And if I was feeling better the book would be in the alpha readers' hands and out of my hair by now. But I'm not. I took a nap for an hour and a half this afternoon. A nap! Those of you who know me well are probably wishing I'd warned you to sit down before sharing that kind of news. You can tell I'm sick if I actually manage to fall asleep in the middle of the day. My plan for dinner is broth and toast. Oh, the adventure. Oh, the excitement.
This had better go away soon. I have things to do.
porphyrin wants to know:
1. When did you first become interested in baking and cooking? (You're an *amazing* cook & baker, and there's this ongoing discussion between Mike, who maintains I could still learn this if I wanted, and myself, who doesn't want...)
Interested. Now that's an interesting question. Baking was always of interest. And by always, seriously, I mean always. I was making cookies with one parent or another when I was Roo's age and before. Muffins. Breads. I counted up, and I think I've made fudge on my own in at least ten kitchens.
I had no interest in cooking when I was in high school, mostly because I already knew the basic outlines of ideas, and my mom wanted to do the interesting bits herself. (I don't blame her. I want to do the interesting bits myself, too.) Also, she kept telling me, "Oh, it's just chemistry." Finally my dad had to tell her that "cookbook chemistry" is a pejorative.
So it wasn't until the summer I spent in Ohio that I started to get interested in cooking. steve_dash_o and I were part of a group of physics research students staying in one of the dorms, and when we all discovered that it was $7.75 for a cafeteria dinner, we decided to share cooking chores. We had two vegetarians and one dedicated carnivore, so getting everybody fed was definitely interesting. Also I have shared this advice before, but for those of you who are new: if someone gives you a choice between going to the grocery store with thirteen physicists and going to the grocery store with thirteen rhesus monkeys, pick the monkeys. They will not labor under the delusion that they are being helpful.
I smelled like garlic all summer, because when it wasn't my turn to cook, I would usually do the Minnesota Girl thing and come volunteer to help someone else, and we didn't have a garlic press, so invariably garlic needed mincing. So I'd just get one day's worth scrubbed out of my hands, and I'd have to turn around for another.
I love my garlic press.
I'm glad you like my cooking and baking. I really do enjoy them, and I'm fairly eager to feed people, because I enjoy cooking and baking more than I enjoy eating even when I'm not feeling nasty. So really you're doing me a favor when you come over and eat my food.
Some parts of cooking well can be learned and some can't. Some people can't pick apart recipes to see what's in them, nor can they taste sauces and say, "Ah, that needs _______," nor can they just throw stuff together and have it come out all right. I don't know if you, porphyrin, can/could do that or not. I don't think it's your job to learn the rest if you don't want to, though. You already make some things perfectly well, and Mike makes some things perfectly well, and if it isn't relaxing for you and it is for me, come, eat.
2. You like Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants. What are some of your other favorite bands?
I imprinted on Counting Crows when I was That Age. You know, the age where you want music where maybe you're not so sure that the band made it home all right? That Age. Many major events of my life had Counting Crows songs with them. I realize that this will severely date me in less than a decade. I am okay with that. I also love Blues Traveler, partly because I'm the age to have imprinted on them and partly because they do a kickass live show. (So do the Ladies. Also I really love Arlo Guthrie live.)
Sometimes I like Angry Woman Music, ranging from the not-very-angry end with Dar Williams to Tori Amos and Liz Phair and Janis Joplin.
I often say that my dad and I have identical taste in music, because I like his old stuff and he likes my new stuff. This works out rather well. I'm pretty fond of the Men With Guitars school of music, too, and old folkies for various definitions of the term. (David Gray sounds to me and timprov like Ramblin' Jack Elliott transported to the mid-'70s. We're okay with that. We picture Ramblin' Jack sitting around a nursing home somewhere going, "When did I record that? I don't remember recording that....") I'm also a sucker for crazy pianos like Ben Folds did when he was with Ben Folds Five, but I haven't really liked his solo stuff that I've heard.
