amyscoop.com

OCTOBER 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
As I'm packing to go away for the third weekend in a row, I'm thinking a weekend at home would be nice. I should mention that I'm only going out of town tomorrow night, and that I'll be back late on Friday, but still: I just want to sleep late in my own bed.

I also want to not feel like I'm spending all week playing catch-up, which is kind of how I felt this week. Last weekend was spent in Overland Park, Kansas attending the wedding of a 70-year-old man and a woman in her late 60s who met on the internet. Oh, and it's his first marriage. So it was an extraordinary event. We did manage to head into Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday morning and visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which was amazing. We got through all of the new building and most of the outdoor sculpture garden before we realized that there was another whole huge old building to look through, and that we had less than 30 minutes to do it. So we pretty much tore through a good chunk of the museum, and it reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon's European Vacation where they have about 15 minutes in the Lourve, so they just run through and barely see anything. It was like that.

Tomorrow: heading up to Interlochen for some work-related deal.

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Going to sleep. Leaving for Kansas in the morning. Yeah, Kansas!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
A friendly note to people who work in food service, from your pal Amy: Let me start by saying that I like you. I like food, and you help me to obtain food, so unless you're a complete jerk, I like you. But why would you be a complete jerk? I can't imagine why you'd be a jerk when you make people happy with food. Can you? No? Exactly.

Anyway, I am writing you this note because lately, I have noticed that many of you don't know what rye bread is. Oh, sure, you think you know what rye bread is. But you don't. Here's the problem: let's say you work in a sandwich shop, or a breakfast place, or where ever. And I order a sandwich, or eggs, or something that requires me to choose a type of bread for my order. I ask what kind of bread I can have, and you usually say white, wheat, or rye. Sometimes you say sourdough, and sometimes you say some other fancy kinds of bread. Sometimes you even say challah, though usually if you say that, you're in New York, and you know what rye is, and we don't need to be having this discussion. But if you're not in New York, you say white, wheat, or rye. I usally pick rye, especially if it's toast to go with eggs, because one of my most favorite things to have for breakfast is eggs over easy with rye toast. So yes: rye.

But here's what usually happens: I ask for rye, and you give me pumpernickel. Why? Because you think rye and pumpernickel are the same, when in fact, they are absolutely not the same. Yes, they have similarities. Let me tell you about them. Rye is made with rye flour and is kind of tangy and dense. Hopefully it has a good crust. And, if it's made right, it has caraway seeds. Some people don't like their rye bread with caraway seeds. These people prefer seedless rye and are not to be trusted, because everyone knows that rye bread without caraway seeds tastes like bad sourdough. Pumpernickel, on the other hand, is made with some rye flour, and it might have a similar consistency and similar crust as regular rye bread, but that's about where the similarities end. Pumpernickel has a variety of other flavorings in it to give it its unique flavor. These flavorings include coffee, molasses, and chocolate. (Yes, chocolate!) Pumpernickel is delicious, so please don't think I'm bitching about how gross pumpernickel is. I like pumpernickel and have fond memories of getting loaves of it from the bakery with my grandma, who called it "pump." Pump! Isn't that cute? I like pump. But it's not rye. Sometimes you can get marble rye, which is a swirly bread of rye and pumpernickel and was made famous in an episode of "Seinfeld" in which Jerry steals a loaf of marble rye from an old lady. That's good too. But it's not rye. When you say rye, I think rye, and not these other kinds of bread, and I want rye, and not these other kinds of bread, but usually what I get is one of these other kinds of bread. And so this is why we are going over what rye bread is and what rye bread is not.

Listen: you do a good job, but I think you really need to get this right. If you don't have rye bread, that's okay. I won't get mad. I just don't always like pumpernickel on my sandwich, and I especially don't want it toasted with eggs. If you only have white, wheat, or pumpernickel, just say so and I'll go with the wheat. But please: don't call your bread rye if it's not really rye.

Thank you. I hope this has been useful for you. If it's not too much trouble, I'd like the cole slaw on my sandwich instead of next to it, and please make those hash browns extra crispy. That's how I like them.

