The Tempest

I am currently sitting on the third floor of the library.  I am smug because I managed to snag one of the comfy chairs.  I am full because I just polished off my lunch of orange and homemade chicken soup.  I am focused because I’m reading for Feminist Theory.  I am tired because I chose the Downton Abbey finale over sleep last night.  I am slightly uncomfortable because there is a woman I’ve never seen in my life taking pictures of me from a few shelves down.

This is awkward.  She just moved around to my left and is taking some more.

Okay, it’s all right: she finally introduced herself.  She’s part of the University Relations team, taking photographs for the UMM website.

Welcome to my life, friends.  And you thought Kim Kardashian has paparazzi problems?

In other news, Morris is under yet another blizzard warning.  Not knowing this, I walked to school this morning (not that there were other options had I known) through 33 mph winds. That was fun.

What was fun was that at one point in the walk, I passed my friend Andy.  Not bothering to peel the scarf from his face, he shouted through it a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!”

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Will You Be My Valentine?

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  I’ve noticed that when it comes to this particular holiday, there are lovers and there are haters.  I am a lover.  I love the chocolate, I love the cards, I love the flowers, I love the red and pink.  I love the air of excitement: you never know who you’re going to get a Valentine from.  It’s the day of the year, in my opinion, when those who are too cowardly at all other times to profess their love can do so without shame.  (And anonymous notes count).

Believe me, I’ve done the anonymous notes.  That was fun.  But this year, as I have a gentleman caller, I got to be a little more up front about my feelings.  I also got to suggest that instead of attempting to choose between the sub-par Morris restaurant options (think a fancy but gross Italian place, a Subway, and a Pizza Hut), we make our own gourmet meal.

Steak, twice-baked potatoes, salad, and chocolate mousse for desert.  (By far the fanciest meal I’ve ever had whilst at school)

Let me tell you that having just finished making the mousse, I think the g.c. will have to take the reins on the rest of it.  I’m actually tired.  I really am a pretty good cook (thanks Mom and Dad for forcing me to start dinner all throughout high school), but mousse was over my head.  It’s putzy: you need about four different bowls, you have to constantly mix things just until they reach a specific consistency, and if you do something wrong, your mousse will lack volume.  The horror!

Plus, there were a few setbacks that stressed me out considerably.  Firstly, someone ate one of my eggs.  I had precisely four left in the carton, the exact number needed for the recipe, and this afternoon, one was gone.  Okay, well, I’ll just do a half recipe.  But wait, will that work?  Aren’t people always going on and on about how halving recipes isn’t reliable?  All right, calm down Hol, we’re just going to have to try it.  (five minutes later) I need a bowl filled with ice water?  We don’t have ice!  There is no ice in our freezer, because we are college students and don’t own things like ice cube trays or whisks or measuring cups.

I finally realized that I could use snow in lieu of ice water.  It worked rather well, and provided a much-needed Little House on the Prairie moment.

All drama aside, the mousse is currently setting in the fridge.  No housemates are home yet, but I intend to guard that darn mousse with my life.

If you want the recipe (may you have more patience than I with it), it’s right here: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/05/perfect-chocola/

The batter (which I unabashadly tasted), was delicious.

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Trekking

Snowpocalypse 2013 has come and gone, and while the plows have been out at all hours (I heard them at 2:30 this morning) clearing the streets, the sidewalks are another story entirely.

My walks to campus have now been enhanced with Everest-like snowbanks which must be scaled.

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Typically, more often than not, my leg will get stuck or slide out from under me, and I’ll tumble down the slope in front of God and country.  So it goes.

It’s Saturday Night, Take III

We’ll all waiting for some snow.  Francis, the yellow lab next door; the town of Morris; and me.  Funnily enough, we’re due for a winter storm, which will hit between midnight tonight and midnight tomorrow.  Then we’re due for a blizzard, which will hit between midnight tomorrow and midnight on Monday.  A foot of snow total, and white-out conditions.