Also, I bought a Flash Girls CD last weekend and put an Oyster Band CD on my Amazon list because dd_b is a bad, bad influence.
Oh, sorry; again I should sit you down before I give you these startling revelations.
3. When did Minneapolis first become 'your city' in your mind, and what is your first memory of the city?
My first memory of the city? My grands lived here until I was in high school, so it was always on the edge of my consciousness. I remember being curled up sleeping in the backseat with the dog and having my mom wake me when we got to Shakopee because it was the absolute outer boundary of what she could in good conscience consider her city, and she wanted me to know it. She wanted the names to trip from my tongue. She wanted me to know which suburbs had Christmas decorations on the lampposts, where there were good restaurants; she wanted me to know where to look up from my book to get the best view of the skyline coming up 35W. I have often described my parents as being the Minnesotan equivalent of the British people who raised their families in India and made very comfortable homes and lives in India but always wanted the kids to know where they were "really" from. They may say that here, but we don't say it like that. They may eat that here, but we don't make it like that. That's not how we do things at home. They sent me home to the motherland for school. I think one of my mom's happiest moments was when I came back during fall break my freshman year told Edina jokes. (You all know what Edina is an acronym for, right?)
When I was 8, my great-grandmother took me on the roof of her highrise apartment building and showed me her city. It looks different now, and I wouldn't change it back, but I remember how it looked very, very clearly. It was one of our best moments together.
But The Cities weren't mine yet then. It wasn't mine until I went to Gustavus, and there it was on the edge of my consciousness all the time. We came up to the Guthrie for plays, or we'd come up to the Cities just to get decent food and hang out where we didn't know everyone who came in and out of the coffeehouse. When you live in St. Peter, Minneapolis shines. And all of a sudden it was the boy next door for me, the one I'd never noticed until all of a sudden I was old enough.
So I had just really fallen hard for Minneapolis when we needed to go out to California for markgritter's Stanford work. I think I appreciate it more because of that. I don't take it for granted.
4. One of my acquaintances from way back is in the planning stages; they're going to sell almost everything, rent out their house, and go cruising (buy a boat and sail around) for at least 2-3 years. Is this something you and your household would ever, in your wildest dreams, consider doing?
Really, really, no. For one thing, I suspect markgritter gets seasick. For another thing, I have the stuff I have because I like it, so I don't want to sell it all, and I get rather attached to people, most of whom are nowhere near the ocean. I don't want to wander off and come back to find that Roo is a kindergartener and doesn't remember his Missa. Also, I fuss enough about details when I can just run to Cub or Byerly's if I forgot tomatoes, so being off in a boat when we run out of tomatoes really doesn't sound like fun. Also, despite my gregariousness, we are all three introverts of some fashion, and the bigger the boat, the more people you need to run it, so there's just no way to have significant space to oneself. We lived without it before. We're not going back voluntarily.
5. If I gave you some beads, would you be interested in making jewelry with them?
Not really. If you wanted to show me how you do some of the things you do, and it would be fun for you to show me, I would watch and ooh and aah (sincerely, too). But I have necklaces made by you and palinade and stillsostrange and Amber and elisem. I have more necklaces than I ever thought I'd want, and part of the fun of looking for me is discovering things I didn't know I'd want until, poof! there they were. Jewelry does not need to become my responsibility, and I think that's how I'd view it if I was taught to do it for myself.
So mostly I've been reading, when I haven't been napping today. I read Peter O'Donnell's Cobra Trap (and it was awful, and everyone warned me, and I'm still glad I read it, but bleh!) and Ellis Peters's The Rose Rent this morning. I'm in the middle of M. John Harrison's Light, and I cannot be arsed to care the slightest bit about any of these characters. Hating them would take an intensity I just don't have where they're concerned. I also suspect that I am less impressed by the quantum mechanics references than many people are. Still, I persevere.