooms (co-ed, that is), which is sure to be an adventure. Rei says it was creepy the first time, being followed in by a boy, but that already (one day) it seems normal. The theory is two-part: many people aren't easily defined by gender category (as the South-African runner has shown); and women's only rooms are not more safe because they are women's only, nor are men's only, the sign doesn't stop any sort of violence or such. Plus, on the lighter side, the categories of disgusting men's rooms and long-lined women's rooms break down. It seems to work well at all of their many many dorms, for thousands of students, for a couple of years now. So that's new.
Anyway, Rei seems to take to making-new-friends college life very well: "Mom, I have to hang up now, I'm making friends."
It was great to see Laura and Dave there, too! We ate beautiful, delicious, rich food for hours at Corso, and talked and talked and talked and it was wonderful!
Quinn is back on top of the visa situation. The bank-statement step of this process, supposed to be as easy as a balance statement, has turned out to be at least a two-day procrastination in an already to-the-wire process. That's put a pretty stressful tone on the week!
See you soon!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Yesterday we went to Uncle Matt and Aunt Chris' cottage, which has an organic, turn of the century look. It is rich with art and gems and kernels of beauty. Quinn and Chris made buttons, I talked ecology with Matt. We all enjoyed blueberry scones and teatime.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Yesterday was my parents Bon Voyage/Empty Nest party. It was an open house affair full of alcohol and food. Andy and I spent the day before stocking six ice chests full of beer, root beer, and wine.
We woke up at the crack of dawn yesterday to go the Calabasas Farmers Market. I needed to get a bunch of summer veggies for a salad, my mom wanted a melon and blueberries for a fruit platter, and dad wanted colorful carrots and celery for a side dish to his chicken wings. If the shopping list did not adequately describe the amount of food we had planned, allow me to publish the menu (complete with recipes):
This is one of my favorite vegetable dishes. It is especially nice because it is pretty much the easiest thing in the world to prepare.
6 small zucchini, cut into ½ in strips length-wise
3 small yellow squash, cut into ½ in strips length-wise
1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into ½ in strips length-wise
2 red peppers, cut in half and de-seed
1 medium sized red onion, peeled and quartered (leave the base on so it won’t fall apart on the grill
½ cup olive oil
1 tbls Italian herb seasoning, or ½ tablespoon each of parsley, basil, thyme, and oregano.
1 package garlic hear boursin cheese
1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
2. Lay the cut vegetables out on a cutting board or cookie sheet and brush with the olive oil. Sprinkle the seasoning on the veggies.
3. Grill the veggies until tender and slightly charred.
4. Allow to cool slightly and then cut into large chunks. Place in a bowl with ¾ of the package of boursin cheese. Mix until well combined and the cheese has melted. Season as you like.
This is an Alton Brown recipe. It is amazing. It is a lot of work to prepare, but worth it if you want a juicy, albeit small, burger. They make good party food because it is portion controlled. The hardest part is finding good buns in the right size.
Serves: 4 (2 each)
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powde
r½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground chuck
8 (3-inch) buns cut in half
2-3 tablespoon mayo
1. Pre-heat the griddle to 350˚F.
2. Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt in small bowl. Set aside.
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and place the ground chuck in the middle of the pan. Cover the meat with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Roll meat with a rolling pin until it covers the surface of the pan; it should be very thin. Remove the plastic wrap, and sprinkle the meat with the seasoning mixture. Fold the meat in half, from side to side, using the parchment paper. Use a pizza wheel to cut the meat into 8 even squares.
4. Place the cut burgers on the griddle. Cook 2-3 min per side.
5. Smear each bottom bun with a little mayo and top with the burger meat. Top with whatever you want!
We also had corn dogs, but it is such a complicated recipe I am not going to bother posting it. The tequila-lime chicken wings, chicken-apple sausage, and chips and salsa were all store bought (shock!).
Everyone wandered in around three that afternoon, and the party continued until about two that morning when Reilly’s friends finally passed out from exhaustion. It was a great blend of friends and family, young children running around wet from the pool, and serious conversations about politics and the future. Overall, a very good day.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Please do not steal from our good friend.
Go to her website and help her eat.