The Weekly Yumster: 30 December 2011

Milwaukee 014Reporting from Milwaukee this week, we found ourselves at the amazingly wonderful and well-nigh irresistible Peter Sciortino Italian Bakery. They haven’t changed a bit since I was last there, over ten years ago. Thank God, because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.Milwaukee 011

Sciortino’s carries the full complement of Italian baked goods, from delicate cookies and hearty yeast breads, to luscious cannoli. Everything is super, and the place looks and smells delicious. I got a dozen cookies and figured that would be more Milwaukee 012than enough to be satisfactory.

What I don’t remember from the last time I was here was a display of gelato—a dozen delectable flavors in all. Sooooo hard to decide… Peach mango won the Milwaukee 013day—though any would have been excellent.

Next we stopped at Glorioso’s Italian Market. Though we only needed butter and eggs, it was SO HARD not to walk down each and every aisle, so varied an intriguing was the selection. However, lest we come home with pasta in unpronounceable shapes, and sauces of indeterminate usage, not to mention pocketbooks of flaccid emptiness, we quickly left. I’ll have to make a list first, next time.

Tickets and Timetables

South Bend Regional Airport

Image by mobilene via Flickr

Never thought I’d be so excited about getting a ticket. But it’s true. I’m going to the commuter train station at the South Bend Airport tomorrow, and they have a ticket vending machine. I guess it’s sort of like an ATM, but instead of cash, it spews out train tickets. Cool.

I’ve never taken the commuter train before, so it’s a bit of an adventure. I used to be a lot more adventuresome, I think, in my younger days. Maybe it’s because I had more money. It seems easy to be worldly and easy-going when you have plenty of cash for extricating yourself quickly from dicey situations. Not that I think riding a commuter train is the least bit dicey—I’m sure it’s perfectly safe. I’m more worried about going from one station to the next in downtown Chicago while being burdened down with luggage. (Just a carry-on, laptop, and purse, but it’s over twenty pounds, which doesn’t make for easy running.) I just hope there’s a ready cab. It’s too cold to be lugging luggage some ten blocks or so.

I’m not nervous about the Amtrak part of the trip; I’ve been riding Amtrak for almost thirty years now, so that’s a breeze. It’s this commuter thing. There’s a lot more trains, and more stops. I would imagine there’s a lot more people. But, on the bright side, it’s only about half the price! Which, of course, leaves me with more money to extricate with.

One nice thing about this commuter train schedule is that I don’t have to leave until almost 1:00 in the afternoon! But the sad part is that I don’t end up arriving in Milwaukee until 4:45… Bummer. I’m used to getting there almost two hours earlier. But I’m also used to boarding at 8:30, so it’s ultimately a big savings in time. I guess I’ll take that.

Maybe it’s just that I can’t wait to get there!

Never a Master

The final computer-generated Yoda as seen in t...

Image via Wikipedia

A learner I will be. Always. (Sounds a little like Yoda, no?)

I’m telling you, no matter what people say about how women are mysterious and hard to figure out, and full of PMS craziness, demanding, emotional minefields, and other nonsense, I think men are just as bad. Maybe worse.

I’ll be the first to admit it: stereotypes make life a lot easier. Men drive me nuts. And not just the kind that are like some strange species of shaved bears with furniture, burping and fist-pumping their way through another football game while they check out Kim Kardashian look-alikes in Hustler magazine. No, I’m also talking about the sensitive, women-respecting kind that listen when you talk and aren’t afraid to cry. The kind who read books, and not just comic books. (Excuse me: Graphic Novels.) Yes, the kind who open the doors for you and help you with your coat while murmuring sweet nothings comprised of equal parts John Keats and Steven Hawking. They are the best in bed (because they let you come first…and last), and out of it. Yes, as the song goes, let’s hear it for the boy!

But they still drive me crazy. No, I’m not getting all “emotional” here. Well, maybe I am. So what!

Okay, this is the year 2011 (for a few days yet), and I’m a modern woman who’s not afraid to take the initiative and call a man. But if you think I’m initiating all the calling, all the texting, and all the emailing, think again. You want me? Prove it. You, Mister Saying-You’re-Interested-In-Me! Yes, you. Can I get a call? Can I get an email? Can I get some text messages? Can I get some attention?

So, I did what I thought would be the right thing. I sent a completely honest message, via both text and email. Not nasty. Just saying that if he had time for this, that, and the other thing, surely he had time to call, etc., etc., Was I pissed? Yes. Was I a bitch? No.

He emailed and called, in approximately 2 minutes and 17 seconds. (Nope, I was not counting. I just made that up. I did…) WIN!

But it really wasn’t a win. No… it was more like a fail… Not quite an epic fail, but a fail. After hearing him and his lovely soothing voice, I felt like a loser. Like a demanding, emotional minefield. How could I ever have thought he wasn’t interested? He. Is. So. Interested. (Fist pump not required.)

