I Wish I’d Had Home Ec

Although I probably would have skipped it a la Physical Education.

But now that I’m 22-almost-23, struggling with adulting like any millennial worth their salt, and patiently waiting for my copy of ‘Investing in Your 20s and 30s for Dummies’ from the library, I’m wishing high school had done more to prepare me for the simple facts and tasks of everyday life.

I’m not one of those students who begrudges time spent learning about the French Revolution (still some of the most interesting shit ever), Trig-PreCal, or even Socratic circles (although I do question whether spending hours copying definitions from the back of the Trig textbook was really a good use of my time, Mrs.C!)- but some old school advice would have been excellent.

Here’ my wish list for an ideal Home Ec course (required for every student, regardless of gender):

  • Financial management and planning: paying bills, budgeting, saving for big expenditures and retirement, investing in your 20s and 30s as well as later in life (don’t worry, there’s a For Dummies book for that one too).
  • Cooking: I’m a chef par excellence, but in my opinion everyone needs to know a bit more than how to make a sandwich.  It’s especially important in a low-income community (like mine) because cooking and eating at home is so much less expensive than eating out- and buying ingredients in bulk to make dishes from scratch is less expensive (and healthier) than processed foods.
  • Cleaning: Would make college life with roommates, dorm-mates, and those guys across the hall who share your bathroom much easier.
  • Comprehensive European-style sexual education: Beyond the American basics, prudish even in liberal Massachusetts (we are descended from the Puritans, after all), I want discussions on navigating relationships, domestic abuse, masturbation, and sexual compatability (and let’s be honest- there’s an ocean of sexual or sex-adjacent topics that it would be good for teens to know and that they’re not going to get bored learning about).
  • Parenting: Different styles and philosophies, keeping your baby happy and healthy, the basics of childcare so that both parents can partake equally (and so that people can consciously choose how to raise their children rather than falling into the patterns of their parents).
  • Sewing/mending/handiwork: The benefits of knitting should be mysteries to none and everyone should be able to mend their own pocket holes/reattach their own buttons.
  • Basic handy(wo)man stuff
  • Diet and Exercise
  • Navigating the workplace: From writing a decent email to networking to successfully advocating for yourself.
  • And let’s just throw in basic massage technique, because there is nothing a hard-working adult needs more than a massage!

What am I missing?

An aside on physical education in high school, only to excuse/redeem myself: Throughout high school I was working on recovering from anorexia so exercise was pretty touchy.  My activity amount was under review by my doctor and parents, but unchaperoned exercise was off the table.  Instead of giving up the physical exertion that gave me happiness and my life meaning (weekly riding lessons, hours or significantly active volunteer work, and more-than-weekly dance classes), I got a doctor’s note to excuse myself from high school PE. Which also enabled borderline OCD me to get a higher GPA by taking a higher proportion of honors and AP courses.

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An Incomplete List of Dad’s Interests

Disclosure: It is complete coincidence that this is being posted the day after Mother’s Day. No slight is intended against my Mom, who is one of the most wonderful human beings that the world has to offer with one hand tied behind her back.

With that out of the way, lets talk about Dad.

  • Rock climbing and ice climbing
  • Piloting small aircraft
  • Fencing
  • Astronomy
  • Building sundials
  • Canning and preserving
  • Home improvement projects and construction
  • Cultivating bees
  • Gardening
  • Learning languages
  • Sailing
  • Emulating the style of bald men with beards and scarves
  • Biking
  • Indoor rowing
  • Glass blowing
  • Francophilia
  • Conducting experiments on himself
  • Veganism and making the perfect seitan/vegan cheese/whatever from scratch
  • Sourdough culture
  • Growing mushrooms
  • Foraging for mushrooms
  • Math
  • Being a connoisseur of wine
  • The Middle East
  • Travel
  • Telling the best stories
  • Being a liberal/ human rights
  • Being a lapsed Quaker
  • City planning
  • Being one of the nicest and most supportive people around
  • Crying at absolute nonsense

 

All The Magazines

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The full title of this post was going to be ‘All The Magazines I Ever Subscribed To’, and then true to form I got pissed off by the dangling preposition and ‘All The Magazines To Which I Ever Subscribed’ was a bit pretentious.
It’s better to hide how pretentious I am until the actual meat of the post, and keep the title innocuous until all reading visitors are trapped.

I’m going to try to divide this post up into a rough chronology, but the magazines don’t actually fit clear delineations so well, and there was more overlap than I’m going to present in this post.  All in all, the time segments are, in actual fact, much more wiggly.

