Tuesday, October 22, 2019

... i've moved

And this is not why you haven't been seeing posts. I haven't been writing, either, but maybe the new format will help a girl out. I feel really nostalgic about leaving Blogger, but this little website is not worth the stress of the fight for formatting behind the scenes. Come see me at the new Notes Between Here and There.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

liz and darcy (again)

I finished reading Pride and Prejudice yesterday morning. Re-reading, I should say. I read it maybe - did I read it in high school? I really can’t remember. I only remember that I read it on the Kindle. It could have been six years ago or three. The point is that in the interval, I’ve watched the movie about a dozen times. I also watched the TV series, which is notably closer to the book than the movie - but I still like the movie much better. The TV series (despite Colin Firth, I know) stresses me out, between Mrs. Bennett’s shrill voice, Mr. Collins’ creepy factor, and the idea in my head that Caroline Bingley looks excessively like the child-catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Brr.

Anyway. Not the point. The point of observation being that the book closely observes the transformation of both main characters. Mr. Darcy learns to break from his cold, proud reserve and let his amiability show beyond his family circle, while Elizabeth learns to take first impressions as soft molds rather than set. That is the short version, of course - there is much more to be taken here. My main idea is to take up Elizabeth’s surprise that the match should have made its way out despite everything working against it - that Darcy should have fallen in love with her at all, that she should accept his actions of repair with so much heart and gratitude as makes her fall equally in love with him. A good portion of this is because each is so thoughtful and reflective. If either had more diversions or less awareness of self, the match would not have been so fitting - and may not have occurred whatsoever.

Do I long for their powers of self-awareness? Probably not that alone - but their powers of self-reformation. Of course, they still admit in the end that they have still work to do on each other - Elizabeth is not quick to tease Darcy unnecessarily - and I don’t recall Elizabeth’s remaining fault - I admire her character too much. But what I wish to work on in myself based on their characters. I hope to emulate Elizabeth’s power of thought and the following reformation in reading Darcy’s letter. She reads it through once - and is ruled by her passions. She reads it through again, employing her reason along with her emotion, and is convinced by observation and logic that there must be truth in it, and she begins to be convinced of Darcy’s being in the right. And - even though she is passionate in all the right places, she is also able to retain civility in the appropriate measures. Her balance of cool-headed reason and heated passion are enviable.

Darcy’s move to action in order to prove his love for Elizabeth is certainly admirable; but I am presently wondering what would have caused him to move if Lydia had not been snagged by the perfidious Mr. Wickham, which brought Darcy to the belief of his guilt and necessary intervention. How would it have gone if that misfortune had not hit the Bennetts? It happened in the middle of Elizabeth’s trip with her aunt and uncle, where all were engaged at Pemberley by Darcy’s generous offers of hospitality for dinner and fishing. Already Elizabeth suspected that Darcy still had a regard for her based on those attentions; but at what point did Darcy realize that there was hope for a return of regard - or more to the point, at what point had he decided on bringing Mr. Bingley back to Netherfield for reunification with Jane? I would like to believe it was already in play based on the fact that Darcy wished to conceal his involvement in Lydia’s wedding - that he didn’t count that as a factor in capturing Elizabeth’s attraction.

This only proves that the novel has that tendency which novels do towards convenient happenings which make for a good story. It doesn’t change my admiration of the work - if anything, increasing it because such analysis is involved to break through the magic of story to wondering whether the plot is realistic. And, even with such potential plot ties, the lessons to learn - and more importantly, the magic of elevated feeling with each re-reading and re-watch - make P & P always a delicious treat.

Tell me what you think of P & P. I am sure there are those who dislike it. Is there another Austen you prefer? I enjoyed Sense & Sensibility but didn't care for Emma. Leave a note!

Monday, October 14, 2019

walk

Are we already writing about broken streaks? Perhaps I should clarify, although it won't help my case - I didn't intend to publish anything on Saturday. That doesn't help the crickets that showed up yesterday, does it? OH WELL. Here we are anyway, today, and that is the important bit.

Today my husband and I went on a hike. It was maybe four miles. You know what is great about a walk? When you get to the end of the day, you are able to say that you did something. It doesn't really matter how far or fast you went - if you covered even the walk around the block, you can end your day with something on your done list. Your legs moved. Your body followed. You are living, breathing human being. It is a great feeling.

Bonus points that the weather is amazing for hiking right now. It stayed around or just under 70 degrees the whole while we hiked. We went slowly, and we had the breath and fresh outlooks to have an interesting conversation as we went.

I've heard that it's easier to have hard conversations or talks about controversial topics in the car since there isn't eye contact as one person is driving and (hopefully) has their eyes on the road. I think similar is true for hiking single-track trail. My husband and I plan our lives during our long car rides and walks in the woods.

What is one thing you like to do during the day that makes your day feel more complete - like it was full and productive, but only one thing caused you to feel that way?

Friday, October 11, 2019

angle

I've been really wishing I had an operational rear camera on my phone (it ceased functioning mid-June, of unidentified cause), mostly because Instagram. A photographic record would also be helpful during times of reflection and for taking snapshots of personal milestones and memories. However, having such a setback as this is just the sort of challenge that should lead to strengthening my creative muscles - finding a new angle.

