Saturday, January 12, 2008

Listening to "Listening to Otis Redding At Home During Christmas" At Home During Christmas

Because my aunt Marie misses my blog, and because, well, I miss my blog, I bring you, in the triumphal return of Purple Petra to blogging action, the highlights of my last month.

(Yes, I'm too lazy to do anything but make a list. So sue me: it's winter break, and therefore I don't have to use paragraphs.)
  • I've been on a baking/cooking spree lately, which is strange for me, the girl who's content to eat saltines for dinner every day for the rest of her life, but, for all its strangeness, not entirely unwelcome. I made cinnamon rolls during finals week, a form of procrastination that impressed and delighted all my classmates at our end-of-semester party; for my mom's primary party I made sugar cookies; and I tried square bishops--the term is my own, derived from a long, silly, and suggestive free-association game with Klement and The Duke--for Christmas Eve dessert, when we then all joked that the preponderance of butter in Mormon cooking--seriously, folks, a cup and a half?--comes from the fact that we don't believe that resurrected bodies have blood, and so we therefore don't have to take care of our arteries. More recently, after returning to Berkeley, I've tried out a recipe for koshari, an Egyptian favorite, and didn't utterly fail, unlike the last time, baked chocolate chip cookies, made naan from scratch, and Googled recipes for old Indonesian favorites like rujak and rendang. I know this may not sound like much, but, seriously, seeing as how I cooked something more than pasta maybe five times throughout my four years as an undergrad, I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself, even if I do spend the whole time humming, "I'm making a lasagna...for one!"
  • I didn't do much Boston-related; in fact, I only left my dull suburban town once, for a trip into Cambridge to see Eraserhead with one of my best friends from high school and her sister's boyfriend. Now, ordinarily I wouldn't mention this, fun as it was, it's just that her sister's boyfriend is famous. Well, to me. I felt incredibly hip, watching a cult film and hanging out with one of these guys. [Claps] Yeah!
  • My family's only Christmas tradition is that we have no Christmas traditions: last year we were in Austria and so bought no presents, the year before Klement was in the hospital and I was in charge of being Santa, which means that everyone got books and only books, and the year before that we were in India, where my mom hired a guy with a camel to bring our presents to the door.
In any case, this year's Christmas variation was that we would each buy presents for ourselves, wrap them, and label them as if they had come from someone else. That way, there would still be surprises on Christmas morning, only the surprise would be what you had given, not what you had gotten. It was a plan brilliantly conceived but poorly executed; Mom and Dad followed through but the kids did not, meaning that on Christmas morning my mom had a huge stack of presents while Klement, the youngest of the family and still only 15, had--guess--one. Oops. On the plus side, we were all utterly surprised and delighted at the presents that "we" had gotten Mom.
  • Klement's present, however, was a good one--a Wii, which then provided endless amounts of entertainment for the rest of us over the break, both in actually playing the games and in making suggestive jokes about the name. Wii. Tee-hee. I quickly fell in love with the boxing game, and spent several evenings utterly embarrassing The Duke with the girly flailing that passed, for me, as boxing, and, of course, with the exultant victory rapping I insisted on doing every time I won, charming little spontaneous ditties like Eins zwei drei fier/Everybody start the cheer/This little German dude/had best admit that he is screwed. That's right: I can video game box and rhyme. Just call me Mohammed Awii.
  • After Christmas, we spent a week skiing and seeing family in Utah. I love skiing, don't get me wrong, but the overall suffering:pleasure ratio was a bit too high on many of our days. It's hard to enjoy the thrill of speeding down the mountain, frankly, when it's 5 degrees out. I did, however, learn that swearing, somehow, takes the edge off the cold, particularly when on the ski lift, meaning that anybody who happened to be passing below my mom and I on the ski lift would have heard us practicing all the swear words we knew, which, since we are Mormon, isn't many.
  • Having finished up seeing family and friends in Utah, I flew down to southern California to see yet more family. I didn't do much of note there, just ate at their favorite restaurants, played several of my uncle's four hundred or so board games, listened to music, read the LA times, enjoying the full-page movie ads, attended one of my uncle's philosophy graduate seminars, watched reality TV with my aunt, and, oh, went down to Tijuana for a day, where my cousin and I walked around in the rain, studiously avoiding eye contact with the men standing outside strip joints, ate enchiladas and hot cakes and churros and cactus, laughed at the sign which directed the way towards the border crossing from the U.S. side, which said, in huge letters, WEST PARKING LOTS, accompanied by an arrow, and then, in smaller letters below that, And Mexico, and generally alternated between enjoying and pitying Tijuana's seedy border-town feel. It was, suffice to say, an awesome trip.
So, with a few exceptions and/or lapses of memory, that's basically the last month. And I've still got a week before classes start, which is kind of unbelievable but not unappreciated, since I do so enjoy a lull before a storm. Though, hopefully, even with the start of classes, I'll still find time to blog, if not for my own sake, for Aunt Marie's.


Jan said...

Aunt Jan is as grateful as Aunt Marie!

Jan said...

Ooops. Sorry. I didn't realize my comment would overlap with your extremely long title. I'm a real fan of long titles, and I wish I hadn't mussed up yours.

ChillyGator said...

I was driving home from school just today thinking "Petra hasn't posted in a really, really long time..." Thanks for posting!!

KrumperKids said...

Aunt Jeanne is so glad too! What with donating rice and a Petra blog, this is turning out to be a great week.

Th. said...


I'm glad to see the photo and, yes, that's pretty much the hippest thing I've ever heard.

Mother ******* said...

Thank you for the books and the awesome pink fuzzy pajamas. I wear them daily now. If someone were to ask me if I condone your swearing behavior when stuck on a ski lift with snow pouring into your face here is my answer, courtesy of Floyd Landis: "I will say no."

Welcome back Purple Petra.

Confuzzled said...

Cursing also has curiously warming effects if you have to stand in freezing weather waiting for a bus. 'Tis true, I swear it :)