Elementary:
The only magazine to which I can REMEMBER being subscribed in Elementary school is Ranger Rick.  In case you weren’t blessed with Ranger Rick in childhood and have not run into it in any other way, it’s a wildlife-focused publication for kids ostensibly helmed by a cartoon raccoon.  There are puzzles and stuff.

Early Middle School:
In early middle school I had an odd mix of the following:

  • Seventeen
  • TeenVogue
  • Young Rider
  • Horse Illustrated

I got caught up in the fashion magazine thing after reading a few after sleeping next to them on my cousin Megan’s floor.  The first TeenVogue I had was the one with Chanel Iman, Karlie Kloss, and Ali Michael together on the cover.  It’s kind of bittersweet because since then two of them have become hugely famous top models.  Ali Michael has struggled with anorexia (much as I have).  And I can’t say how much of it was fed by the beauty-and-body-focused publications of Seventeen and TeenVogue.  And it was my first experience with really being exposed to rampant consumerism and the heartache of wanting so much and desiring so many out of reach beautiful things was new to me.  Growing up is weird.  Mixed in with the pain of discovering life as an adult are also the glimpses back at simpler things (Traumarama! Stupid personality quizzes! Horoscopes!).

And then as I got more serious about riding I spent a fair amount of time poring over Young Rider and Horse Illustrated.  I have particularly strong memories of a Horse Illustrated guide to nematodes and how to deworm your horse.  Other standouts: sheath cleaning, recovery from colic, poisonous plants (yew!), and how to say goodbye to your horse when it needs to be put down (I cried reading it).

Late Middle School into High School:

  • Vogue
  • Elle
  • Allure
  • Marie Claire
  • Elle
  • Lucky
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • Practical Horseman
  • Dressage Today

From Middle School to High School I guess I just took a step up all around to more serious publications, both with regards to sartorial whatevers (I don’t think I was ever subscribed to ALL of these at once) and horsemanship.

High School Addition:

This Old House I added in High School. I loved TOH and would still love it if it hadn’t changed hands and altered in many ways afterward.

Links 4/29

It’s been in some ways an absolutely awful day but I’m still pretty content.  To explain the first part of that, I was fueled by food poisoning sometime around 2 am last night and my stomach is still feeling pretty tender.  On top of that, I wasn’t able to find the perfect plantings for my garden urns.  I’m thinking maybe nasturtiums.
To explain the latter part, it’s the birthday of one of my best friends and I got to see her for the first time in what feels like forever.  And in spite of my relative nausea, hanging out and catching up was lovely.

I’m enjoying Middlemarch, A Quiet Place was fantastic, and seeing the Art in Bloom exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts yesterday was beautiful and completely brought out my inner elderly white lady.  But what can I say, I love flower shows and I won’t deny it.

I have a scarcity of links this week, and you can decide if that’s good or bad!

Truly, that’s all I have. It’s pretty shameful.

BUT

The yoga retreat has been picked!
*drumroll*
RADIANCE SUTRAS FLOW
Man am I ready for some ecstatic dance

I mean, not right now, because I have food poisoning, but in general.

It’s Links Friday But There’s A Disney Bracket

And you know how I feel about Disney.
Which is to say, everything else takes a backseat and your not so regularly scheduled programming will return at a later date (maybe tomorrow?)

So here’s the bracket:

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It’s tearing both the internet and my soul apart, so I thought I would share it because misery loves company.
Let’s get down to brass tacks.

Round One Disney:

  • Lion King v Tarzan: I love both of these but only saw Tarzan for the first time a few years ago, while I grew up with Lion King. And everything about Lion King is ‘modern classic’.
  • The Princess and the Frog v Lilo and Stitch: Both movies I’ve seen only once, both I like quite a bit.  I’m going to go with Lilo and Stitch this time.
  • Tangled v Big Hero 6: I honestly don’t really like Tangled.
  • Frozen v Moana: Moana wins handily.
  • Aladdin v Hercules: I love Hercules but didn’t watch it much as a child (I don’t think we had it on VHS), while Aladdin is one of my all time favorites.
  • The Little Mermaid v Pocahontas: I keep coming back t this one and keep surprising myself by picking Pocahontas. Guess I just can’t get over Colors of the Wind.
  • Mulan v Zootopia: Agh, hard. The wonderfulness of Zootopia just can’t compete with something I sang along with in preschool and danced to at my first ballroom performance.
  • Beauty and the Beast v Nightmare Before Christmas: Maybe not the way everyone would go but I’m not hugely fond of Beauty and the Beast, save Lumiere, Philippe, and Angela Lansbury.