Monday, October 22, 2007
Trying to catch up after a weekend away in Mackinac Island. All in all, it was a great time and we had great weather, and I'll write more in a day or two, but I will say that a perfectly nice autumn weekend can be perfectly not nice at times when drunk people who can't hold their liquor or control their voices when the bars close at two in the morning are right outside your window screaming "Woooooooo!" and "I am so wasted!" when you're trying to get some sleep. Seriously. Fucking control yourselves.

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Despite the warm-ish weather, it's fall again, and around here that means the apple harvest is in. The supermarkets and farmers market are full of locally grown apples, and like all local produce, they're extra fresh and extra good. And again this year, there is a large crop of honeycrisp apples. You may remember from last year that honeycrisps were all the rage in Michigan. (I wrote about it in this space, in case you're not from Michigan and don't make a habit of reading Michigan newspapers.) Stores couldn't keep them in stock, and one local orcharder (orchard person?) referred to honeycrips as the Louis Vuitton of apples. Seemed a bit extreme, but then I tried one, and I have to admit, they really are a perfect apple: the right mix of sweet and tart, juicy without being horribly messy, and very hard and crisp. Really, if there's one thing I hate in life, it's a mealy apple. Wait, no. Prejudice. I hate prejudice first. Then mealy apples.

Anyway, honeycrisps are back this year, and apparently store owners and farm stand folks have not forgotten last year's honeycrisp mania, because they are charging exorbitant prices for these goddamn apples. At the local giant-super-mega-mart, most varieties of apples are usually 99 cents a pound these days. Sometimes, you can get half a peck of local varieties of your choosing, mixed or unmixed, for $2.49. (I don't know how much a peck is or how much it weighs, but it's a fairly good size, and you can usually drop 12 to 16 apples in the bag.) But oh, you want honeycrisp apples? That'll be $2.99 a pound. Can you believe it? $2.99 a pound! That's more than they charge for those delicious wine-y Asian pears. $2.99 a pound. For apples grown right here in town. And not all of the apples, of course. Just the honeycrisp apples. And of course, those are the ones I want, and I eat one a day, and Paul usually wants a few during the week, so for the past few weeks, I've been going to the store and spending eight bucks on apples. Yeah, you read that right. Eight bucks. Eight bucks on apples. You'd think they were importing them from Jupiter or something. Honestly, I'd buy the Asian pears instead, but they never have more than four of those in stock, because who the hell buys Asian pears when they can buy perfectly good apples grown right here in town? Not to mention the patriotic factor: to some people around here, buying Asian fruit instead of American fruit is a little like passing on a Ford and buying a Toyota. Seriously.

I can also tell you that while I understand the basic principles of economics, especially that whole supply and demand bit, I have never been very good at working the practices myself. I understand that if I and a lot of other people stopped buying these apples at $2.99 a pound and drove down the demand, the supply would be up and the price would drop. I understand that I should be walking right past these fancypants honeycrisp apples and getting myself a nice peck of jonagolds. Yeah, I understand, but jonagolds can be mealy, and as I said, if there's one thing (or something) that I really hate in this world, it's a mealy apple. So principles are nice, but in the end, I really just want the damn honeycrisps. I guess it could be worse. I could be buying Kobe beef or toro tuna every week and really blowing my paycheck. I guess eight bucks for apples isn't awful in the grand scheme of things. But it bothers me.

If you can find honeycrisp apples where you live, and they are not super expensive, I would highly recommend getting some, enjoying them, and then not telling a single person in town about it. If everyone in your neighborhood finds out about them, you'll be spending eight bucks a week too.

Monday, October 15, 2007
Why is it so hard to find a pair of pants that fit?

Sunday, October 14, 2007
One of the things I have to do for my how-to-be-a-teacher classes is come up with a lesson plan that I'll have to teach next semester. Since I'm on the schedule to teach F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, I figured I'd re-read the book just to refresh my memory on the characters and plot points. I got through most of it yesterday and finished it up this morning, since it's a fairly quick read, but after I was about two chapters in, I started to realize that I don't think I had ever read it before. Yeah, really. I don't know how I got two English degrees without having read The Great Gatsby at some point, but I think I managed to do just that. I know I was supposed to read it for at least a few classes, so I must have blown it off every time and faked my way through all of the related class discussions. And I know I've read at least one novel by Fitzgerald -- something about a preppy prep-school prep named Avery or something preppy like that -- but there were some really nice passages in Gatsby that I know I would have remembered, had I actually read them before. But I didn't. I really think I just never read the book. And it wasn't like anything in the book was a surprise to me, either. I knew the story, and I think I even wrote about it on my master's exam. Apparently, I was just spitting out one of my study parter's analysis instead of actually knowing what the hell I was talking about, but it seemed to work.

