Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween '06: Passing Down the Ladle

Halloween has been Melanie’s and my first major holiday away from home. Halloween itself has never been that special to me, but there are traditions that our living in Georgia has caused us to miss out on. Case in point: my mother-in-law’s annual stew and breadsticks extravaganza. For as long as Melanie can remember, and for as long as I can remember Melanie, Halloween dinner has consisted of a hearty homemade beef stew and garlic parmesan breadsticks. Being away from home, we’ve missed out on this ritual for the first time in years. Melanie, however, has quite charmingly taken to the reins, simulating with commendable precision the aforementioned dish. It’s not only kept us mindful of the people and places we love, it’s marked an official transition from childhood to parenthood. While too young to eat any of it himself, Edison will always associate this meal with his mother, and it started this very day.

The stew also served to remind Melanie and myself that it was indeed Halloween. Not having dressed up, not having carved a pumpkin, not having received even one trick-or-treater at the door, it was hard to tell it was a holiday at all. Our plans to dress Li’l Eddie as a professor fell through when we had trouble finding a li’l bow tie and some li’l glasses (not that he would have let them stay on his face anyway). And the only costume ideas I had for myself were all very last minute and unimpressive—for example, a student who actually enjoys his Kant class*, a nudist in denial, or just plain nudity.

So while Halloween was a near bust, we made do. And now there’s a whole bowl full of candy for Melanie and me to steadily work into our diets. Furthermore, one of my classes did coincidentally get canceled, meaning something special did occur other than our having some delicious stew. But being able to watch Melanie step into a role so characteristic (in our minds at least) of motherhood was by far the biggest treat of the day.

*Lest there be any confusion, I actually find Kant’s philosophy quite exquisite. My Kant class, on the other hand, can be a bit drab.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Don’t adjust your monitors. There have indeed been some slight changes in the appearance of Sucking on Oranges. In honor of this, my 150th post, I’ve updated to the new, more customizable format being offered by Blogger, and I think good things will come of it. For now, it’s wreaked a bit of havoc on my sidebar—namely, deleting the vast majority of information once found there. But never fear; the superfluous information will be reinstated all too soon. And if I once featured a link to your page, you will continue to receive my wholehearted endorsement. The thousands of people who visit your site purely because of the link on my page will not abandon you.

So while it is true that, for all intents and purposes, my page is “under construction,” I urge you to give it a good perusal. One of the features I am most excited about is the ability to “label” individual posts. That is, you can assign categories to a post, such as “Pets” if you wrote about your dog, or “Pests” if you wrote about Peter Gallagher. Then your readers can click on the label “Pets” (or “Pests”) and see all the posts you’ve written that also have that label. I’m still working on going back and labeling my posts accordingly, and I may tinker around a bit with the actual label names before I’m completely satisfied. But if you’re even slightly intrigued, give it a test run by clicking one of the labels at the end of this post (i.e. Blogging, Special Occasions). You can also find a comprehensive list of all the labels I’ve ever used in, of course, the sidebar.

Until then, keep checking in. Some exciting posts are on their way, and you won’t want to miss out! I’ve got tales of sexual intrigue, cosmic perplexities of the most unintelligible kind, culinary catastrophes, and all of it’s true! So continue to stop by when time permits, enjoy watching me redecorate, and know that I’m doing this because I love you.

By the way, if you’re interested in updating your own blog, you’ll have to have a Google user account. If you don’t have a Google account, they’re worth getting, if for nothing else than their superior email system (Gmail). Currently, you have to have an invitation to open a Gmail account, either by requesting one to be sent to your cell phone or by having another Gmail user send you an invitation via email. I’ll happily send you such an invitation if desired—just leave me a comment (and your email address if I don’t know it) and let me know that’s what you want. You won’t regret it, and it will make the switchover to the new blog format all the easier.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lazing Sneezing on a Sunday Afternoon

Once again it’s a lazy Sunday, which means I actually have an opportunity to write. I wanted to write sooner, but life’s been crazy—the normal excuse. Here’s what’s been going down…

Last Saturday I celebrated my 28th birthday. My parents came to visit and took me to The Cheesecake Factory. A wonderful gesture. I gorged myself on Avocado Egg Rolls (which Melanie and I had discovered on our honeymoon), Steak Diane and Chicken Madeira, and Mixed Berry Custard Almond Crunch Cheesecake. The latter proved disappointing, despite its decadent name. It’s easily the least impressive of the 8 or so flavors of TCF cheesecake I’ve tried in my life (though I’m not a big chocolate fan, so I’d probably opt for it before any chocolate-based cheesecakes—maybe). Still, TCF has continued to blow me away with all of their other culinary creations, and so they remain one of the best (if not the best) chain restaurants I’ve ever been to.

After an enjoyable weekend, I came crashing down into the worst illness I’ve had in years. I consider myself to be the kind of person that gets sick only rarely, so catching a cold was quite a doozy to begin with. And, though I’m generally inclined to view colds as the least debilitating illness one can contract, this one held no punches. I was miserable, I was devoid of all energy, I had the worst headache I think I’ve ever had. Fortunately I don’t have any classes on Wednesdays this semester, so I only had to miss one day of school. But my homework suffered terribly, which means I’ve spent this whole weekend preparing for a presentation I have to give tomorrow, which means I’ve yet to start on the 10-page paper I have to do for Tuesday. Yikes! All prayers are welcome.

The sad thing now is that Edison has come down with the cold. He’s sneezing, he’s coughing, he’s a bit fevery. Poor little fella. And yet he still has the energy to smile at me, quite often in fact. What a perfect kid. (More evidence of his perfection can be found here.) Melanie’s also feeling a bit blah, but she’s keeping strong. She’s an impressive one, she is. Feel free to offer some prayers on their behalf as well.