Sunday, April 06, 2008

Normal, Shmormal

One of my major life goals, on entering grad school, was to work as hard in grad school as I wanted to work for the rest of my life; at this point, school is my job, paid and all--er, thank you, U.S. Department of Education--and so I might as well treat it like one. For people who sailed through their undergraduate days partying, that might mean amping up the work level, but for me, the sort of student who dedicated all her time and energy to the pursuit of As, that means learning to take nights and weekends off. I'm not perfect at it yet, at the very least, I no longer spend every Saturday working in the library, or thinking about working in the library, as I did as an undergraduate.

(I hesitate to admit that; what if my classmates should read it? Oh, the guilt! I am a terrible graduate student!)

When I described last weekend, the end of spring break, to my father--I made Moroccan food, I went to a movie, I helped a friend weed her backyard, I went running, I helped host a dinner party for ten people, I went to a baseball game, I read a book--my dad's comment was, "Wow, it's like a normal person's weekend!" I liked that--imagine, I could be a normal person!--and so, I set about making that my goal for this and future weekends.

And I was on a normal person roll this weekend. My biggest accomplishment was trying, and succeeding, at honey cookies, a recipe which I remember fondly from childhood visits to my great-grandmother's house. Unfortunately, she baked them from memory, and the most specific recipe we got from her before she died was elicited in a conversation something like this:

"First, you need some flour."

"How much flour?"

"Enough flour. And then you need some sugar."

"How much sugar?"

"Oh, as much as you need. And then you add the honey."

"How much honey?"

"It should sound like this: glug, glug, glu-"

So I spent some time on Sunday afternoon messing around with flour, sugar, and honey, constantly tasting and asking myself, and occasionally my roommate, "Is this anything?" until I decided that yes, it's something. And so now, for any of my relatives reading, I can make a decent approximation of Great-Grandma H's honey cookies.

Not that honey cookies were the only thing I accomplished this weekend. On Friday evening, I went to a baseball game--again, can you believe? I'm practically a fan now--where my friend Two* and I sang, danced, and generally made as much noise as we possibly could, which, trust me, is a lot. On Saturday, I cleaned my apartment, grocery shopped, read a book, talked on the phone, spent far too much on running shoes, went running in said shoes, only to find that they make my feet go numb, stood up, alone in front of my computer, as part of the solemn assembly, did some reading and homework (okay, so I'm not perfect at my goals yet), watched a movie with Two and The Onion, after which I slept on their couch rather than walking home, and spent a good chunk of the evening calling and driving around Oakland looking for a battered woman's shelter for a girl I met on the bus to Two's apartment. Sunday I listened to some of conference, began organizing the stack of books and papers next to my desk, fell asleep on my floor, music blaring, surrounded by unorganized books and papers, did dinner and games with some friends, and ended the day by donning a serious contender for the most ridiculous pajamas I've ever worn**, which is saying something for a girl who owns a Hello Kitty nightgown, three muumuus, and an endless supply of brightly-colored sarongs.

See? That's totally a normal person's weekend. And now, like any normal, weekend-enjoying person with any normal, weekend-free job, I can feel free to dread Mondays. At least I've got Great-Grandma's honey cookies to get me through.


*There are two reasons for this nickname; Two will love one of them and hate the other. Then he will try to claim that he loves them both, just to prove that I cannot predict him. Two, if you're reading, I'm sorry; I'm a brat for even mentioning this, I know, but it's just so easy. Plus, you know how to avenge yourself.

**One of my favorite things about being single is that no one ever sees me in pajamas. This leaves me free to dress, as tonight, in skintight, ankle-length green leggings and an oversized, very oversized, green Obama T-shirt, which, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, actually says "O'Bama." I feel like I need to go politically organize some leprechauns. Maybe next weekend.


Katie said...

Well, if it makes you feel better, my brothers-in-law have a consensus that all of the women in my family have odd pajamas. (And these, mind you, are pajama tops and bottoms that coordinate, but somehow the patterns are odd?)

And I have to say--the image of you politically organizing some leprechauns made me laugh. Quite a lot.

Minnie said...

Hi Cousin Hannah! (This is your cousin Maryn commenting). After reading your post, I'm having a serious craving for Grandma's honey cookies. I've tried and basically failed...completely...several times to duplicate the recipe, so I'm excited that you are having more success than I have!

You'll have to hook me up with the recipe, although, I was thinking that you could use the cookies as bait to get more houseguests! (I'm not implying that you wouldn't be fun to visit sans the cookies :-) )

Anyway, I love reading your blog!

Mr. said...


Sounds delightful! But I have to ask:

Was the glugging your grandmother's onamatopaeic way of expressing how much money to use or was that actually her dying. Because I was very alarmed until I came up with the former explanation.

Anonymous said...

during many of our indonesian sleepovers I have seen you in your pajamas, but I don't remember them being nearly as entertaining as the leprechaun ones you described.

SLO (p.s. I decided this acronym makes me look like a terrorist organization)

Anonymous said...

I would like to put in a second cousin request for the recipe. Thank you.
Also, as a direct relative- that dead grandmother comment was not funny... except that is was so funny.


Tony said...

My apologies, but I must point this out. Any post about how normal you are cannot include abnormal elements such as footnotes.

If the mere mention of honey cookies can incite responses from three P* cousins, imagine what you could achieve with actually offering them to us ...