this proustian moment brought to you by world market

Y's family is relatively exotic. There are weekly phone calls to family members in other countries, in foreign languages. A charming aunt lives in a flat in Europe, just waiting for a visit from her American great-nephew. At holidays his parents bake traditional foods that, growing up, I didn't know existed. (like sufganyot at Chanukah. Why would America deprive its Jews of jelly donuts?)

I'm boring in comparison. My Russian grandmother did pass on her  delicious kugel recipe,  but let's face it: kugel is old news to any Jew who's ever been to a synagogue luncheon.

While shopping at World Market the other day I found my answer to his family's homemade jelly donuts and schnitzel. 

My eyes met that package of sprinkles and I swear I heard cheesy romantic music. In the middle of World Market, the rush of memories nearly knocked me over: the crunch of sprinkles on top of toast and the perfect combination of chocolate and butter. 

Because it turns out that I do have one exotic connection, a magical place where parents feed their children toast with chocolate sprinkles on top for breakfast. I don't remember much from the three years my family spent in Holland, but oh how I remember hagelslag. 

Or as I described it to Y when I got home, chocolate sprinkle toast. 

He approved. Is it possible not to approve? 

And in the game of exotic childhood treats that he didn't know we were playing until this post, I like to think I win.  Chocolate sprinkles for breakfast every morning > jelly donuts once a year. 

neurosurgery scars, part 2

I get it, neurosurgeons. You're angry that I managed to somehow blame you for the scar on my leg.

You were so angry, that you used your God-like status to insist that the universe repay me. And 48 hours after that blog post, while I was grocery shopping at Target, the universe caused the Earth to tilt ever-so-slightly. This imperceptible shift caused a can of black beans to roll from the top of my shopping cart (through the holes that were meant for chubby little baby legs) and sail to the floor, slicing my shin with its sharp lip on the way down.

Right next to my "neurosurgery" scar.

I've gotten over that, brain surgeons.

But then last week, you decided I deserved a harsher punishment and used your powers to move the cement stairs that lead to my back door just a tenth of an inch. And I tripped and skinned my other leg. And stubbed my toe. Like a 5 year old.

Okay. Fine. So maybe neurosurgeons had nothing to do with this. Maybe I'm just a klutz who shouldn't be allowed to use stairs and can't be trusted with canned goods. But that's just not as fun.

Trust me.

my soundtrack

I do this thing on trips, particularly when I'm flying, and particularly when I'm flying alone. I listen to one artist the entire duration, over and over again. Amazingly, I don't get sick of the music. Instead, it becomes the soundtrack to that trip and its memories.

I didn't realize I did this until last month's trip to Phoenix. When I uploaded my pictures, Ellie Goulding's "Lights" album -- the music that kept me sane for 10 hours of flying and a 100 degree walk through downtown -- popped into my head.
{I dedicate those lyrics to the cactus who attacked me}
Suddenly it was clear that I've been doing this as long as I can remember. John Mayer's Room for Squares reminds me of something. It's not a smell, a taste, or a touch, but at the same time it's all of those things. I bought that CD at the Irvine Spectrum in Orange County while visiting my brother and sister in law the day after my high school graduation. To this day, that music is a mixture of excitement and terror at the thought of college, the smell of my brother and sister in law's new house, and the predictability and openness of their cookie cutter desert neighborhood.
Coldplay's Speed of Sound is a cold summer day, running through Hyde Park and just making out the top of the London Eye. It's pride at taking a risk and studying abroad and curiosity at what would thrill me next in that foreign city.
She & Him is my perfect winter -- snowed in at a bookstore (Powell's, no less), and seeing the sky open up and just snow for the first time.
Sara Bareilles's kaleidoscope Heart is the first day of fall, walking along Lake Michigan, orange leaves, pumpkin donuts, best friends and spontaneity.
Even our honeymoon had an unintentional soundtrack, thanks to its proximity to the recent death of a pop icon.
I'm flying to Florida next week and now that I'm conscious of my soundtracking habit, I'll probably ruin it. But I'd like to at least do it to some good music, so any recommendations for the album I put on repeat? I'm thinking the latest Deathcab for Cutie or Adele.

the matchbook girl...

As a lover (hoarder) of magazines, it's no surprise that I'm falling hard for online magazines. This week I've been spoiled: last night I discovered the gorgeous The Violet and today Matchbook's June issue went live.

I've always been a sucker for surveys. I recall sitting at my parents' computer, age 13, trying to figure out how to answer each item in a chain survey in such a way that would win my crush's affection - in my case the answer was probably don't fill out chain surveys. Each month, Matchbook has someone interesting fill out their fun questionnaire, so in honor of today's release I'm going to take my turn at the questions. Because sometimes I like to think I'm interesting, too. (And because I'm already married so I don't have to worry about winning the affection of any boys.)

Thanks to Jaclyn Day for the questionnaire template, found here.

an awkward day

Today I accidentally locked Y outside in the rain for 20 minutes, only to get stuck in the rain myself and end up like a drowned rat on my doorstep, ruined suede shoes in hand. Karma, right? This awkward, wet day brought out the worst in both of us: my utter pathetic-ness... and Y's, um, awesome spelling.

