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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Nutella

March24

The first time I had Nutella was in 1993. My mom’s best friend had moved to Australia a few years earlier and super expensive trans-atlantic phone calls once a year and letters written in cramped writing on both sides of onion skin paper and sent airmail just weren’t enough. So she used my graduating from 8th grade as an excuse to fly the both of us out to visit them. Happy graduation, let’s go to Oz! I’m not complaining, mind. It was an incredible trip. I fell in love hard with Melbourne, and it’s the one place in my life I’ve ever felt homesick for, which is weird considering I was only there for about 3 weeks. But man, I loved it so much. We stayed with our family friends and I tried Nutella for the first time. We’d been sending them care packages for years of stuff like graham crackers and Oreos and Captain Crunch and some other stuff they couldn’t get over there (coffee that wasn’t instant? lasagne noodles that you had to boil first? I forget what else.) and they’d send us Vegemite. After our return they sent Nutella as well, something you couldn’t get (or couldn’t get easily?) in the States.

OF COURSE I shared this with my friends.

They thought I was crazy.

Putting CHOCOLATE on BREAD? How ridiculous is that! No wonder you’re such a fat fatty! These FOOLS who enjoyed chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip muffins, chocolate croissants, white and yellow cake with chocolate frosting, pound cake with chocolate ganache, chocolate bread pudding, etc could not FATHOM putting CHOCOLATE (and hazelnut) on BREAD. Ewwww, gross! I made them eat it, because that’s the kind of friend I am, and they all saw how amazing it was and liked it. And for years, Nutella was a staple in my cupboard.

Now it’s super popular and you can pick it up in almost every grocery store and there’s weird ads for it on television and in magazines where it sounds like it’s health food (it’s chocolate, people. chocolate. tasty, not healthy.) and there’s a million recipes and memes about Nutella online. You can find it pretty much everywhere… except my kitchen.

Why?

Because of Nesko.

I married a man who’s allergic to hazelnut. He’s also allergic to chestnuts and brazil nuts.

How allergic is he? I’ll tell you. Years ago, I worked at Fannie May and part of the job requirement was to be familiar with the product. I was sampling the new deluxe truffles (which were INCREDIBLE) and one of them was a hazelnut mousse filling (AMAZING). HOURS after I tried one single truffle with hazelnut Nesko came in to buy some Advent calendars for his cousin’s kids and I gave him a little kiss and his lips started tingling and got a little swollen.

Despite his allergic reactions (swelling, vomiting when he eats chestnuts) he continues to eat stuff with hazelnuts in it unless I remind him not to. His reasoning is that the allergic reaction isn’t THAT bad and hazelnuts taste good. My reasoning is that each exposure ups the chance his allergy will get worse, so stop making bad decisions you fool. So we don’t keep Nutella in the house.

Recently, some peanut butter companies have tried to jump on the Nutella bandwagon and put out their own chocolate spreads. Every time I see them I scrutinize them for hazelnut. Peanuts, after all, are tasty and they are peanut butter companies. Wouldn’t it make sense for them to use peanuts instead of hazelnuts in their java chocolate caramel whatever spreads? But no, they all cram hazelnuts in there.

Then I found these little single-serve packs by Jif. They’re one of the Jif To Go products and they are chocolate and peanut butter and hazelnut free and I ate some with pretzels and I almost died because it tasted so good. I wish they came in a full sized jar, but apparently they don’t. If you want to try out a great tasting nut and chocolate spread but can’t do hazelnut, give this a try because it’s really REALLY good.

This is a totally uncompensated post. Nobody asked me to write it, nobody’s paying me for it, I just wanted to share something super tasty with you because I love you.

posted under CONSUME, eating, life, marriage, Nesko, stuff | Comments Off on Nutella

Would you like some fries with your hair burger?

November6

Nesko and I have been talking, recently and hypothetically, about travel. One of the ideas floated was him finding a job in Montenegro and moving there for awhile so that Niko could meet his extended family and get a good, solid feel for where Nesko’s family is from. I joked that it’d be great, Nesko could work all day while Niko and I travel and take the ferry to Italy and Greece and have a really long vacation and soak up the sun on European beaches. That led to talk of actual European travel, and Nesko mentioned wanting to travel to Germany, finding a nice Jugendherberge to stay at.