I just never learn. But, he did call…so, maybe he learned, too… I don’t know, but I hope I’m learning.

Date a Guy Who Reads

Guy ReadingThis post is a response to A Girl You Should Date

Date a guy who reads. Date a guy who spends his money on books instead of video games, beer, or tickets to sporting events. He has problems with floor space because he has too many books. He doesn’t have end tables, but he does have stacks of books. Date a guy who has a list of books he wants to read, who has had a library card since he was in first grade.

Find a guy who reads. You’ll know that he does because he will always have an unread book with him, maybe in the back seat of his car, or just under his arm. He’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore (and not just the science fiction section, either), the one who quietly smiles when he finds the book he wants. You see the geek sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

He’s the guy reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at his mug, it’s already getting cool, because he’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. He might look astonished, as most guys who read are not likely to be interrupted, since most people don’t know what to do with a reader, especially if it’s a guy, and it’s not Sports Illustrated. Ask him if he likes the book.

Buy him another cup of coffee.
Let him know what you really think of Hemingway. See if he got through the first chapter of Atlas Shrugged. Understand that if he says he understood James Joyce’s Ulysses he’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask him if he loves Gandalf or he would like to be Gandalf.

It’s easy to date a guy who reads. Give him books for his birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give him the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give him Dante, Dickinson, Pound, Plath. Let him know that you understand that words are love. Understand that he knows the difference between books and reality but by god, he’s going to try to make his life a little like his favorite book. It will never be your fault if he does.

He has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to him. (He already thinks you do, from the first moment that you seemed interested in him…) If he understands syntax, he will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail him. (He already thinks you will—most women have been disappointed in him already.) Because a guy who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because guys who understand know that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. That while life is more than about rescuing the fair maiden, he’d really like to give it a try. He wants to be your hero. Let him.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Guys who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. (Which, as a powerful girl who reads, you can admit to doing. It’s cool. You don’t have to like it.)

If you find a guy who reads, keep him close. When you find him up at 2 AM clutching a book to his chest and silently weeping, pull him close and kiss him. Make love. Talk about it. You may lose him for a couple of hours but he will always come back to you. He’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

He will propose at a historical re-enactment. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time you’re sick. Over Skype. He may be past comic books (or not), but he still likes the pictures, especially when they’re of you.

You will start to cry, and laugh, all at the same time. You will wonder why your heart never before realized that there’s enough love in it for every single person in the universe. You will write the story of your lives, have kids (and cats) with strange names and even stranger tastes. He will introduce your children to Beatrix Potter and Guy Reading with Babythe Hobbit, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and he will recite Keats under his breath while you adjust his hat and make sure he has his gloves.

Date a guy who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a guy who can give you the most colorful life imaginable, and not just things from the Victoria Secret catalog. If you can only give him monotony, and stale hours and gossip about Jersey Shore, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a guy who reads.

Don’t get me started about the guys who write. Don’t go there.

Thank you, Rosemarie Urquico, for your original essay.

Silent Night

No MusicThis is the first Christmas in over twelve years where I’m not playing the piano. I’m not sure that I like it.

At first, the idea of having the holidays off sounded like a dream come true. Catholic churches have a busy holiday schedule, because, unlike most Protestant denominations, there’s a whole lot more going on in the month of December (and the rest of the year, too) than the usual roster of Sunday services and the special Christmas service, which, since Christmas does fall on a Sunday this year, did make it a little easier.

I stopped playing back in September, and it’s left a real empty place in my life. I’m not going to the local church at all, due to issues that are not going to be talked about in this blog. But because I’m usually really involved in my congregation (even when I don’t play), just going to a different church bores me. Oh, I enjoy it, but I don’t feel like I’m a part of it, except as an intellectual exercise.

This is one area where living out in rural America stinks. There’s no closer Catholic church than ten miles away, and I have a real financial issue with driving so far to attend services several times a week. So I’m pretty much doing next to nothing. I am NOT joining a different denomination. It’s not where I’m at. It’s not what I want.

It really sucks.

Patience Is Not My Virtue

Reckless Impatience

I just hate waiting. I want things to happen now. I want to get all my junk out of the house yesterday. I want to move to another apartment tomorrow. I want to get into a new relationship yet this evening. I want to have a party in a new house with my fabulous yet-to-be-completely-realized boyfriend by this weekend. Why do I have to wait?

Something’s Brewing

English: Depiction of Tomis Fortuna, Constanta...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m not a person who is known for being overly cautious. After all, my motto is “audentis Fortuna iuvat” (Fortune favors the bold). But for some reason, I’m feeling hesitant about a certain something. I can’t put my finger on it…exactly. I’m not afraid, but I am. I’m not nervous, but I am. It’s almost a fermentation, just under the surface. A bubbling of surreptitious activity that’s making me hum.

I don’t want to wreck this. What if this is what I’ve been waiting for? How will I know?