Bad revolutionary.

I’ve been following this Egypt thing pretty closely. And by “pretty closely” I mean “I watched forty-five minutes of CNN on the treadmill this morning.”

I’m very intrigued. I mean, I love a good revolution in the Middle East. Or rather, I love watching a good revolution in the Middle East being explained to me by British journalists (the best kind; Eileen was totally on to something). Watching it unfold from the comfort of my bedroom. In the United States. In a small town where when the planes flew overhead because the President was in town everybody freaked out.

In person I think I would be significantly less enthralled.

They were interviewing a lot of students who were studying abroad. Most were totally psyched about this and didn’t want to leave. One even said “I want to stay and watch the grand revolution unfold.”

That? Would not be me.

I’m a bad young person. I’m not revolutionary. I don’t protest things even if I disagree with them. I vote Republican for pity’s sake.

The first tweet that said “Mubarak sucks!!!1!!”? I would have been out of there so fast my parents wouldn’t have had time to get to the airport to pick me up.


America’s Coronary Farmhouse

I love watching cooking shows. I don’t know why. I’m not a foodie. I’d rather spend $50 on eight shirts from Target than mushrooms. I don’t really cook. I make like three meals from a cookbook I found in my mom’s pantry that has the word “Easy” in the title (classy). I don’t particularly like being reminded that there’s tasty awesome food out there that I could be eating right now and I’m not for whatever reason…it doesn’t make sense.

But I will watch cooking shows for hours on end. I think it’s because my dad watched them when I was little and (much like the smell of bourbon) it reminds me of my childhood.

Oh God. I just read that sentence and it makes my father seem like a deadbeat dad who drank and watched TV all the time while toddler me sat in a pile of dirty clothes on the floor playing with a paper towel roll while Bobby Flay blared in the background. And that’s SO NOT how it happened. I just mean my dad likes cooking shows and we went to a lot of distilleries when I was little. Totally normal. Right?

Anyway. My current favorite is America’s Test Kitchen. Mostly because it lacks any and all of what made the Food Network so popular- interesting sets, interesting people, interesting food. None of that. Just boring old skinny guys and cooks who look like they’re genuinely unhappy to be there most of the time.

“Yes, Chris. We’re adding simple syrup to the egg whites. This cooks them and makes them rise. I’m pretty sure my husband is cheating on me and I woke up in the walk-in pantry over there covered in chocolate chip cookie crumbs this morning. I want to die a little bit.”

It’s fascinating.

And at first I loved that they were doing actual meals that people in the United States eat. I don’t care how many times the Neelys show me how to throw a Hawaiian-themed barbecue party, I am much more interested in chocolate layer cake.

They also use real ingredients, which I’m a huge fan of. I’m a big supporter of real food- I think most of the problem is that people don’t realize that all calories are not equal. And while calorie-counting is obviously important, especially if you need to lose weight, the vast majority of people would be far better off if they just ate real food. Now I get that I’m lucky in that I’m young and healthy and am not trying to lose weight, but it’s easier for me because I have to think less about it. And I’m all about the thinking less.

(I probably should have thought about that half a cake thing yesterday. But…it was tasty.)

But then I realized that while they were using actual foodstuffs as ingredients, they were using unbelievable amounts of them and then saying ridiculous things like, “We’re using twelve egg yolks because we wanted this shortbread to have a lot of richness.”

Uh. Yeah. Of course it’s the best recipe ever. That’s what happens when you use A DOZEN EGGS.

Seriously, their recipes are ridiculous. A full 16 oz loaf of bread for an 8×8 bread pudding. Gallon of heavy cream- we want this to be really creamy! A dozen egg yolks- just the yolks! We wouldn’t want it to actually taste like egg!

In fact, you know what? Just gnaw on this stick of butter. Just like Grandma used to make.

Move the chains!

I’m not terribly sporty. If you’ve been paying attention for longer than half a second, you know that.