I tried to continue the conversation, but it derailed utterly when I attempted pronouncing Jugendherberge. I swear I did not add a terminating “r” but Nesko heard one and broke out laughing. Sorry, there are no rooms at the Jugend Hair Burger, although I hear their sandwiches are pretty tasty. We tried to work a mustache ride joke in there as well, but it just didn’t fit.

posted under life, marriage, Nesko, stuff | Comments Off on Would you like some fries with your hair burger?

Ah, love.

October21

There is a reason that I married the person I married.

We were sitting together in Niko’s room reading Best Little Word Book Ever to Niko when we lapsed into making fun of the book because we are just classy that way.

Nesko apparently grew up without experiencing Richard Scarry for himself, so it was an all new experience for him… an experience which became alarming when he got to a certain page.

He caught a glimpse of this image and was very alarmed at their “fixed dead wide-eyed soulless stare.”

I pointed out that ALL the animals look like that. “HAHA!” I crowed like the petty asshole I am, “NOW YOU CANNOT UNSEE IT.”

Then we came to this dude and tried to figure out how he got into his police station. I ventured that he had to go in through the door and then there were steps going down immediately. Nesko countered that his immense head wouldn’t fit through the doorway.

“There isn’t any glass in that “window.” These are animals. They don’t know from glass. They just blunder in through those large openings. These are, basically, Pluggers. No-toilet-paper-holder-having Pluggers.”

That last two comments pretty much broke me.

“They can only afford to buy 3 eggs at a time. Or maybe they’re only ALLOWED to.”

“They persist in wearing too-small clothing that shows off their exquisite beer guts.”

“They don’t have wrists, just stumpy little paw things with barely there sausage fingers. HOW DO THEY USE PHONES AND DRIVE THEY HAVE PAWMITTS INSTEAD OF HANDS.

“They are Pluggers. Richard Scarry should sue Jeff McNally Gary Brookins.”

posted under life, marriage, Nesko | 1 Comment »

Jane Austen is not Romantic

September20

I’m re-reading my Big Book of Jane Austen and wondering, yet again, why some people continue portraying her work as romantic.

I mean, sure, they involve matrimony and at the end of the story there’s a marriage and not a funeral, so technically they are romances and not tragedies, but still.

Most of the established marriages are pretty awful, formed of people who barely tolerate each other at best and despise each other at worst. New relationships are entered into with negotiation, almost as business partnerships, even when actual affection is involved. And when a potential spouse who has objected to a match based on social standing relents, it’s not because passion has swept him/her away. Rather, it’s because he/she found out something further about the potential spouse like their family isn’t as unrelentingly tediously awful as first thought and there are some Members Of Quality present. For instance, Elizabeth Bennet and her atrocious family (except for sweet, naive Jane) but wait, she has the civilized lawyer uncle and aunt.

A lot of modern readers (and, let’s face it, viewers of dramatic versions of the books) forget or never knew that a good marriage was an upper class woman’s job. If she failed at it, she (or the daughters she misaligned) could face poverty or abuse with little alternative save returning home to live with her parents. If you’ve ever read Vanity Fair you’ve seen what Amelia Sedley– a woman with a very high class education and wealthy background– is reduced to in order to survive. (spoiler: she has absolutely no marketable skills and mostly goes hungry, surviving on handouts from relatives)

Austen’s heroines are women with very little options trying to make the best future for themselves they can. Maybe, like Marianne, they narrowly escape being “ruined” (spoiler: “seduced” (possibly raped), impregnated, and abandoned therefore to be hidden away because of The Shame) by A Cad only to find a decent marriage to a man literally old enough to be their fathers; maybe, like Jane Bennet, they luck out and have a few small difficulties before snagging a congenial easily-pushed-around wealthy dude with bitchy, unpleasant sisters;maybe they’re rescued out of grinding poverty (and a very close knit and loving family) to live among people who treat them like unwanted and threatening time bombs waiting to go off, only to find a love alliance with a cousin after all (but have spent over a decade being treated like crap by the rest of the family). She writes with humor and there are comedic elements and, yes, the novels have a Happy End. But there’s a grim undertone of desperation under the social skewering and witty banter.

