Labor Day I am a…

Labor Day

I am a terrible American. I honestly don't remember what this holiday is supposed to be celebrating. It can't be the Labour Party. I really doubt it's everyone's right to labor. (What fiction novel did I read recently which had a society where that right was taken for granted? Ugh. Something of Joanna Russ's? My brain is leaking...) I just have no clue.

What actually prompted me to get off my butt and post an entry was reading Columbine's latest, on furniture shopping (yes, I could have just sent off a letter, but this way, I get a journal entry out of it -- I'm not sure if that qualifies as multitasking, but it sure is efficient).

Firstly, Columbine seems to be implying that IKEA delivers, even to places that don't have an IKEA nearby. What? If I had only known that while I was buying most of the furniture for my place...I love IKEA. I adore them. In Philly, most of our furniture was from IKEA. I am very dubious about this rumor. It's too good to be true. Y'know, I suppose I could just go check the web right now. Hang on...hmm...they do seem to exist. Since it would take a while to find out if they'd actually ship to me, I'll figure that out later.

I do know exactly what Columbine is talking about re: furniture. I don't want to repeat his rant again, but suffice it to say that the fact that my stereo is sitting on its cardboard box (cleverly disguised by a dark green blanket) drives me crazy. I have almost finished furnishing my apartment, but I am still seriously lacking in little tables (for the stereo, the aquarium, the computer (when I fix/replace it), the candle tree, and for next to the couch. Probably a nightstand would be useful too. These all seem like optional furniture, and I'm putting off seriously looking for them until I feel less poor (I haven't been paid yet), but soon, I promise. And if Elemente and EcLecTic don't have anything suitable, IKEA is my only option.

Those two stores are how I solved the problem of not wanting random junk (that I would have been perfectly happy with three years ago, before living in a nicely furnished house with real wood furniture). They're sort of half used/half antique stores -- they have stuff at used furniture prices and at antique prices, and some of the used furniture is pretty neat. I really like the work table I got there, and the dining table and the set of six chairs and the baker's rack -- and I think that all came to less than $250 together. What a deal! And yes, it's true that none of them exactly match...but somehow, they all 'go together', which is good enough for now, and makes for a sort of funky look that I'm actually kind of liking. As long as you have lots of wood, who cares if it's in different shades? (The stores are on Pierpont, about 4 blocks west of the temple, in case any locals are interested).

Some of the wood is sadly not real wood, but that will hopefully be fixed with time. And I think this may be the last time I move across states without a moving truck; I finally own enough furniture that I think it'll be worth the expense. Of course, given the sometimes precarious state of my finances, maybe I'll have to sell it all off by June to pay my debts, but hopefully it won't come to that. :-)

So I figured out the IKEA web pages; you can't order online, but you can order a print catalog, which I have. Good 'nuff -- I can't really afford to buy more furniture 'til the end of September anyway.

In other news...well, I gave up on trying to not talk to Kevin. I'm not sure whether I have no willpower (my general assessment) or whether my subconscious simply decided that not talking to him was a bad plan and changed my mind for me (his assessment). But I'm much happier, so I'm inclined not to question it too much. He came to brunch yesterday (which went splendidly) and we're going to go hang out at a cafe today and work (possibly with one or two of my colleagues). And, of course, it's his birthday tomorrow. Have no clue what to get him.

I should say more about the brunch -- I think I'm actually getting the hang of this cooking thing. When I discovered at 9 a.m. that I had forgotten to buy a tart shell for my quiche (no car with me, and the buses don't run on Sunday, making it difficult to just run to the store), I just looked up the recipe and made one (it's one of the easier pie shells, actually -- forgiving). No problem. When I realized that I needed four ounces of white wine for the sauce for the leek and sun-dried tomato timbales, and I didn't have a bottle opener, I just ran downstairs and went nextdoor to Cucina, a little deli/cafe, where I remembered seeing bottle openers for sale, and snagged their last one. And most interestingly, when I realized (after having dumped out the simmer water and turned off the oven) that the custard hadn't quite set in the timbales, leading to a potentially very gooey mess, I didn't panic. I simply microwaved them for a minute - Emeril might not have approved, but it set my custard, so I was content. Mostly I'm just pleased with myself for not panicking and throwing the whole dish out.

(Yes, I too am addicted to the cooking channel. But Emeril gets on my nerves; he's fine when he's cooking, but his showmanship is a bit much. The guy on East Meets West is much more charming (and a lot cuter; anyone know if he's taken?)).

I also made cranberry-orange muffins, which came out just a little dry; I wonder if it's a high-altitude thing. Also swiss muesli (a yoghurt, almonds, rolled oats, fresh banana and mango, raisin and cranberry concoction), which hardly anyone touched, but that's okay. I mostly made it so there'd be a healthy option for those that wanted one. Happily, people seemed content to eat unhealthy. They also brought great food -- frittata and Norwegian coffee cake and frog's eye salad (and no, I can't tell you what was in that last one, but it was yummy).

I'm tempted to make brunch a weekly thing, which should help keep the loneliness at bay...we'll see how it goes. I'm a little worried that if I do this too often, people will get bored and will stop coming.

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