Anyway, so I got through Gatsby for the first time. You know, it's pretty good.

Thursday, October 11, 2007
The day before our wedding, I went to a local spa to have a manicure and pedicure. I had had only one maniure before in my entire life, and it was when I was ten. My grandma, in an effort to get me to stop biting my nails, took me to the mall and had some lady with big peroxide-y hair soak my fingers, file my nails, and paint them pale pink. I think I freaked out when she tried to push my cuticles back, because I remember my grandma telling her to stop. And in case you're wondering, no, it did not stop me from biting my nails. Within a few days, I had flicked the pink polish off and went right back to chewing on my fingers. It's a habit I still struggle with, though I am happy to report that I've gotten much better in the past few years about not biting them. I do pick at them, though, so I've never been much inclined to go for a nail appointment.

But then a few weeks before the wedding, my mom said that I should go get my nails done. And not just my fingernails, but my toes as well. (I actually paint my toes frequently in the summer; I like to wear sandals and flip-flops, so the toe polish looks kind of nice. I had never had an actual pedicure, though.) My mom even gave me money to do it, and she gave me a rather large amount, which suggested to me that I should not go to one of the handful of drop-in nail salons in town, but to a nice place where they offer you a cup of herbal tea and a lavendar-scented neck warmer while they work on your claws. So I did. I had my feet soaked and rubbed and French-tipped and everything. And they looked good. My cousin later told me that whenever she and her husband are away on vacation at a beach-y kind of place, she can always tell who the honeymooners are because the women have French pedicures. Funny, yeah? Anyway, then I had my hands soaked and rubbed and French-tipped and everything. And this time, I didn't freak out when she pushed back my cuticles, but it was at that point that I remembered freaking out about it when I was ten.

So then later that day and the next day, I saw my family and friends and everyone commented on how nice my fingers and toes looked. And they really did. And then I thought about how nice it was getting my feet rubbed and having a lavendar-scented neck warmer and getting my hands rubbed, and I thought, you know, I could maybe do this again. And, you may be pleased to know, I really haven't picked at my fingers in the past two weeks. But the polish is really starting to come off, and it's maybe starting to bother me. So, I can't believe I'm about to do this, but I am going to go take off the old polish and maybe put some more on. Just clear. Nothing fancy or anything. And I need to cut them down, or maybe file them down, because they're way too long for me. But they actually look kind of good. And my toes still look good also, so I'll leave that polish on for a while.

I don't know when I'll go back for another manicure and pedicure, but I'm trying to think up excuses to go. We haven't had a honeymoon yet and won't until December, but we'll be in Puerto Rico, and I am thinking that I'll have to get another French pedicure before we go. How else will people know we're on our honeymoon?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007
They work, I drink. Things are slowly getting back to normal. Sure, I have a ton of homework and reading to do, and it's been 90 degrees and it's October, but other than that, normal. In addition to catching up on school work and finally feeling for the first time all semester like my head is above water, I have been going through our photographer's shots of our wedding. All of them. There are over 2000, and they're all digital, and I have to remind myself to blink so my contacts don't dry up and fall out, but it's been fun. This is one of my favorite shots. These ladies are not checking out what's under my skirt, in case you were wondering. They are bustling my dress, or hooking the train up underneath so the whole thing falls at the tops of my feet and I don't have a big piece of fabric trailing behind me all night. When I started looking for a dress, I didn't even know you could do something like that. But then again, I didn't really read any bride magazines or anything like that, and it's my impression that this kind of thing is not common knowledge, so it was a pleasant surprise that the whole thing could just be tacked up. But as you might imagine, busting a dress is is not a job that the wearer of the dress can do. She has to rely on the kindness and skill of others. So, I took this time to enjoy a cocktail, while my mom's friend Leslie on the left and my matron of honor Amy on the right hold the skirt up as my mom's other friend Candy is doing the actual bustling. You can't see Candy because she's actually under the skirt, but trust me, she's there. Also trust me that while this all may sound a little kinky, it in fact was not. Not at all. And then for the rest of the night, no one stepped on my dress and I did not trip.