Pixar Round One:

  • Up v Brave: Kind of indifferent, honestly. Up has that one beautiful montage that puts it over the excellent animation of horses throughout Brave. I have my own priorities.
  • Toy Story v Toy Story 2: Toy Story 2 was always too dark for me as a child and the one time I revisited it I was nonplussed.
  • Coco v Cars 2: I’ve never seen Cars 2 and I don’t plan to.
  • Toy Story 3 v The Good Dinosaur: Duh.
  • Ratatouille v Bug’s Life: Why am I doing this to myself? Bug’s Life. The first film I ever saw in theaters. Sorry Ratatouille!
  • Finding Nemo v Inside Out: Honestly either of these will probably lose to whatever it goes up against in the next round. Both disqualified! More memories with memo but I like Inside Out better as a film.
  • Monsters Inc v Cars: Put that thing back where it came from or so help me!
  • The Incredibles v WallE: The Incredibles is a masterpiece, Edna Mode is an icon and I am so hyped for the sequel.

Round Two Disney:

  • Lion King v Lilo and Stitch:
  • Big Hero 6 v Moana:
  • Aladdin v Pocahontas:
  • Mulan v Nightmare Before Christmas: All easy choices this time through. It’s the calm before the storm.

Round Two Pixar:

  • Up v Toy Story:
  • Coco v Toy Story 3: That hurt a little.
  • Bug’s Life v N/A: That didn’t.
  • Monsters Inc v The Incredibles: This fight went the other way when i did it yesterday.

Round Three Disney:

  • Lion King v Moana:
  • Aladdin v Mulan: Sobbing.

Round Three Pixar:

  • Toy Story v Toy Story 3:
  • Bug’s Life v Monster’s Inc: To whoever created this sadistic bracket: Who hurt you?

Round Four Disney:

  • Lion King v Aladdin: UPSET (in many senses of the word)

Round Four Pixar:

  • Toy Story 3 v Bug’s Life:

THE FINAL:

  • Aladdin v Bug’s Life: ARABIAN NIIIIIIGHTS

Just glad they didn’t put in Peter Pan or Lady and the Tramp because then I might have jumped from the window.

My Weekend and Potential Future Blog Plans

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The most significant piece of news is that there is currently no heat in my house.  Let’s just say it’s not the most ideal of circumstances.
However, with the help of twice as many blankets, two sweaters, and a hot water bottle I spent an adequately comfortable night.  My landlords predict that they will have someone in to fix the heat on Friday morning. Or maybe it was Monday- I may have misunderstood the French.  Suffice it to say, I’m hoping for Monday.

The second most significant piece of news is that it’s 26 days until my flight back to Boston- WOOOO!

And how am I spending the interim, besides being unreasonably cold?

Yesterday:

  • I revisited the Petit Palais for the new exhibition, Les Hollandais a Paris.  It was absolutely gorgeous, well set-up, and interesting. Highly recommend if you’re in Paris.  My only regret is not having waited to see the pastel exhibition until now so I could have gotten the joint ticket and saved a few euros.
    The exhibit is a collection of the work of Dutch artists who have studied and worked in Paris, showcased along with the work of their friends and contemporaries.  It’s arranged chronologically and really demonstrates how artists inspire one another, fads for different subject matter come and go, and styles change over time.  Covering the period from 1789 (French Revolution) to 1914 (WWI), you get to see the procession from very detailed and lifelike floral still lives to realistic landscapes to impressionism to gritty realism to fauvism to cubism and cubist-inspired pieces.  Unfortunately pictures weren’t allowed but I wrote down the names of my favorite works for future reference.
  • Post Petit Palais I went to lunch at Happiz, a completely vegetarian pizza restaurant (with vegan options, including vegan cheese) located in Les Sablons.  I did a build-your-own-pizza thing (the large was 12 euros, a steal for everything I’ve ever wanted in a vegan pizza- vegan mozzarella, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and vegan chorizo). They also offer gluten free pizzas.  It was an absolute mess (my pizza did try valiantly to stand up to the heaps of toppings I ordered, but did cave under the pressure a few times) but the restaurant (a pretty small place) was quiet when I got there around 2 pm, very casual and very welcoming and personal.
    I’m pondering the right way to post about my favorite restaurants (vegan of course) in Paris, and whether it’s better to do a big lump post (which would probably be overwhelming for both you and me) or to divide it into manageable ‘types of cuisines’ bite -sized chunks (pardon the pun)- like best lunch sandwich places, best pizza places, etc.  And how to handle the places I haven’t gone yet?
  • After pizza, I rounded out my day with yet another activity beginning with the letter P- protest (the theme was unintentional, I assure you).  I visited the March for Our Lives protest, Paris edition, in the Place du Trocadero, just across the river from the Tour Eiffel.  Lots of Americans and lots of French who feel strongly about kids being shot up at institutions of learning. Can’t understand it.
    It was a great way to feel connected to America.  I’ve followed politics fairly closely but it’s hard not to feel pretty impotent from here.
  • My second to last stop was Citypharma, maybe the most famous (and most crowded) pharmacy in Paris. They have pretty much everything (but were unfortunately out of the Sensibiafine baume visage that I was looking for).  I’ll just have to stop back another weekend.
  • Lastly, I swung by another eatery called Brasserie 2eme Art to check out their menu, which isn’t available online.  It’s a bit expensive for me (pretty much everything is still under 20 euros, but a fair amount is over 13, which is my arbitrary cut off).  Still, it looks like there could be some more great vegan pizza there- so maybe that will be in my pizza round up.  Except lord knows I’m more interested in getting the banana split. 😉

