Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Diamonds and Coal

Crunchy Chocolate U (my undergraduate college) had a daily newspaper that would award figurative "diamonds" to the people who made good things happen, and "coal" to those who allowed bad, along with the occasional Cubic Zirconium for mediocrity. Here's my own list, and I think it's pretty balanced:

I didn't get any short or long-term fellowships this semester (coal), but I did get a piano and am going to spend a month in the Mediterranean (diamond).

My article got rejected from ELH (coal), but my panel got accepted for MLA (diamond).

Number of times I've been to my local coffeehouse in the past 3 months: 4. Number of times I've been hit on while there: 4. Weirdos: 1. Guy who blatantly hit on me in front of my then-boyfriend and not for the first time: 1. Cute, interesting potential dates: 2. (2 coal; 2 diamonds)

I'm not eating out (coal) but I'm becoming much more conscientious about what I eat and where it comes from. I've already lost 7 pounds by eating more healthfully (local organic veggies) and working out more intensively. I find I have much more energy (diamond).

Last night I made this wonderful dish from my new favorite food blog, Orangette, both of which my friend hd introduced me to last summer. It's called "Pasta with Five Lililes" and is composed of caramelized sweet onions, sauteed leeks, scallions, red onions, all melted until sweet (I braised them in a little white wine which makes them tangier) and tossed with pasta, ricotta salata, fresh chives, and a squirt of lemon. All of these bulbs are in season right now. I found everything except the red onion either in my garden or at a farmer's market. (yummy diamond)

And I'm really excited about my little heirloom vegetable garden. When I first placed these tiny, vulnerable plants and seeds in the ground I became really nervous. Aside from the odd pot of herbs, I've never grown anything edible before. Would they grow? I was positively paranoid. Then, mirabile dictu, they all grew, every one of them, even the seeds I put into the unadulterated dense clay soil, and I'm finally able to relax.

There are blossoms and tiny green nubs on the 'Early Girl' tomatoes, and the other heirlooms have shot up two feet. I've got "straight eight" and "lemon" 'cukes (which will be round and look like tiny yellow basketballs), and 11 heirloom tomato plants with wonderfully folksy and fantastical names, and what promises to be a whole spectrum of colors: Black Seaman, Mr. Stripey, Lemon Boy, Black Brandywine, Green Grape, Yellow Pear, and Stupice (which I have taken to calling "Stupid" and "Stultus" and sometimes "Doofus"). Of course none of these will be ripe until July and/or August, but it's fun to see them grow so fast. Expect to see more photos and blog-posts about gazpacho, caprese salads, and casual bucolic dinners over the next three months. (future diamonds in the rough)

I tend to make the most progress when I'm balanced, and not when I'm euphorically happy or woefully sad. I guess I'm in a kind of "tolerable tropic clime," to re-appropriate one of my favorite Donne elegies. Bring on the work! (Cubic Zirconium?)


sarahsouth said...

DIAMONDS to you for bringing this tradition to journalism in W-S. you should make it a weekly habit!

-class of '02

Pamphilia said...

Thank you! So happy to make your acquaintance.

I love this idea. Except that I could never do it weekly as I rarely have anything to bitch about (hence, no coal). My life is pretty disgustingly happy (at least rationally so). So it would probably be all diamonds and rainbows and sparkle (ick). Which would torment me to no end because I can't go for too long without irony. It's like oxygen- I'd suffocate. But I will definitely think about it.

Renaissance Girl said...

You'll have to tell me what you think of the Mr. Stripey. I think they're beautiful, but lack the flavor of other heirlooms. I'm a bit of a tomato freak, in truth, and have planted about 15 different varieties this year, including brandywine and lemon boy. So we'll have to compare notes as they grow....

Pamphilia said...

Yay, RG! I had heard the same about Mr. S (sung in an Avengers style British accent), but only after I planted two plants. I have to say that the plants are the fullest and most upright of all. They look more like determinate bush-tomatoes rather than vines, so I'm pretty happy with them at this stage. But I expect the flavor will be "meh." Flava-wise, I'm more excited about Black Seaman & Lemon Boy, too. Oh, and why are heirloom tomatoes so gendered anyway?

hd said...

someone stole my shipment of heirloom tomato seedlings from seedsavers! total coal.

Pamphilia said...

hd, that sucks! But hey, I've now made "Five Lilies" five times, and all thanks to you.

I actually prefer just buying tiny tomato plants and sticking them in the ground. I don't think I could start seeds indoors- the cat would eat them.