If these women fail at catching a good husband, they are fucked.

posted under books, feminism, fiction, marriage, review | Comments Off on Jane Austen is not Romantic

Hello

March9

It’s been CRAZY BUSY around here lately so I haven’t been posting much, even though I’ve had posts rattling around in my head including a bit about Midwestern Hospitality and the urge to feed people until they explode.

Nesko and I went to Church yesterday, at the Serbian Orthodox Church he goes to for Easter and Christmas and no other time. Part of the service was intensely and incredibly familiar, even though it was in a different language. Other parts were really strange and outright foreign. I was most weirded out by possibly the most innocuous difference. I don’t know if I’m going to blog about it because there’s a very good chance I’ll sound like a jerk or something. I tend to be flippant, and it’s really easy for flippancy about religious worship to be taken the wrong way. Or to, you know, be a jerk about it. One of the hardest things for me was that I’m very used to Catholic Churches having misselettes with “The Order of the Mass” in it, which outlines what’s happening when, what you’re supposed to say, and how you’re supposed to act (IE sit, stand, kneel, cross yourself, etc). I couldn’t find that anywhere, although it might have been in Serbian and I just missed it. So I was very clueless as to what was going on (most of the service was in Serbian as well; there’s normally an English service at 9:30, this was Serbian with a little English mixed in) and that always bothers me.

We plan to go next Sunday as well. I’ve visited the church’s webpage and they have a huge community with a lot of stuff going on… folklore classes, Serbian language classes, a really kickin’ choir, job networking. Nesko’s sister sings in the choir and has invited him to join; I’ve been bugging him to do so for MONTHS now.

It’s kind of weird how not involved in his religion he is. Growing up, I went to Mass every single Sunday, First Friday in grade school, Holy Day of Obligation, etc. It was such a huge part of life, and intimately familiar. And then he and I go to the Church he thinks of as his Church and he doesn’t really know what’s going on or why. I mean, he’s not stupid, but it isn’t as much a part of his life as religion was mine.

If anyone knows anything about the Order of Service for Eastern Orthodox Liturgical Services (specifically Serbian Orthodox) please let me know or point me where I can find it. I’m mostly finding stuff about Greek Orthodox Wedding and Funeral services.

In other news, we still have a huge hole in our bathroom ceiling and the weather out here is going fucking insane. It’s warm! It rains! It’s cold again! Whoop, now it’s warm! Ha ha, spring is here! Wait! Now it’s cold! Who wants snow?

posted under marriage, Orthodox, religion | Comments Off on Hello

Marriage

May15

Nesko and I have been dating each other for about ten years and have lived together for almost four years, not counting all the times he’d “stay the night” (read: come over and not leave for a week or so) before we signed a lease together. We got engaged a few months before moving in together and then didn’t really rush towards getting married. We’d been together for so long and felt so complete as it was, that we didn’t see the need (other than for legal reasons) to get married. We were already committed to each other.

But then we did get married, and even though we both expected everything to be the same, it wasn’t. We were nervous before the ceremony, we were giddy during it, ecstatic after. We both walked around for a month or so after just giggling from time to time and calling each husband and wife because we could. I still get a thrill out of looking over at Nesko and seeing not my boyfriend, not my fiance, but my husband. It’s exciting and cool and awesome.

And gay folks in California can now have the same exciting, cool, and awesome marriage feeling.

That’s right. California has finally declared gay marriage legal. Hopefully the rest of the country will soon follow.

“…(R)etaining the designation of marriage exclusively for opposite sex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples may well have the effect of perpetuating a more general premise – now emphatically rejected by this state – that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects “second-class citizens” who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples,” the opinion authored by Chief Justice Ronald M. George said.

posted under life, marriage | Comments Off on Marriage

This is what passes for romance ’round these parts.

May9

Nesko and I have barely seen each other in quite a long while, most of our time together being spent in the mornings as he drives me to work before heading over to work with his dad on getting an apartment rental ready. I come home at a reasonable hour and he drags his tired self home much much later. I decided that tonight would be a good night to go on a date, since our weekend is entirely booked. I got cleaned up this morning, spritzed on some perfume, and grabbed one of my nice blouses, then realized that I had no clean black pants or jeans. The only clean pants I have are brown. My nice blouses? All are black and white patterned.  I made due with an emergency substitution (olive tank top with embroidery around the neckline, red cardigan, classier looking than it sounds), made harder by the fact that most of my shirts are dirty. Set behind schedule by the mad dash for clean shirt, Nesko and I headed out.