My tale of awkwardness revolves around this guy:

the giant poisonous snake that escaped from the Bronx Zoo

You see, today was one of those days where I left my windowless closet of an office maybe once and spoke to a total of ONE person the entire day. So when I got home and Y asked me how my day was, I had nothing to talk about... except my new twitter friend.

I literally must have told 5 different stories about the stupid snake's tweets. I had to tell Y about how it went on a Sex and the City tour and declared itself a "SSSSSSamantha". And how it went to the Seinfeld restaurant. After going on about the snake for a few minutes, I stopped, thought about the conversation, and realized how incredibly alone in the world I am.

Y's tale of awkwardness occurred while writing the first draft of his personal statement, which is necessary for applying to residency programs. It really needs no explanation:

favorite song + i made you something! {wbthirty}

I do not have good taste in music. You've been warned.

There's a handful of songs that, when they show up on iTunes, I listen to the entire way through. I have song ADD, so, that's a big deal.

Most of them come from soundtracks. One of the first jobs I remember "wanting to do when I grew up" (right after vet; right before MTV VJ) was the very important position of Person Who Decides What Songs Go Where In Movies. I still completely appreciate that person; the right song during the right moment of a movie is one of life's simple pleasures.

Anyway. Favorite songs:

A few of my favorite songs are from Better Than Ezra. If you read my post yesterday about my "inspirational word art", there is one quote that is not inspirational in the least, but I love it so much I couldn't resist creating some word art and featuring it on my "wall of quotes". It's from a fairly recent Better Than Ezra song, and the chorus lyrics are:

Gulf breeze on the porch
me and my honey rocking back and forth
light it up again with my kin and friends underneath the yellow moon
Sweet dream, New Orleans
Mississippi river running over me
Pretty mama come and take me by the hand
Don't mock what you don't understand it's a southern thing

The song is about fugitives or something, but shhhh. I love the chorus.

And, voila:

I thought I would offer this out to anyone who might want it -- since I know at least one of my friends also loves that quote -- in case anyone else wants to print it out and hang it up in their office, or carry it in their wallet and pull it out anytime they get mocked for saying "y'all". (It is a totally legitimate word!!)

So if you are a proud Southerner who may or may not have a rocking chair on your porch and a soft spot in your heart for the Mississippi River, leave me a comment or e-mail me at and I'll send you the file.

my vicarious med school training is paying off/Chicago

As the wife of a med student, I am totally qualified to diagnose people.

So I'm diagnosing myself with Seasonal Affective Disorder -- the summer version.

I wouldn't say I get clinically depressed or anything, but this quote -- from someone who actually claims to have the disorder -- describes me perfectly. Not to be dramatic or anything...

''I actually feel kind of attacked by the sun. I feel like it's piercing into me, and I start to feel more and more desperate to escape it. I have a hard time organizing and managing daily life. By August, I'm barely able to function and don't really recover until autumn. October is reliably a good month. I feel like I'm being released from my summer, what I would call, jail cell.''

I used to think I hated summer because I was always The Pale Girl in a sea of tans or because my frizzy hair just did not cooperate. Now that pale is in and I have my hands on some frizz products that actually work I'm not in high school and don't care as much about fitting in, I'm positive it has something to do with the heat.

This picture just looks cold and it makes me happy.

All this to say that my trip to Chicago -- a plunge into fall, rather than Louisiana's gradual, 1 degree at a time version -- was the perfect medicine.

Wearing a scarf in September in Louisiana is almost unheard of

Red velvet pancakes from The Bongo Room and spending quality time with friends who don't mind laying on the ground for a photo op didn't hurt either. And the trip ended the way any good trip (or any day, really) should, with some very successful internet stalking detective work.

And I'm happy to say I wore the skirt that was subject to a drive by fashion critique with no negative comments. Success!

But a girl can only be away from home and live on donuts and pancakes for so long -- it was good to get home to these guys, just in time for blissful October.

a roshalution & lots of lists

There are lots of fun things about being Jewish, like being lifted up in a chair, Jewish summer camp, and being able to relate to more someecards than the average person:

But the best part about being Jewish is obviously having two new years, which means more new year's resolutions and more excuses to do some of my favorite things ever, make lists and goals (and, probably just like you, subsequently forget about them). It's not really customary to set goals at the Jewish new year, but I love lists and fresh starts so much I like to pretend it is.

The Jewish new year chooses not to focus on how we can improve our lives in the next year, but uses apples (which we have none of in our house) and honey to signify a sweet new year. We wait until Yom Kippur to really think about how we've screwed up in the past year.

So for this Rosh Hashana (translated: head of the year), which started Wednesday night and ends tonight, my resolution (roshalution? I like it.) is to be more creative. Between my cinderblock office, the lack of creative opportunities at work recently, and my very cut and dry graduate program where a "creative" presentation involves inserting video clips into a powerpoint (so outside the box...) I kind of feel like throwing a 60 pound object at someone.