Especially football. I mean really. Overweight guys falling on each other and being compensated with enough cash to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure. No thanks.

But I live in Wisconsin, and I’m not an evil, cold-hearted person. My philosophy on the game today was that I wanted the Packers to win so that everyone would remain happy and excited the way they’ve been all week.

Also I love any excuse to drink during the afternoon (other than, you know, grad school) and dip that utilizes Velveeta, the most unnatural and tasty product ever.

So during most of the game I was kind of in and out of the room…doing work…organizing stuff for tomorrow…washing my hair…figuring out how much money I can spend at H&M without being ridiuclous…lots of Velveeta…oh, did they just score? Cool!

Until the last four minutes. I became obsessed. All of a sudden, everything about football that all the men and a fair number of the women in my life have ever tried to tell me about football made sense and I understood what was happening and WHY it was happening and even what NEEDED to happen and it was kind of like an out-of-body experience where I was watching myself getting all excited and obsessed that we win but the part of me that would rather pull off her own fingernails than watch most football games was disgusted and screaming obscenities at myself and I don’t know, it was weird.

And then we won! And Facebook exploded! And I was tremendously happy FOR NO REASON!

Then I went online and tried to figure out where I could buy a cute t-shirt to commemorate the occasion. You know, before the glow of victory and “cheese” products wore off.

So that was my (brief?) foray into sports fanaticism for the day.


I’m not a big pajamas girl. I get up, I work out, I shower, and I put on real clothes. Every single day. My friends and my sister have days where they openly admit that they will not be putting on real pants and so we should plan any and all social endeavours around that fact.

I was never like that. I mean, honestly. What if there was a fire or something? I love my clothes.  Besides, as they repeat ad nauseum on What Not to Wear, comfort is not everything. A shirt and a jacket are not going to kill anyone.

Until…last weekend. Saturday morning I woke up late and really needed coffee so I stayed in my pajamas while I drank it.

And hmmm, I’m kind of hungry now too. Surely eating breakfast in your jammies isn’t a big deal. I mean, I brushed my teeth. I’m not an animal.

A little light housework is actually easier in comfy clothes.

I can totally finish this book in my jammies.

What’s that? I need to put on clothes to go to the art museum? Hmm. Maybe we don’t need to go this weekend…


I am now all about the pajamas, and frankly I am planning on spending as much time as humanly possible in them. I mean, I’m really cold because frankly Target’s junior brand isn’t exactly known for their high quality flannel and I sleep in a t-shirt, but I WILL NOT BE SWAYED.

I had to go out and shovel this morning, which required multiple layers of actual clothes. But you know what? When I got back inside THE JAMMIES WENT RIGHT BACK ON.

Because breakfast and blogging and responding to student e-mails and maybe a little Modern Family that I missed this week are all SO MUCH BETTER in your jammies!

I know. I’m shocked too.

But it’s really awesome.

Also, that’s not me up there. Neither my teeth nor my decor are that perfect. And my laptop would have a cord running across the tousled bed because it’s so old it won’t hold a charge anymore. Which probably wouldn’t make it into the stock photo.

It’s cold and the Packers are playing.

Last night my dad got uncharacteristically sentimental and said, “I really hope you don’t stop blogging. I love reading your posts!” Aww! I mean, I get that it’s kind of sad that I’m writing for…my dad. But that’s okay! I’m all right with being sad!

I’ve kind of failed lately, though. I apologize. I mean, really. This is just embarrassing. 2008 I was all about the blogging- EVERY SINGLE DAY. Okay. A lot of them were cat pictures. BUT STILL. 2009- totally rocked it. Fewer cat pictures, even. More paint-fueled rants. BUT STILL. 2010…grad school happened. And…that’s that.

Because I’m tired and cranky and hungry and too tired to eat and inferior and terrified and oddly satisfied with my life ALL THE FREAKING TIME and again the problem of this is mostly a sarcastic whiny blog where occasionally I take time out to laud the beauty of Johnny  Depp and I can’t be sarcastic and whiny about school or my job because I’d like to keep my job that happens to be at my school and well, same reasons go for the Johnny Depp thing.

