Monday, April 20, 2009

IKEA, Cooking and a Rainy Start to the Week

It's a dark and stormy Monday morning. The sky is grey and heavy and looks like it's going to open any minute and launch a torrent onto the world beneath that is just waking up and trying to be motivated to go to work or school. It's one of those days where there's an ominous tone to the world, heavy with greys and shadows, the flowers looking as though they're trying to hide from the heavy rains that loom, imminent.

I know how they feel. I think most people do on Monday mornings. I have yet to meet a person who sits up and jumps out of bed saying "YAY! It's Monday!!!". If those people exist, they would frighten me.

I think my problem is that I like weekends too much. I love having two days that don't conform to the self-made pattern of my work weeks. I like knowing I can get up when I like, even if it is always around 9 a.m. at the latest. I like knowing I can read in bed if I still don't want to get up, that I can work out any time I choose.

This weekend was another good one. I spent the day on Saturday with a friend. We went to IKEA. I love IKEA. I love that you can go in there and spend less than $35 and come out with a ton of handy items, some of which you might actually need. I do need to make a note to myself that I really need to NOT watch "Iron Chef America' before I go to IKEA. You see, this leads me to do something I never thought I would ever do: Get excited over kitchen tools. I used to mock my friends and my dad for getting excited over odd contraptions like fancy peelers, sodium containment units (a fancy salt pot for those unfamiliar with Alton Brown and the Food Network) and chopping boards. This weekend, I went to IKEA and I got excited over a peeler and chopping boards and a French press coffee maker. Yes, I've crossed over to the dark side. You know you're in trouble when the lemon juicer just has to be yours because squeezing fresh lemons is far better than buying those plastic lemons full of concentrated lemon juice.

Stupid "Iron Chef."

Aside from IKEA, we browsed Barnes and Noble which, alas, did not have any copies left of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a book that my friend really wanted to read and was kindly going to loan me. Yes, it's based on the original text of Pride and Prejudice but has, you know, zombies attacking the village of Meryton and it's up to Elizabeth Bennett and Proud Mr. Darcy to defeat them. What's not to like about that?

We also went to see a movie. We saw "State of Play". Yes, I know, I know, I've complained about that remake a couple of times. I can hear you thinking, "Wow, Captain Monkeypants is a hypocrite. She's supporting Hollywood in their horrid remake campaign." My defense embarrassed shrug. It's true. I have no defense. I will merely apologise and move on.

Actually, I won't. You didn't really expect that, did you? My friend wanted to see it and it was the only movie starting at the time we wanted to see one. It had good reviews and, I confess, Iwas curious to see what they did with it. It was...ok.

The original is far, far better. I will say the movie did a fabulous job of condensing the mini-series which ran over five hours into a two hour movie. Russell Crowe was excellent in his role. Rachel McAdams was good, also. Ben Affleck played Ben Affleck very nicely. I was a little confused why Helen Mirren decided to act her role as though she were playing Bill Nighy playing her role. I mean, even her gestures were very similar to those of Mr. Nighy in the original. Over all, it was ok. I missed the James McAvoy role from the original and was disappointed that Jason Bateman's slimy character didn't have more screen time or a larger role but, as I said, it wasn't bad at all. I still say watch the original, it's much less polished, far grittier and far more believable. However, the BBC mini-series does lack Russell Crowe's spectacularly bad hairstyle, I'm sad to say.

The rest of my weekend was rather nice. I woke up on Sunday with the urge to cook. Stupid Food Network. Stupid Mario Batali. So, I cooked. I made homemade ravioli. I made the dough myself. It was ridiculously easy because Mario Batali told me it was and he's usually right. I stuffed it with roasted butternut squash and tossed it in a sage butter sauce. I also added a salad of sauteed beet greens topped with roasted beets.

You're scared, aren't you? Yes, me too. I think I might have officially watched too much "Iron Chef America". I will say that the meal was delicious, even though that sounds horribly self-congratulatory. My only problem is that I still lack a rolling pin and I, naturally, do not own a pasta rolling machine thingy so I had to use my infamous trick of using a wine bottle to flatten out the pasta dough. Thus, no matter how hard I pressed down, the dough remained thicker than it should. It was tasty...just thick. I like that I can try these recipes on myself and if they're revolting, I'm the only one who has to know. However, if it does turn out right, I can add that to my repetoire for when I do cook for others. It's fun. I'm planning on trying to cook in my parent's far better equipped kitchen soon. My dad has all the gadgets including a pasta rolling thingy. I plan on using my mother as my sous chef. She doesn't know this yet.

As for the house hunting, that was postponed by my realtor. We're going tonight, instead. I'm excited. It'll be interesting to see the difference between the fiction of the pictures I've been viewing of houses and the reality of the houses themselves. I think I'm prepared. I don't plan on falling madly in love with one place and putting all my hopes on that because I know that often, you have to make offers on a couple of places before you finally get one. The looking is the fun part. I plan on enjoying that.

So, thus ends the past week and today the new one begins. It's a little less stressful since the pressure of making it in the ABNA contest is off though, in the end, that turned out to be little stress, just a good rallying point for me to realize, once again, it's about the roadtrip, not the destination.

In a way, I like that it's raining. It seems fitting for a Monday morning. I'm sure as the week passes, the clouds eventually will too. In the meantime, they provide a convenient excuse for my Monday sluggishness, not the fact that I stayed up too late reading. I shall, to quote Milli Vanilli, those old pop "singers" of yore, "Blame it on the rain." Why not?

Happy Monday.


Samantha Elliott said...

I like your optimistic way of looking at the rain! I'm going to try that too. "No, boss, it's the rain, not a case of the Mondays slowing my productivity. Really."

Kate said...

Ohhh, reading about you going to Barnes and Nobles and then a movie with a friend gave me a fit of the Sammy jealousies. That friend used to be me!!! I'm glad that you have a good bookandmovie friend, really, it is just that I am feeling sorry for myself. When I come to visit, will you make me butternut squash ravioli? It is one of my favorite dishes, but I never knew real people could actually make it. You are blowing my mind, dear friend. I shall now live my culinary life vicariously through you as I do my writing life.