So, I enrolled in a creative writing leisure class at the local college, which could turn out interesting since the last two times I took creative writing in college, I came out of it with a story called "Why the Girl Hugged the tree" (because Heath Ledger had touched it); a story about meeting a celebrity (Jennifer Aniston) and a story about a paparazzi who befriends a movie star (a fake one, because I was absolutely positive it would be published someday... snort).

I also signed up for this:

which is
"a creative photography school where we offer daily assignments for a set period of time. The school is not a photography 101 class ... At SFS we intend to get you shooting... Our ultimate goal for our students is that you begin seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. "

Basically, I love to take pictures but rarely do it, and having an "assignment" makes me more likely to use my camera. My photography history is not so great; I've always enjoyed it but have never been good at it. My high school photography class was an excuse for my best friend and me to hang out in the darkroom (that sounds scandalous, but what we really did was develop snapshots and make up dances to N Sync songs), and I had to withdraw from the college photography course I took because my professor hated my pictures and I was in danger of failing.

If you love lists and goals as much as I do, there are so many "projects" going around the internet: The 365 Project, 101 in 1001, 43 things, Wanderlists, Nano, LuluLemon's BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals -- they even have an online goal setter) and so many more I'm sure I'm forgetting. It's overwhelming and ridiculous, but sort of inspiring at the same time.

And who am I kidding... the most fun part of making goals is writing them down on cute stationery.

Lists that cost money:

Why didn't I think of that?

Y comes home almost every day complaining about how so and so in his class has never heard of [insert historical political figure here]. I usually nod, agree with him, head straight for Wikipedia, and spend the rest of the night feeling stupid at my lack of knowledge, so humor me for a minute while I pretend like I'm smart:

Anyone who knows me can vouch for my tendency to get bossy when it comes to grammar. It's a random habit -- I'm not really a perfectionist in any other aspects, but stick an apostrophe where it doesn't belong or misuse a homophone and you will most definitely hear about it from me.

And him.

That sounded menacing, right? Right? Well... it's not exactly true. Unless I'm close to you, I won't point out your mistake. I'll probably just post about it on my blog. To be honest, there isn't enough time in the day to rectify all of the spelling and grammar errors on signs and buildings around here. While in DC, staying on Georgetown's campus, I climbed onto a campus bus and saw a sign that said something like this:

To ensure your safety, please watch your step as you climb aboard the bus.

My heart almost stopped -- not only was the sign written in a complete sentence, the ensure/insure homophone had been used correctly! A sign at home (on our not-quite-as-prestigious-as-Georgetown campus) trying to convey the same message might have looked like this:

watch "STEP" on bus

Don't even get me started on the random quotation marks. Y snapped this picture the other day, just because he knew it would make me mad. So romantic:

The reason I bring this up: I just found an article about a guy who traveled around the United States correcting errors on signs, (apparently, he didn't find an excess of mistakes in any one part of the country, which I find hard to believe) and wrote a book about his adventure. I have three thoughts on this:

A) That is awesome.
B) Why didn't I think of that?
C) They'll give anyone a book deal these days, won't they?

Anyone else out there have a pet peeve that they get overly sensitive about? My other pet peeve is the sound of someone eating a banana. GROSS.

blah, blah, blahg*

You know how people say dogs start to look like their owners?

Well, I think my blog is starting to act like me. It can't decide what genre of blog it wants to belong to: Healthy eating, where the food I consume daily gets listed in hopes of inspiring others to eat like me? Sounds kind of boring, but you should see the free samples Carrots n Cake gets ;) Fashion, where I take pictures of my outfits and list what stores they came from? It may seem shallow, but some of my favorite blogs like Kendi Everyday and The Chloe Conspiracy get it right. Cooking? Where I document the recipes I make so you can, too? Sure, except a) I'm a terrible cook, and b) When I do cook or bake, I get most of my recipes from Annie's Eats or Homemade by Holman, so you might as well just read their blogs.

Okay, so maybe my dog resembling owner analogy wasn't the best. My blog is obviously ADD because it's my puppet, and I'M blog ADD.

Keeping up with the number of blogs I subscribe to is like a second job; I read blogs that review books, in anticipation that someday I'll read The Diary of Anne Frank and can not feel guilty about reading for pleasure. I read the aforementioned (and then some) cooking and fashion blogs. I even read blogs on organizing in the hopes they will make me organized. I read articles that are linked to from the handful of public health blogs I read. And I read Perez Hilton because, well, I'm addicted. My name is Daci, and I'm a blogaholic.

I guess I feel like I my little blog has to keep up with the ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THREE blogs (on 10 different topics) that I subscribe to. A random sampling from my iPhoto "possible pictures for blog" folder can attest to that.

Pictures taken in case my blog decides to be a cooking blog:

Or a house blog:

Or a fashion blog:

But when it comes down to it, I think my favorite blogs are the ones where totally normal people manage to keep me entertained by sharing their completely normal lives. And since I don't really excel at anything (except maybe owning a cute dog), well, that's really my only option.

All this to say that I hope my little blog audience won't judge the randomness and ADD, because it's not going away. Have I mentioned I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up? More on that later.

*I'm aware that blah, blah, blahg is the name of a blog. I read that one too.