(And…my dad reads this.)

So over the past few days, I’ve drafted posts about the following in my head.

– My instinctual need to purchase things when I get stressed. Did you know BareMinerals now offers the mineral veil in a COMPACT? So that if perhaps you were a busy grad student stuck on campus for days on end and maybe had sections in the late afternoon for which you had to look halfway decent you could totally touch up without dragging along your entire bathroom drawer? I KNOW.

– My slow realization that since I seem to get along very well with people everyone else in the world hates (like, seriously, let’s be besties!) maybe I’m a horrible person?

– The weather. Or the Packers. Like everyone else in Wisconsin. BUT NOT THE WAY YOU THINK. Yes, it’s cold. I’m sorry for everyone who has to go outside today. Yes, the Packers are playing a very important game on Sunday. And I really hope for all of you who care SO DAMN MUCH that they win. BUT STOP WRITING ABOUT IT AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WOULD YOU ALL CHANGE YOUR PROFILE PICTURES BACK TO YOURSELVES IT MAKES STALKING SIGNIFICANTLY MORE DIFFICULT.

(Okay. This greeted me this morning.)

(So I guess I’m going to whine a little bit.)


– How the e-mail I received announcing that my financial aid had disbursed was not, actually, a reason to screech, “OMG YAY! Let’s go to H&M!” like a fiscally irresponsible howler monkey.

– How I could, conceivably, use the totally awesome LivingSocial $20 Amazon gift card I purchased (for only $10!) to buy textbooks when, in reality, I’m using it to buy either the sixth season of CSI:NY or books that I would just really like to read.  BUT WAIT! I like to read books about things that I also like writing long papers about for school! So it counts! Kind of. A little. You know what? Get off my back.

– How most of these are about my financial irresponsibility.

– My shock at opening this morning (What? I’m not back in school yet.), seeing Orlando Bloom on the cover of Star Tracks and realizing a.) Orlando Bloom is still alive, b.) He drinks coffee, apparently, c.) People still care about Orlando Bloom even eight years after Pirates of the Caribbean. Who knew?

– This conversation that I had with my sister at 9:12 this morning.

*iPhone (currently in the kitchen)  rings* *Caller ID says ‘Colleen Cell’ (currently in the bedroom upstairs)*

Kathleen: Hello?

Colleen: Hey, are you home right now?

Kathleen: Yeah, I’m in the kitchen.

Colleen: Oh. What time are you meeting Mary?

Kathleen: 11. Why?

Colleen: ‘kay. Can you bring me Starbucks?

Kathleen: At 11?

Colleen: Yeah. I was worried I would forget.

Kathleen: Okay. Go back to bed.

Colleen: ‘kay.

And I didn’t write any of them. Until right now. When I mashed them into one big post. That you probably stopped reading about ten minutes ago. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Netflix owns my soul. For real.

I pride myself on being pretty worldly. I read newspapers, I get outraged about injustice, I give to charity. As much as I joke about my hair and my makeup and the ridiculous amounts of money I would spend in H&M if only it were a little bit closer seriously guys, Whitefish Bay is, like, far, I honestly do understand that none of that matters while there are starving children in the world.

I get that.

But yesterday…oh, goodness.

I was all snuggly with my slanket (you know, as you do) watching Babies on my Netflix.

(Oh my gosh, you guys. Do you know about the “documentary” Babies? Because it’s simultaneously the most interesting and absolutely astoundingly ridiculous waste of time you will ever experience. They film four babies- two from rural areas and two from industrialized nations- for a year. And…that’s it. No dialogue. Parents rarely make appearances. Just 78 minutes of babies being…babies. AND IT SUCKS YOU IN. You end up picking your favorite baby and rooting for that baby and hoping that baby walks faster than the other babies…it’s probably the most insane thing I’ve done with my afternoons in quite some time.)

