June 2007

In addition to the procrastination I mentioned last week, I think my blog writing has been muffled.  So, in this navel-gazing post, I consider the various ways in which I am dissatisfied with what I’m doing here:

1) Cheese Deficiency: My cheese posts have dribbled off into ‘teh lame’ category despite the random substitution of other food posts.  As a result, I plan to cut back on them.  I’m simply not eating enough phenomenal cheese on a regular basis these days to say anything pithy and interesting on a weekly basis.

2) Delusions of privacy: I struggle with the need to support or start more substantive posts with very personal thoughts and/or experiences with the fear of putting too much out there.  I’m guessing this is something every writer battles with, but it feels weird when my more personal, particularly negative personal, stories generate spikes in hits.  Part of this is probably due to the fact that these are inevitably more interesting to people than the cheese posts or the Friday Five, but it also feels voyeuristic in some fashion.  I’m curious as to how bigger blogs deal with this issue, particularly those that seem to specialize in weaving intensely private, intimate experiences into their posts on broader subjects.

3) The writing habit: I started writing this blog to ensure that I would continue writing on a regular basis now that I am no longer actively working on a novel.  It worked at first, instead of jotting down plot points and character nuances into my little notebook, I was jotting down ideas for posts, but that hasn’t been happening lately and I’m not sure if it’s lack of discipline on my part or something else.

4) Self-Intimidation: This is where my stupid insecurities impact my voice.  I get ideas, I jot them down (since ideas rarely seem to pop up when I’m at the computer, unless I’m reading someone else whose stories remind me of something or other) then read something that appears to cover everything I wanted to say and probably 10 times funnier or sharper.  So, I don’t write.  I really, really need to get over this.  It’s part of the reason I didn’t follow mr. jolt into academia – what on earth would I write and attempt to publish about that hasn’t been said 500 times before?  It’s a stupid insecurity, but very effective in getting in my own way.

5) Intimidation by others: This blog is still tiny, so it hasn’t been a major issue. But.  I did have one reader who felt the need to track me down in a fashion, and who, oh so casually, let me know they had done it.  It pissed me off.  Was it meant as a casual warning – this friend can find you, so can others who might not be so friendly? (Although no such message was included).  Was it unconscious?  An uncontrollable urge to get an idea of who one is speaking to?  I’m not really sure what the etiquette is here.  Is it better to run someone’s ISP and file the info away mentally, or is better to run it and post the result in an email to said person so they know that you know?  Anyway, it definitely made me more self-conscious than I am already and aware that if I really pissed someone off they could figure things out.  Needless to say, this does not assist me in my efforts to break through my own writer roadblocks.


Ah, yes, the lovely cheddar.  Basic, and yet sublime.  Mild, I will confess, doesn’t do much for me – the sharper the better.  Sharpness corresponds with the age of the cheese and thus, the sharper the cheese, the more expensive it is because you are paying for it having sat at a proper-temperature aging nicely to provide the  appropriate level of bite.  Just like older wines, barring some severe fluctuation in the desirability of a particular year’s offering, older wine of a particular label, varietal, etc. will cost more than the newest of the same label and varietal because you are paying for time.

Like wine, cheese can have vintages, with variations in flavor depending on what the cows were eating when they produced the milk.

Cheddar is widely available today, although much of it is bland supermarket fluff.  Smaller producers of cheddar, such as this one, in Grafton, VT, produce a better, more flavorable product.  The original Cheddar, from Cheddar, England, was in such demand in Elizabethan times that it was bought before it was finished aging.

If you don’t want to bother with small producers or pay shipping costs – there are dozens if you look up cheddar on the internets – you might talk to your local cheese shop. Ours here, for example, buys relatively young cheddar in bulk from Vermont (it might even be Grafton, I should ask) and then ages it in its own warehouse.  So we can get 5-10 year old cheddar at less cost than buying a small sliver from a smaller producer.  In my book, the taste is excellent.  And if you do buy the basic cheddar from the grocery store, go for the extra sharp.

So we’re in the backyard, with another family over for dinner.  Their son and our two boys are squabbling over various trucks, balls, etc.  Finally, after much cajoling to play coopeartively, they stumble on some game that they can all play without appeals to parental intervention every two minutes. 

It involves concocting some mixture with water from the hose, sand from the sandbox and who knows what else in a big, blue bucket.

J inquires as to what they’re making – “Is it soup?”

“No, we’re making . . . (more…)

So here I was idly reading blogs after doing paperwork tonight when I said to myself, aack, it’s friday tomorrow, I must do my friday five.  I have been in a major rut of procrastination lately – at home, at work, at blogging.  I keep telling myself – it’s going bite you in the butt! Just do it already! Get off your lazy butt!  As usual, this has only limited success.  Now that I am looking at some serious crunch time in the next few weeks, the panic has set in.  To delay the inevitable, and thus procrastinate until the last possible second, I offer you my favorite procrastination techniques:

1) reading.  for pleasure that is.  I sometimes re-read whole series by favorite authors so I can read one after another (no waiting 2 years for the next installment).  When this happens, depending on the lenghth of the series, two or three weeks can seriously go down the drain as every spare second is spent reading feverishly. I have been known, on arriving at the parking garage for work 5 minutes early, to whip out the latest installment & read until the last possible second.

