Monday, October 25, 2010

In bed, reflecting

I have decided (and we will see how long this actually lasts) that I need to start writing for me again. Since I started school again this fall, I am writing writing writing all for someone else, without keeping track of what this whole process feels like. This is a major change in my life right now, and while I love the way it is making my brain work, and the things I am learning only confirm suspicions that I have had all along about the way things work, there are days when I question what the hell I am doing. The impracticality of what I have undertaken sometimes overwhelms me to the point that I can't breathe from the weight of it. And then the wave washes away, and the panic is gone, and I'm ok with the world again.

Today was not one of those panic days. Today was one of the I love what I am doing days. So where's Michi today? In bed, reflecting on how right this all feels.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Manging Insanity

I usually don't have a problem with saying "no" to things. I'm actually, quite good at it. However, when it came time to choose between several part-time jobs, the word suddenly evacuated itself from my vocabulary and I found myself oddly over-employed. I had not one, not two, not even three, but 4 (yeah, insane) FOUR jobs. I somehow managed to schedule myself 12 hour days on Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 hour days on Tuesdays, and Fridays, and somewhere in all of that, I was supposed to do 11 preps for classes PLUS the grading. I stopped sleeping. Or if I slept, I dreamt about lesson plans and I started waking up in the mornings with sore jaw muscles from grinding my teeth. A little stressed out. So today, I quit one of the four - the night job, the one that actually gives me the most pleasure, but is totally unnecessary. As much as I love those students, I wasn't able to give them the attention they deserved, and my students in my full-time job were suffering from lack of planning and feedback on my part. As soon as I sent the email....instant relief. *aaahhhhh* I hope tonight I will dream of something other than how to explain the present perfect progressive.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My own Julie/Julia moment

Tonight I made Poulet Poele a l'Estragon with farce duxelles (casserole-roasted chicken with tarragon, with mushroom stuffing) out of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I cook a lot, and I generally consider myself a pretty decent cook, but this recipe... seriously, was out of this world.

The preparation was lengthy and definitely wasn't without it's trials. The mushroom stuffing recipe called for the chicken gizzard to be peeled and minced. Wha?? I had no idea which of the four pieces of offal that came in a little paper bag stuffed up my chicken's butt was the gizzard. I Googled "What does a chicken gizzard look like?"(as you do when hoping against hope for a little miracle, and perhaps a photo...) and guess what popped up? The Julie/Julia Project blog. Seems Julie had had exactly the same problem I did. With her brilliant help, I was able to quickly identify, peel... sort of... and mince my gizzard. Crisis averted. Thank you, Julie!

After an hour and 15 minutes in the oven, that chicken was damn near perfect. The skin was crispy, buttery, and golden brown. The meat was tender and juicy and perfectly seasoned. The mushroom stuffing was earthy and creamy. The sauce had just enough port and tarragon to make it a little bit sweet. Heavenly.

Next up, boeuf bourguignon!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Year, New Life

It's been nearly a year to the day since I have posted anything here, and it's incredibly difficult to figure out where to begin. So much has happened, so much has changed. Too much to try to cram into one little post, but I'm sure my story will come out a little at a time as I settle back into a routine.

This is a year for new beginnings for me. I have relocated back to the US - Austin, Texas to be precise. I have started three new jobs (yikes). And, AND, I have applied to a PhD program. All in the last three months. So much for taking it easy for a while.

I am taking sewing classes, and training for a 10K. I'm also determined to do yoga at least twice a week. One of the reasons that I love this town is that it's so granola. There's a great coffee house down the street from me that has free yoga classes if you purchase a drink. Nothing's better after a good class than a nice cup of hot tea, so it's a no brainer. Love it, love it, love it!

I am attempting, along with a few friends, to knit 10 pair of mittens in 2010 and blog about it. The challenging part will be the blogging about it. I have not been terribly successful in the past year in the blogging department, although most of that was not my fault, thanks to the Great Firewall of China. It's all about getting into the habit again, I think. Retraining the fingers, the brain, to spit all out into cyberspace for whomever. Speaking of...

Since I last wrote I have changed servers on this blog and many things may not have switched over. I am hoping (probably in futility) that I haven't lost all the subscribers to this. Otherwise, I'm writing for no one. but me. Which I guess, isn't so bad.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Welcome, Jackson!

I'm an auntie again! Jackson was born at home early yesterday morning. Congrats to the proud parents! His uncle narrowly escaped having to share his birthday (happy birthday, bro). Here's a photo of the little bugger... so sweet.

From Blogger Pictures

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A year ago today

Kili 263
Originally uploaded by mgaston123.

A year ago today I woke up to snow in Shanghai.
A year ago today started like any other day.
A year ago today I went to a meeting about collaborating with a university.
A year ago today I learned about loss while sitting at a conference table in a room full of strangers.
A year ago today I cried in solitude with my friends around the world.

I've thought a lot about life, love, friendship and loss in the year that has followed. I've thanked someone/something/the powers that be a thousand times over for the friends, the family, the amazing people I have, and have had, in my life.

Today, I am again crying in solitude with my friends around the world.
Today, I miss you, Thor.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For the man who has everything...

This is by far the most disturbing thing I have seen in a very, very long time - Burger King's new body spray, Flame... mmmm

Keep clicking on the "spray" button.. it just gets more frightening. Mmm... spray it! hahaha

Very clever little hoax... it is a hoax, right?