Meanwhile, I’m eating the Most Delicious Orange in the world, pretending to enjoy my raspberry green tea (it’s bitter, but Dr. Oz told me to drink it, so I’m obeying), and watching Little Miss Sunshine.

And waiting for the storms, of course.

My Favorite Shakespeare Play

The very first play we read in my Shakespeare class was Romeo and Juliet.  I was disgusted to see it listed on the syllabus, and huffed about the assignment with others in the class.

“But we read it in high school!” We exclaimed in mock-polite whispers,  “We discussed every scene at length, we watched the old version of the movie and then the Leo version.  We giggled when our teacher ran up to the monitor to cover up Juliet’s naked chest in the old version (although my high school teacher forgot, and couldn’t fast forward in time.  Poor Mrs. Stark.  She fueled many a cafeteria discussion that day).  We read scenes aloud, and acted them out in groups of three.  What else can we say about it?  It’s terribly romantic, and terribly tragic, but we have absolutely nothing more to say.”

But then I finally settled down on my bed, heavy Riverside Shakespeare in my lap.  And I began to read.

And, as you’ve probably suspected from the beginning of this post, I found a few things I hadn’t noticed as a sixteen-year-old.  I found that Juliet is far more aggressive than Romeo in hashing out the details of their union.  She utterly dominates the balcony scene; she is far from swooning against the rail.

I found that we might think of Verona as a sick city.  It’s not just the quarreling, it’s not just this certain couple and these certain families; the entire city is in a state of ruin.  There is plague, there is lack of faith, there is a gloominess that seeps up from the streets.

I found that I was disgusted by the adults in the play.  These poor kids are all of thirteen and sixteen, wading through strife and first love and big decisions, and they have no one to turn to.  Even Friar Lawrence, who is their supposed ally, cannot do more than give them a secret marriage and drug Juliet into a coma.  Furthermore, when he finally decides to get his act together and venture out of his cell, he is too late.  Romeo has slain himself, and Juliet has just awaken, understandably aghast.  And what does dear Fr. Lawrence do?  He runs!  He hears the guards coming, and he runs, advising Juliet to flee too as an afterthought.  Of course Juliet doesn’t, and therein we find our tragedy.

I found, finally, and perhaps most importantly, how very beautiful of a play it is.  Half of the romantic language we spout on Valentine’s Day is from Romeo and Juliet.  It is the first and last word on the subject of love.  Everyone knows it, and everyone wishes, in some small part of themselves, that their lives could be as struck with passion.

“It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;/Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be/Ere one can say ‘It lightens.'”

“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!/It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night/Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear”

“What, drawn, and talk of peace!/I hate the word as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee”

English majors are fond of asking one another what their favorite Shakespeare plays are.  You get an approving nod if you say Hamlet or Macbeth, a fond grin if you say A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a round of impressed applause if you say one of the histories.  No one ever dares to say Romeo and Juliet.  For, as I’ve said, that’s a high school play.  I myself have been saying Hamlet for four comfortable years now.  But perhaps, having rediscovered the tragic lovers; having written a long, rambling blog post; having sworn that the world simply cannot do without; I will finally get up my gall and be truthful:

My favorite Shakespeare play is Romeo and Juliet.  And I am not ashamed.

Bloodletting

The nurse didn’t see fit to tell me until later that I had bled all over arm, armrest, and

the corner of my sweatshirt.  She could tell, I suspect, that I was a little green,

and so withheld until it was over.

Then she called another nurse over to mop me up,

While I looked the other way and breathed deeply.

Still, I knew.

It’s not the needle, really.

For Cam it is.  He went pale on the way to the snack table and had to be bolstered up

and ushered over to a corner cot.

For me, it’s the bloodletting.  The concept of draining blood,

independent of instruments used.

It’s the bag full of warm blackness, which the nurses toss around like it’s a water balloon.

It’s the stacks and stacks of them, sorted and labeled and shipped away.

And so when I spurted (when the needle was removed, or so I am told),

It was too much.

I was a carcass draining, and it was too much.

Naturally, I fainted, even before I could make a joke about Find Me My Smelling Salts.