Today, Sunday, is a grocery shopping and cooking day, and I also need to do some studying as we have two exams this week. Unfortunately that’s very difficult when your hands are freezing.  Whatever- it’s all bout doing your best, isn’t it?

In terms of future blog plans- not now, but over the summer, I’m considering doing themed weeks to organize my thoughts more around what content I want to be posting.  possible topics include nostalgia, food, films, reading material, perfume, etc.

My Preteen Bedroom

Having shared a story recently about the hallmarks of ’90s and ’00s preteen bedrooms, I’ve been feeling a touch of nostalgia for my own (which I’ve since remade into the lovely and peaceful place it is today.)

In list form, the defining characteristics of my room, circa 2000-2008.

  • The most noticeable thing about my ‘old’ room, and the one that feels the most personally relevant to me today, was the wall paint.  My room was light blue, lighter toward the floor and slightly darker toward the ceiling, with lifelike clouds that may Dad and I (but mostly my Dad) painted.  I’m pretty sure that this was his idea, but I loved it very much and hope I didn’t break his heart too much when I suggested repainting my room around the time I was going to start high school.
    Home improvement projects with my dad are some of my happiest memories, and just as I remember painting our kitchen cabinets with him 4 or 5 years ago, so I remember painting the clouds long before that.  In my worn out Tweety Bird slide on sandals, putting a touch of gray paint toward the bottom to give that three dimensional feeling.
    Bonus: When I first moved into my ‘grown up’ room from my ‘baby room’ (which is now Mom’s ‘sewing room’), My Dad painted stars on the ceiling with glow in the dark paint.  They’re only visible at night and look like the night sky during the summer, the season in which I was born.  My clouds may be gone but the constellations have hardly dimmed.  It’s something I want to do, if and when I have a child.  So that means maybe we have at least one more father-daughter project. And I hope many more than that.
  • The inescapable bead curtains.  I credit my bead curtains with being my original instructor in the color spectrum.  The strands were each different colors of the rainbow with small beads and larger beads in the shape of stars, suns, and crescent moons.  The order of the colors- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, light blue, and purple.  I would sing them to myself ad can still list them in my head to the same tune- one that I unfortunately have no idea how to transmit via blog post.  And of course it’s only a short step from that to ROYGBIV, which we all know is of the utmost practical importance so far as preparation for life as an adult.
    Of course, the only problem is that sometimes the bead curtains fall down, especially if it’s in the doorway and a stampede of preteen girls are running through it during a birthday party, playing veterinarian (when time really is of the essence because those stuffed animals have to be SAVED, DAMN IT).
  • Speaking of stuffed animals, I had a couch full of them.  It was an old couch that we eventually replaced, and when we did replace it, it came up to my room and was covered with a white throw blanket sort of thing.  I had a completely obscene number of stuffed animals- a number that kind of shames me when I think back on it now.  But I would love to spend time arranging them on that couch, frequently in a giant pyramid, with attention paid to relative size, comfort, and which stuffed animal friends would make the most serendipitous neighbors.
  • Last but not least, I had a white gauze canopy over my bed (#IKEA) with a sensuously curved paper lantern (also #IKEA) hanging from the center. Also a bolster pillow which I believe was upholstered in a blue and black zebra fur cover.  I still have it but the cover is now white.

Honorable mentions: lava lamps, embroidered table runners on dressers, the tiny castle with battery powered fountain, the super annoying flower shaped electric doorbell, horse figurines all over the floor always, my framed Vincent Van Gogh sunflowers print, and one of those things where your name has been colorfully painted by a nice man in the street- I never see those anymore.