Where he revealed that his socks didn’t match and he wasn’t wearing any underpants. Because none of our damn clothes are clean.

Lest you think we’re incredible slobs, we’ve tried to do laundry several times. But there’s only one washer and one dryer for our apartment building. The people directly below us have 2 kids and there’s like 14 people living in the basement. Every time we’ve tried to sneak a load of laundry in, the washer’s been in use. So things have piled up and gotten out of hand, and I’m getting to the point where I’d sell a kidney for a washer and dryer in the unit we live in. Because even when the washer and dryer aren’t being hogged? Sometimes they don’t work. Plus it’s $2 per wash. Yeah, the dry is free, but I have a LOT of clothes that are hang dry and that’s a pretty effing expensive wash.

So date night tonight is going to consist of pizza, a movie, and folding laundry on the couch. Together.

Aww.

In other news, I’ve bagged up three garbage bags full of clothes that don’t fit me right or that I haven’t worn in a long time and they’re sitting in the hall waiting to be dropped off at AmVets or something. I’m kind of having mild anxiety about OMG WHAT IF I NEEEEEEEEED THAT STUFF but for reals, a lot of these items? I haven’t worn in ten years. I did sort some of it into the costume bin, but the rest is going. My closet is a lot emptier now and I’m going to cycle in quality clothing that fits well and I will look and feel better. The end. I’m trying to do the same with N’s stuff, but holy crap does he cling to faded shirts and butt-holed jeans. Yeah, ok, I get that he does a lot of dirty work and bummy clothes are good for that, but some of his stuff is just awful and hasn’t been worn the entire time I’ve known him and he won’t give it up. Because he might OMG NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED it someday. It’s a work in progress.

I think I’ve weeded the bookshelves of as much as possible. If I do any more I’ll bleed. The only way most of the remaining books will be shed is if we move overseas or something. It feels kind of good to get rid of stuff. My paternal grandmother is a hoarder and my parents both tend to accumulate stuff, although it’s well within normal bounds. After the multiple floods* and the fire that we all went through when I was a kid, I tend to be a bit clingy with items as well. I’ve lost so much stuff that had MEANING! that now I’m leery of letting anything go. So getting rid of clothes and books and old paper and stuff is terrifying and also liberating. It helps that I’m in a more stable place than I’ve been in a long time. Not that my life was all huge turmoil and drama or anything, but N and I have reached a really quiet place of long term commitment and understanding and so it’s easier to see what’s important and what isn’t important, and to let go of stuff.

 

 

*This warrants a whole other post, because there was real nastiness involved with the multiple floods we had. Srsly.

 

posted under life, marriage, Nesko | Comments Off on This is what passes for romance ’round these parts.

The State of the Brigid

May1

Sooo… just wanted to post some blather about what’s going on in my life. GRIPPING I KNOW.

I have a headache and have had it since before I woke up. A can of Coke, a small caramel latte, and a fistful of excedrin have done nothing for it. Neither has sucking back a bunch of water. I am a sad panda. I think a short nap of five or six hours would set me right.

I am going to be travelling for work, going to St. Louis MO and Rochester Hills MI in June and August respectively. I haven’t flown since the summer after I graduated eight grade, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be flying to both these places. Or taking Super Bus or something, I don’t know. I’m kind of looking forward to that and also apprehensive because I haven’t packed for a flight in… uh… my entire life. When we went to Australia, we were staying with friends, so didn’t need to pack shampoo and conditioner. Also, there were no liquid restrictions. I can’t use hotel shampoo and conditioner and soap because I get a rash. Oh, look! I’m finding things to worry about! Go me! Other than that, I’m looking forward to it. I love travelling and don’t get to do it very often.

I’ve been barrelling forward on changing my name. I have a new state ID, new voter’s reg card, and will get a new SS card and new debit cards soon. The guy at the bank said not to bother getting new checks unless I write a lot of checks, which I don’t. People keep asking me if it’s hard spelling my new last name. It’s not. No, I haven’t been practising signing my name, either. I just do it. My initials are now BB and one of my friends has started calling me BB Gun. D’awww. I won’t mention what they used to call me when my initials were BS.