2) Cleaning and/or organizing.  This serves as procrastination only for other forms of work that involve higher levels of brain power.  When I have a major brief or whatever due, before I sit down, I update my files, or remove all the stacks of paper from my desk and put them in folders and file cabinets.  My apartment in the city was never so clean as before law school exams.  Similarly, if taxes need to be done, gee, look at that closet, I must rearrange it immediately!

3) sleeping.  In summer I often wake before the alarm goes off because our bedroom is very bright.  Energetic thoughts flit through my head: exercise! take care of that inquiry from the thingamajig company!  I do none of these.  Post-kids, my being awake before they are and just lying there in the luxurious dawn sunshine is enough.  On occasion, though, when in the middle of rereading a favorite author, I will get up & read over coffee (one procrastination for another)

4) blogs. need I say more? 

5) The Daily Show.  We don’t watch much tv.  Actually 99% of what we watch is tivo.  Aside from the kids shows, the occasional soccer match (and the occasional guilty pleasure of cleansweep or supernanny (yes, I am a geek)) Daily show is pretty much it.  Oh, and namaste yoga.  I rationalize it by saying: oh, I must watch 5 daily shows in a row, it’s clogging up the tive machine! (we got hooked on tivo years ago when mr. jolt’s former employer got some super deal b/c they were working with the company and we got a machine for some superduper price and lifetime service-woot! only works on one tv though, so of course we got suckered into getting another one when we moved here and had 2! tvs!) Bu tivo is helpful for recording middle of the night soccer matches for mr. jolt and maintaining an endless supply of Kim Possible and Blues Clues.

Just wanted to update y’all that I am now healthy again (yippee!) and say thanks for the well wishes.  It was not strep, nor mono (phew!) but I did have a double ear infection and perhaps some from of flu.   Thank good for antibiotics and nyquil!

Anyway, being out of commission has put me behind at work and at home, so my apologies for no tuesday cheese/non-cheese post this week.  More later!

So I won’t get confirmation until I hit the doctor’s office this afternoon, but I’m 95% certain I have strep.  The second time in about a month or so.  Our sitter has had it three times in that same time frame, which is almost worse because while I can take sick-leave if I’m sick or the kids are sick (so far only LB got it, once), I can’t take sick leave when the sitter is sick.  I have to use vacation days, which I don’t have a lot of because I’ve only been at this job a couple years and they are extremely pitiful about vacation until you have been here a while (but generous about sick leave, thank good).  mr. jolt has covered some of the childcare gaps, but can’t cover it all.

So anyway, to officially open my little pity party, the five worst things about being sick at the moment:

1) I cannot swallow without almost weeping in pain.

2) mr. jolt is out of town at a conference and there is no downtime for sick mommies.  I did pizza & a movie last night so I could veg on the couch while the boys stuffed themselves – I don’t know what I’ll do to get through this evening.

3) I’m worried I will infect either the boys or the sitter (please M, don’t get sick again!!) despite copious handwashing.

4) There is no “stop” button on the world that will allow me to simply sleep for a few days without missing anything or taking care of vital parental or job duties.

5) I’m too tired to think of a fifth item. bleh.  Oh, yeah, my mom is visiting this weekend and the house is a mess.  And no, my mom is not the maternal type who will simply say, “don’t worry, just you rest, dear, until you feel better.”  Rather I will be entertaining her and the boys.

Sorry for the pitiful post.  See ya next week.

Ok. So it’s Wednesday, sorry I’m a day late.

Anyway, today I wanted to extol the joys of welsh rarebit (also known as welsh rabbit, but I don’t use that term because I don’t eat Thumper).

Welsh rarebit, for those unfortunates who have yet to experience it, is basically cheese sauce on toast.  It is a consummate comfort food and takes very little time to make.  My mom used to make this when there was not much in the fridge.  Really, what could be better than cheese sauce on toast – ooey, gooey cheese, with a kick. Yum!

 A recipe for it can be found here.  I like the recipe in the Joy of Cooking (no access to my copy at the moment, sorry, but check yours if you’ve got it) The main ingredients are cheese, milk, and worcestorshire sauce.  The recipe linked to above uses cream, but I’ve had it with milk, you just need to cook it down a little more to thicken it.

Secret confession time: lately when I make it I cheat and use pre-made welsh rarebit sauce.  Stouffers makes it and its in the frozen food aisle.  BB likes it, as do I, although LB does not (if I could just convince him to taste it).  Anyway, it’s quick and if I put it on the table when it’s just me and the boys with some carrots and grapes it makes a pretty quick 5 minute meal that isn’t completely unhealthy.

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