ANYWAY. Halfway through little Hattie’s first mommy and me yoga class, Netflix spazzes out. And won’t come back. And then the whole Blu-Ray player announces (quite haughtily, if I do say so) that they can’t find a valid IP address and maybe you should go find and IP address and STOP YELLING AT ME NETFLIX I DON’T KNOW WHAT AN IP ADDRESS IS REALLY EVEN AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT MINE IS I JUST WANT TO KNOW IF THE GOAT IS GOING TO KICK OVER LITTLE MONGOLIAN BABY’S BATH!

I mean, honestly. When I hear IP address all I think of is what the Criminal Minds people use to find out all your dirty little secrets after you disappear.

And I swear, I’m not into anything weird and I haven’t ordered a bride/child/housekeeper from Russia/Mongolia/Czech Republic.


There was some freaking out. Perhaps a few tears. I may have thrown myself dramatically down on the floor in front of the cabinet because maybe then the Blu-Ray player would understand the extent of my emotional investment in this matter.

Then I realized that all you have to do is turn it off and then back on again.

Oh. Look. Valid IP address. There you go. Well, I handled that with aplomb, if I do say so myself. Yep, I am all over this being-an-adult thing.

And I was able to go back to staring at four children I don’t know grow up. Because that’s totally normal.

(The American walked first. I was pulling for the Mongolian.)

JPII, we love you.

For whatever reason (probably the combination of the rhyming and that guy playing guitar with his feet), one of the most enduring memories of my childhood is hearing the crowd chant “JPII, we love you” at World Youth Day in 1995.

I was seven years old, and didn’t really understand why they were chanting; I didn’t understand what World Youth Day was; and I certainly didn’t understand the theology or history of the papacy. But I did know that guy was the pope. And I knew that he was a really good man, and that I loved him.

I never saw him in person. I was supposed to, but things happened and people died and I think my mom felt worse about making us miss him than the fact that our grandmother was gone.

I’ve been Catholic all my life. Really Catholic, not just go-to-Mass-on-Easter-and-mumble-along-with-the-creed Catholic. I was seventeen when he died. The death of the only pope I’d ever known was huge. I went to Mass. I stayed up on Friday, waiting for news. I remember feeling like I was in some sort of weird vigil; I knew it made no difference if some girl in Milwaukee was awake when the pope died, but I wanted to be. When he did die, I cried. I got up at two in the morning to watch his funeral. I had to take the ACT the next morning, but I stayed awake through the whole thing. And two weeks later when the man who had celebrated his Mass of Christian Burial was elected Benedict XVI, I cried about that too.

(In fact, if you go back to my old blog and look at the entries from that week- wow. Why hello there, hyperbole. Are you planning on staying for the summer? Embarrassing. I was a horrible writer in high school.)

I loved him in the simple, childlike way he inspired in most people. I never read any of his writings while he was alive. While I was vaguely aware of his accomplishments and gratified by the outpouring of praise at his death, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what he’d accomplished.

By happy circumstance, I’ve ended up in an academic field that allows me to study him.

I get it now. I’ve read his encyclicals, his books, his groundbreaking work in interfaith relations. Despite my last name, it’s not a nationalistic thing for me, but rather that same childlike love I felt when I was seven.

The concluding sentence- concluding chapter, really- of my thesis was about him. He wasn’t perfect. Many people disagreed with him, and there was a certain amount of criticism for his papacy that, while in most cases it can be disputed, cannot be ignored.

But, at least for me, nothing can alter the image of an elderly man, weakened by disease and moving clearly only with great personal pain, shuffling to the Wailing Wall and placing a prayer between the stones; a prayer begging forgiveness and understanding, a prayer directed not only at his childhood friends who suffered but at my children who will have to work for a better world.

I never saw him.

But I am going to World Youth Day this summer.

And I’m positive that Blessed John Paul II will see me.