May 2003

wish me luck

Thursday, May 8, 2003, 7:35 a.m.

I don't know how it got to be May, and finals, so quickly. I feel much too close to endings. One more trip to Philadelphia, or was yesterday the last one? How many more chais at Kohlberg, and how many more late nights talking with friends?

I have a cell biology examination in an hour and a half - a less nostalgic ending, really, but a nervous one. If you read this before noon, send intelligent thoughts my way.


Friday, May 9, 2003, 1:42 a.m.

The examination went fairly well, though it was draining. I've spent the rest of the day in a post-exam buzz. Half-exhausted, half-overactive, wholly dazed. I feel too tired to do anything, and I want to do everything.

I'm dreading the summer for the endings that it signifies, but I am looking forward to the summer feeling of freedom. Walking down Monroe Ave on a sunny afternoon, stopping in all the used bookstores and daydreaming about homemade lemonade that I'll make later. Driving with the windows down, and the sweet smell of the North Country pouring in - the smell of grass and trees and cricket song. I'm excited that Catherine will be home, and even Daniel for a while. It may well be the last summer like this... a strange thought.

Too many changes, too fast... how am I growing up so quickly? How did I grow so much already? I hardly noticed the time passing...

(sometimes my heart feels so swollen and fragile that I know it's about to burst, love and blood spreading across my shirt in a brilliant red stain. sometimes I drench my pillow with tears. I am human. sometimes all I can feel is the fact that he is leaving, he is leaving and I wonder if I can remember to breathe. ... sometimes I forget to look at the ground when I walk, because the sky is so big and needs to be watched. sometimes everyone I see seems unspeakably beautiful, and I want to tell them all. twice, now, the two of us saw the smallest chipmunk sitting on his rock in the garden by the Presbyterian church, and yesterday I ate the best wonton soup in the world. do all these moments make up a lifetime, eventually? did they make a growing up?)

...sometimes, even with the world swirling around me (I have tornadoes too, Catherine) I feel something like peace.

one more...

Tuesday, May 13, 2003, 12:03 a.m.

Concert: Orff's Carmina Burana and Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, April 12 and 13. No more chorus.
Last Spanish class: Tuesday April 29. With cake. No more Spanish Conversation.
Lab report: handed in on Sunday at 5 p.m. No more Cell Biology.
Religion final: taken at 2 p.m. today, finished by 4. No more New Testament and Early Christianity.

And now, only three more hours remain: the Organic Chemistry final tomorrow at 2 p.m. I'm probably less worried than I should be, but I've been too busy to worry, and now there's not time. Ah well. It's only worth (mumblemumble) percent of my grade... but I'm doing well in the class.

And now to bed, for I have learned that all-nighters are only useful for writing papers - not for studying for exams. Being rested helps far more than cramming ever does.

How did the semester go so quickly? Swarthmore, o Swarthmore... you've kept me so busy working. Did I miss much while I was so busy? Harsh lover.

...But I don't sense affection
No gratitude or love
Your loyalty is not to me
But to the stars above

One more cup of coffee for the road
One more cup of coffee 'fore I go
To the valley below

-Bob Dylan

Goodnight, kids.

The Very First Days of Beauty Recipe

Friday, May 16, 2003, 1:08 a.m.

I have crumbs around my mouth and the sweet tart taste of cranberries in my mouth, lingering from the last of almost-too-many Moosewood muffins. How could I resist, when they were still oven-warm and crumbling moistly on my lips?

I've written less than I might have, these past few days, despite my freedom from schoolwork (oh at long last!) - I've been busy trying to live and memorize it all. How can it be Friday morning already? It seems like only a clichéd yesterday that Kate moved in with me, and now I need to be thinking of packing...

...but endings frighten me, and so I distract myself: with books, with late-night hilarity between friends, and with cooking. I look forward, as I do all year long, to my home kitchen again, where I can keep the ingredients in the same room as the stove, and if there are dirty dishes in the sink my list of suspects is three or fewer.

Yesterday, while Hollis was working studiously (or playing video games with Jim, but I didn't care!), I made us a late lazy lunch:

Wednesday Afternoon Omelette

6 eggs
1 tomato that needs a good use
1 small onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
several leaves of fresh basil (or dried, if fresh is lacking)
oregano (fresh if you have it, you lucky dog. I used dried)
sharp white cheddar (mine from Trader Joe's)
grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan
salt and black pepper

Turn the heat on low to medium beneath your large-ish non-stick or cast-iron skillet, as per Hollis' excellent instructions, and let it warm up for a bit. While the stove does its thing, get busy and chop your onion fairly finely. Add a bit of oil (olive or otherwise, or even butter) to the pan, and let that heat up for a while, too.

Amuse yourself for a minute by peeling and mincing the garlic (oh, for the love of God, don't use a garlic press!) or mincing the basil. When you notice that the oil's heated, but not smoking, toss the onions in there. Let them sauté on medium heat, stirring occaisonally, until they're nice and translucent and maybe just the slightest bit browned. Turn off the heat for the moment, and transfer the onions to a bowl. (Note: If you're fortunate, and happen to own more than one decent skillet, I suppose you could just cook the onions in one and the omelette in another. But that's for you well-to-do folks, not us college cooks. Besides, I only had to wash one pan this way.)

Chop your tomato into smallish cubes, and then ignore them until later. Don't eat all the lucious little tomato cubes. Well, one or two would be all right. And then maybe just one more... When you tear yourself away, turn the heat up a little under that skillet again.

Break the eggs all into a bowl and beat them with a fork. Add the chopped basil and garlic, and a liberal amount of oregano. Then some black pepper - freshly ground is always a perk, but either way will do - and some salt. How much? Oh, enough, ish. Beat them again so everything's all mixed up. Make sure the skillet's a good temperature, and pour the mixture in. Poke at it if you're insatiable, like me, then use the time while it cooks to grate the cheddar or slice it thinly. When the eggs are beginning to look cooked on top - not all dry, but less runny - distribute the onions, tomatoes, and cheddar on one half. Sprinkle a generous amount of the Romano over top. Fold the omelette over and cover the pan briefly so the heat will melt the cheese to gooey wonderfulness. Cut in half and transfer to plates, garnishing with the tomatoes that inevitably will fall out, a sprig of basil, and more Romano. Serve to two hungry college students.

Memorial Day

Monday, May 26, 2003, 8:50 a.m.

Oh. I am home.

I am also up too early for my taste, because in ten minutes my sister and I are driving to Syracuse to meet my parents and grandfather. Not for the first time...

I discovered three mix tapes last night that had been lost for years. This makes me deeply happy. As does this tea, and the smell of my clean hair, and thoughts of a conversation with a boy last night.

Time to hit the road. Whether you are pro-George Bush, anti-war, Communist, pro-praline ice cream, or whatever: remember the men and women who have served our country and stood up for something they believed in. Happy Memorial Day.

and here's to you

Saturday, May 31, 2003, 9:28 a.m.

What's this "graduating" thing that so many of you are doing? Stop it.

...I will miss you immensely, and I am so proud of you. Swarthmore is not for the faint of heart, and you've made it through many late nights, irrational professors, and Sharples meals. It sounds so very cliche, but the place really won't be the same without you.

What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
"Joltin' Joe" has left and gone away?
(Hey hey hey - hey hey hey)

-Simon & Garfunkle

Days of Beauty
Copyright Elizabeth McDonald 2003

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