05 October 2007

Comfort Music

I don't have hipster music tastes. The Scientist does. He actively looks for new bands and sometimes brings home (or downloads) great new stuff that I really like (along with stuff that he really likes and that I cannot stand). He has been a big influence in moving me out of my 80s & 90s nostalgia comfort zone (see: U2; see also: Madonna) and into something resembling 2007 (or at least 2005).

But when I'm feeling really, really blah, sad, depressed, etc. I don't turn to Elliot Smith or Matt Pond. Instead I crank up The Nutcracker Suite. Seriously. It's my favorite comfort music in the larger comfort music genre of "Christmas."

When I was a freshman in college I was depressed during most of my first semester. It was typical freshman girl stuff - no close friends, big school, no boyfriend, etc. My roommate was from the area and had a boyfriend who lived off-campus so she was never in our dorm room. I played Christmas songs the entire month of September and into October to cheer myself up. Then I made some friends, started dating a guy and didn't need the Christmas music anymore.

Today, I have been playing The Nutcracker Suite on The Scientist's computer while I work on my laptop. Not for any particularly heartbreaking reason, but just because I'm sick (head cold), tired (see: head cold), and bummed because I just found out that the Dream Job I didn't get hired for hasn't hired some spectacular candidate with 4 degrees and a 12-page resume. Instead, they have opened the position again. I'm so frustrated because I know that I would be great in this job. But they don't think so. Bah, humbug.

04 October 2007

Master of My Universe

I am a Master.

No, not that kind of master from the Seinfeld episode, but the real kind. No, not the kinky bondage kind, the academic kind. The post-graduate-degree kind.

Even though I finished my last class at the end of June, updated my resume in July, and officially graduated in August (we skipped the ceremony because it was right during The Monkey's most sacred Time of the Nap, a time we don't fuck with), I didn't really feel done-done until today, when my diploma came in the mail. I had to sign for it because it was sent certified. It's super fancy, much fancier than my undergraduate or high school diplomas, and arrived in a lovely blue padded diploma-holder-folder thing.

The thing is, I don't really know what to do with it. Its current position on our dining room table, along with a pile of mail and grocery coupons, isn't a long-term solution. I don't have an office outside of our house to hang it in (I switched jobs within my company and now work out of our basement family room/office space) and I don't actually work in a job in my master's degree field.

I guess it's going to become Another Thing on a Shelf (subset: In a Cabinet) and that's a little depressing. Depressing because of a) how much money we spent on my degree, b) the fact that I don't have a job in my field yet (have I mentioned that lately?), and c) how much fucking money we spent on my degree. I know there are things I should be doing to try to find a new job (besides thinking, "I need a new job") but the last position I applied for, interviewed three times for, and that seemed absolutely perfect for me in every single way was such a let-down when I didn't get hired (cue generic rejection letter) that my motivation has taken a vacation to Hawaii and brought my enthusiasm along with it. Maybe I should go to Hawaii and join them. A beach sounds great right about now.

03 October 2007

Burn, baby, burn

I did something today that I have never done before. I wish that sentence could lead into a description of a fantastic accomplishment (or at least a kinky sexual position), but it doesn't. Instead, the smokey haze lingering around my house represents something much more mundane. I burned the crap out of dinner. Well, part of it.

The tomato sauce (made up of good stuff I had around the house like onion, ground beef, and purple basil from our garden along with half a leftover jar of store-bought sauce) was happily simmering on the stove when I decided to reduce some red wine I had stashed in the freezer (the dregs of various bottles from past dinners and parties). The idea was that the reduced wine would add a layer of complexity and deliciousness to the otherwise decent but boring sauce.

It might have done that, had I paid attention.

Instead, I went downstairs to work. I did check on the wine a couple of times but it hadn't reduced enough. Eventually I got involved in a task (probably updating powerpoint status charts - how TPS-report-esque can I get?) and forgot about the wine. When I went upstairs to grab my bag to go pick up the boys from daycare, I was met with the smell of charred red wine and the sight of smoke billowing out of the saucepan. Fuck.

Fortunately for my eardrums, but unfortunately for the house had the smoke turned into fire, 2 of the 3 main level smoke alarms had been disconnected by The Scientist last week when a slightly cruddy broiler pan gave off too much smoke while making chicken (no chicken was burned that time, though). Had the smoke alarms been on, I'm sure I would have been alerted much sooner to my mistake, but I would have OD'd on adrenaline and probably ran around frantically rather than just turning the burner off and calmly setting the burned pan on the concrete step in our backyard (poise under pressure, that's me).

I'm glad the crisis was minor. I'm especially glad I didn't burn the house down. I feel pretty stupid for making such a rookie mistake and I'm bummed that one of my favorite pans might have to get thrown away.

Updated to add: The Scientist laughed at me when he came home, but he said he didn't even notice the smoke smell. He managed to rescue my pan, triumphantly bringing the blackened, rubbery disc of burned wine he pried out of the bottom of the pan for me to see. The smoke smell drifted upstairs to our bedroom, though, and bothered me all night, prompting weird dreams of fire that jolted me out of sleep several times. Oh, and the sauce was decent, but boring.