I’m getting more and more worn out by my commute. I’m looking at apartments closer to where I work, but our lease is not up until December (Ugh! moving in the winter! They were 4 months late getting our new lease to us so it has a wacky end date) and we have a housemate whose commute and my commute are basically in opposite directions, so… I don’t know what we’re going to do about that. But taking 2-3 buses and a train is just major ugh, and a commute that ranges anywhere from an hour to two hours? That is very depressing. And also means that I get up, dash to shower, and run out the door with no seconds to spare, and usually no breakfast.

Our downstairs neighbors had another screaming match the other day, complete with slamming doors. This time it was the adults only and didn’t involve the teenaged kid who lives there. I’ve been with Nesko for ten years and we’ve never had a screaming match and I am so incredibly greatful for that. Has there been screaming? Yes. Usually on my end because I’m loud. But it’s rarely directed at him (usually it’s all “FUCK YOU COUCH WHY YOU GOTTA STUB MY TOE ARGH FUCK FUCK DAMN ASS POOP” or “HOLY CHRIST GALLON OF MILK WHY YOU GOTTA BE A SOLID BLOCK OF STINKY CHEESE I HATE YOU WHAT THE SHIT” or “COMPUTER! WHY GOD WHY I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME GIMME BACK MY FILE” or whatevs) and it blows over pretty fast and then Nesko is making fart jokes and shooting me with his kiss gun and I’m throwing dirty socks at him. Our love, it is a beautiful thing. Or a strange thing. Beautiful and strange.

I made sugar cookies last weekend. I haven’t made sugar cookies in years. I rolled out the dough and cut it out with cookie cutters and baked them and iced them with colored icing and it was fun. And then Nesko cleaned everything up! yay! And now I want to make sugar cookies again. Maybe a bunch of dinosaurs. Or sharks. Or bats… with knifes. I scored some pecan halves from work (organic pecan halves. oooooh.) and so want to make my turtle cookies, too. I wonder how well those freeze. Anyway, I’ve been talking for awhile about doing step-by-step instructions on baking, complete with photographs, so if Nesko and I are free this weekend we might do that as a special project. Or we might just watch James Bond movies and do laundry. We do so love living dangerously!

I’m allegedly receiving the Stimulus Package tomorrow. Dates these are sent out are based on the last two digits of your SS number. Lucky me, I’m spending mine on bills. What are you spending yours on, if you get it? Oh, I also might splurge and get a magazine subscription. See my above sentence about living dangerously!

I’m also cleaning out my closets. I have two garbage bags full of plus size clothing (size 18-22 ish) mostly business casual (light sweaters, vests, jackets, button down shirts, some skirts that are roughly knee length). if you live in Chicago and can come to my apartment let me know if you want to paw through these things and take some home. I will charge you like $1 per item.

 

 

 

 

 

So, you eloped, huh? That can only mean one thing…

March13

After being together for ten years and being engaged for almost four years, Nesko and I ran off and got hitched in a fairly spur of the moment way. We went from “wanna do this thing?” to “let’s do this thing” to “here’s a day, let’s pick up the license now and do it for reals.” And we did it, and it’s really awesome. One thing, though, is that I’d always wanted to get married in the fall and all our talk about getting married had to do with the autumn and we got married in February. Which is pretty much the exact opposite of what we’d planned back in the day when we talked about cake and dresses and live bands and stuff.

Yesterday I got the first hesitant, delicately phrased question.

No, I’m not pregnant.

I am, in fact, forcibly expelling the contents of my uterus right now which is, as always, exciting and thrilling. If anyone wants to ply me with salt, sugar, fat, and/or red meat I will follow you around all in love. My plans for this weekend involve steak, possibly one cooked with dark chocolate and potato chips.

So, no babies and no baby news, although Nesko’s biological clock has been ringing loudly for about a year and a half now. The dude rates the babies in “Pottery Barn Baby” and makes guesses as to what they are like, personally. “Oh, this baby, you know he’s really smart. You can tell. I bet he likes duplos a lot. Awww, look at this cute little girl. Isn’t she cute? Look at her. No, really, look. I’m pointing to the cute one. I bet she has a bunny and she likes to pet it. Are you looking at her?”

Rest assured, I will keep everyone updated as to the contents of my uterus.

Nesko already has names picked out and everything.