What did we do before we had megapixel cameras in our pockets? We pulled out the real camera for special occasions, but for the rest, we used our noggins and our notebooks. We took memory pictures and we held on real tight. I hope I've been doing a little more of that in the past few months, and less scrolling and cropping and filtering.

On the other end of the spectrum, maybe I should switch to Twitter. O text-based media! I jest. I am never going back to Twitter. We're done talking about Twitter.

Or - I could write, right here. I could not care if anyone reads it. I could write to the internet for the sake of writing to the internet. This long-form writing: essays, blurbs; this purpose and substance, are worth enough in themselves. I heard the quote the other day that we don't need your book - although the book is nice to have - we need the person who wrote the book. We need you, having experienced the process of writing the words, of synthesizing and rehashing and editing your experiences and knowledge, and come out on the other side.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

in my oven this fall

Last month, I visited my sister-in-law and she taught me how to make macarons. Surprise, they are easier than I thought - granted, they are a little finicky and they do require you follow the steps carefully and have patience and all the good things, but they don't take a magician. I came home and made them with a friend, and then tried a new flavor... making them is almost addicting.

Maybe it's because I'm not working with food anymore that baking is such a joy to me lately. Whatever the reason, I want to take advantage of a possible mood and the arrival of fall to make a list of some baking goals - new experiments to try and maybe old recipes to review.

1. Different macaron flavors

So far, I've done vanilla shells with buttercream and chocolate shells with mint-chocolate ganache. The mint-chocolate macarons will most likely never have an equal and I could happily make these every single batch with no complaints. However, in the name of variety and you-never-know-until-you-make-something-better, I would like to try involving: peanut butter, fruits like raspberry or cherry, and Oreo cookies.

2. Challah bread

Last week, I made a loaf of challah, which my husband has taken to making occasionally for our Shabbat family meal. I over-baked my loaf, so it was a little tough, but the flavor was still good. I'd like to make it again and work on getting the temperature and timing just right for the perfect loaf.

3. Finnish Nisu bread

When I took the said challah to work, my manager asked if it was Nisu bread. It looked similar, as both are braided loaves. I had never heard of Nisu bread before, but all she had to say was "cinnamon sugar" and I knew I wanted to try and make it.

4. Pumpkin swirl bread

I've made a similar cinnamon roll bread, but this sounds like the perfect thing for October. I picked up a can of pumpkin from the store anticipating a fall baked good, but haven't put it to use yet! This recipe from Elise Joy should be just the thing.

5. Banana chocolate chip muffins

These banana muffins are an old recipe to me and one of my ultimate comfort foods - one of the first things I learned to bake by myself, a recipe I nearly have memorized, the dirtiest page in the recipe book from the number of enthusiastic baking sessions. I might make them after the clocks fall back in November to add some cozy to the dark evenings.

That's my list for now. It should keep me busy through this season, at least. What are your favorite fall bakes or your go-to homemade sweet?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

start (again, and again)

Starting is hard. (Everybody knows that.)
Starting is hard (for most people).
Starting is hard (but super rewarding once you do).
Starting is hard (and scary)!

What if starting wasn't hard?
What if we believed that starting was so entirely worth the initial discomfort that we jumped in again and again, as often as we could?

Magic.


Until the end of the month, I'm challenging myself to a writing marathon. More accurately, because I've written a little bit of something quite often lately - a publishing marathon. Why not just start? I'll be using several prompts - one-word prompts from hope*writers a few weeks ago (today's: start) and some doodles from my current projects and interests.

Les' go.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

one year

We're just gonna keep going. I might be shipping trash, but I'm shipping it just in case it's worthwhile. It's what a blog is for. Starter quotes from this post. Let's go.


If you had only one significant project to work on this year, what would it be? 

Obtaining a Technical Desk Job (side note: I know I just wrote about just how poorly this went earlier in the year. Bear with me and say nothing about it for the moment. Cheers.)

+ Remaining Employed at a Technical Desk Job and Being as Human as Possible

Bootstrapping 36-week curricula (90 90-minute classes // 180 freakin’ 45 min classes we could learn the world with that): algebra I&II, computer science, engineering.
     → where are the state standards for what each grade is supposed to learn?
     → surprise: here

Getting an education degree (no one said, if you had the funding for your major project. You have one major project. What is it?)

Figuring out how to be a Huntsville Marie Kondo without losing my sweet mind. Is it possible? → Most likely. The more important question: would it be worth my time?


For what it's worth, this also:

If you have a 10-year plan for how to get somewhere, why can't you do it in six months?

Version: If you have a project to do in a year, why can't you do it in six weeks?

Most of the things above could be done in six weeks or less. Drawing up curricula. Getting interviews and a job. The year-long part is to get the value of sticking with it. Could I teach that curriculum? Could I get faithful students for a Marie Kondo method in Huntsville? Could I stick with a job for (more than a day) a whole year?

The education degree would take longer because it's literally asking to play by someone else's rules to open some doors. The more interesting thing after that would be, can I develop a quality education degree that could be completed in six weeks. Would I want to? Not sure. I would have to get the degree to know if the length of completion is important to the value. I would guess not, for everything besides student teaching.