And continuing on the subject of things they don't tell you about getting married and wearing a wedding dress, no one ever talks about the challenge of using the ladies room while wearing such a get-up. (See, I was drinking, so it was inevitable that sooner or later, all that liquid had to come out.) Again, I did not read any bride magazines, so the topic may be addressed in those, but my impression about those magazines is that they're all about how things look to your guests. Your guests don't see you trying to pee while wearing this enormous outfit, and let me tell you, it's a good thing, because it was quite a project. My mom had to hold the whole thing over my head, and I couldn't see, and without offering up too much information, let's just say everything worked out, but it wasn't easy. Though now that I think of it, this scenario would make for a good comedy sketch, and I am surprised that I have never seen one dealing with it. Maybe soon. Anyway, if you are getting married soon and do plan on wearing the big wedding dress, it's something else to consider. Designate a bathroom buddy in advance, or maybe even two.

Sunday, October 7, 2007
Suddenly I have all this time. It's actually very nice.

Thursday, October 4, 2007
So everyone keeps asking me how married life is. I have to say, so far, it's a lot like engaged life, but I have another piece of jewelry and we have some really awesome presents. Oh, and I don't have wedding plans to think about. So actually, it's kind of nice, and so far, I am very happy with the institution.

Of all the solicited and unsolicited advice we got on wedding things, and we got a lot, one thing I was definitely not told was that a wedding dress can be heavy! I tried to get shoes I was comfortable in, and I was successful. I tried to get my hair and make-up done so I'd still look like me, and I was successful there too. I tried to get a dress with a style that suited my personality, if that makes any sense, and I did that right as well. I wanted to look good and be comfortable, but I never thought about the weight of the dress! I guess I should have known, because I did carry it on the hanger a bit, and it was sort of heavy, but who thinks about that? Nobody tells you that wearing 15-20 pounds of fabric for six or seven hours is hard on your knees, but let me tell you: it is. Ladies, keep it in mind. You might want to do a few extra squat thrusts or something to prepare for it.

Oh, another thing they don't tell you, though I was not surprised to learn it: it will take you around 45 minutes at the Social Security office before you can talk to anyone to help you get your name changed. And for a variety of reasons, the Social Security office is a very depressing place. Tomorrow I get to go to the Secretary of State's office to get my new license. My experience is that the S.O.S. office is a somewhat less depressing place, but let's just say it won't be the highlight of my day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Somebody got married. It's true: on Saturday, September 29, at around 6:30 in the evening, we were officially married. I know what you're thinking: it's about time! I fully agree! But anyway, the weather was perfect, the ceremony was outside, and the party was the best party ever. Here's Paul and me a few minutes after our ceremony, in the middle of family portrait madness, in a shot taken by my parents' friend Candy. (Candy, it should be noted, is also exceptionally crafty and good with putting things together, and was therefore trusted with bustling my dress. It's not an easy job, but she came through like a champ!)

We had about 150 people, give or take, and I know I am probably biased, but we just had an awesome night. We had the whole thing at The Henry Ford, right in the museum. For the ceremony, we were able to be outside thanks to the calm air and 70-ish temperatures. We had it in one of the courtyards in the museum under an enormous tree. After Paul stomped on a glass and the whole thing was offical (and people clapped for what seemed like a really long time), we had a cocktail hour in the L-shaped hallway with lots of appetizers and lots of booze! Then, we had dinner and dancing in the museum's atrium, which was so much cooler than we ever imagined. There was a giant, actual DC-3 over the dance floor, and there were cars flanking the dining area, and we had a great band, and the food was so yummy, and everyone looked so nice all dressed up, and it was just a blast. It's really too bad that you can't have big blow-out parties all the time, because it was probably one of the most fun nights of my life.

So yeah: now we're married. We don't get to take a full-fledged honeymoon just yet, since I don't get to choose when I take time off, but we will go somewhere warm and tropical over winter break for sure. Because we already owned a house together (and have for over two years), being married doesn't feel all that different, except that we got some really nice gifts and we get to talk about Paul getting used to wearing a ring. Oh, and I get to go around and change my name on everything, which isn' too bad. Mostly, we're just really tired, probably from an enormous adrenaline hangover. But it was great. And we're married. Kind of weird, but you know, not really. It is about time.


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