How I learned to enjoy cooking

chocolateFour years ago, I moved from California to D.C. to pursue my Big Life Dream at the time. I rented a spacious, reasonably priced northern Virginia apartment with an acquaintance from a previous summer program, and things seemed to be going pretty well. Then one night, she took a phone call while we were watching a movie in the living room. She made the egregious mistake of putting the caller on speaker before first announcing there was an audience.

“So I got your text and wanted to talk to you about your roommate,” her sister said.

“I’m right here,” I said before she could go on and make the situation even more awkward than it already was.

“Yup,” my roommate replied sheepishly.

“Oh, just wanted to say she’s awesome!” the sister said.

Yeah yeah yeah. Later on, I asked my roommate why her sister felt the need to have a discussion about me. She’d meant for it to be a private conversation, but I didn’t want her harboring any bad thoughts about me.

“Well, it’s just about you not liking cooking or trying new things,” my roommate said.

A southern belle, my roommate lived to cook. She was great at it too. But I didn’t love the fact that she and her sister viewed my disdain for the kitchen as a major character flaw, let alone one for them to have such intense opinions about. It’s common to complain about roommates, but really? You’re going to trash talk me to your family because I don’t appreciate all the same things you do? Some people like to cook, some people like to eat, and some people merely eat to live. For the longest time, I ate to live, and it really bothered me that others felt they could pass judgment simply because I didn’t subscribe to an outdated notion that women should embrace cooking.

I was obviously pretty worked up about this, as I dedicated an entire blog post to my hatred of cooking at the time:

I cursed the kitchen all night long. If I have to get hurt somehow, I’d rather be in pain as a result of a rock climbing accident or something else I enjoy doing. But really, if I had to go to the hospital in the aftermath of cooking, which I loathe infinitely, I’d be livid for months on end and probably assume that karma was punishing me for despising the Betty Crocker lifestyle.

If I ever make lots of money, my first big purchase will be a cook because I absolutely cannot stand spending any time preparing food. I respect those who love doing this, but I find it rather dangerous, boring, and tedious. I’d rather be writing an article, talking to friends, doing yoga, practicing French, or interviewing a story source.

So, pots and pans of boiling water, you can all go to Hell.

Buzz off!
Buzz off!

OK, crazy!

Up until recently, I’ve only done the bare minimum in the kitchen. I lived off mac n’ cheese, both organic and Kraft, had Campbells’ soup at least twice a week, and occasionally made pasta. My excuse was that I needed to save money, but truthfully, I was too lazy to make an effort. I also disliked the reality that good cooking results from trial and error. I didn’t want to waste my time, money, and calories on something that might not work out. It was much better to go for what I knew: mac n’ cheese, soup, and spaghetti.

Life is different now. Given my chronic gastritis (which was likely provoked by excessive consumption of processed foods), I have to follow a healthy diet, and that means cooking must play a more significant role in my life. Aside from my health demands, I actually like cooking now, as it’s another opportunity for my boyfriend and I to try new stuff together.

For a while, we were so exhausted after long workdays that we only wanted to bake chicken patties and fake burgers for dinner, but we’ve had a lot of fun cooking over the past week or so. It keeps us busy, engaged, and attentive, and the finished product is always satisfying.

On Friday, we made steak and spinach, both of which I absolutely loved:

steak and spinach

The steak was perfect, but as we learned with the spinach, adding salt to the garlic and vinegar mix makes all the difference. The following night, we had leftovers and remembered to sprinkle salt onto the spinach, which was way tastier the second time around. That kind of trial and error I can handle. I guess it’s the disasters that intimidate me, but those come up in all areas of life. I just have to be ready to learn on the fly.

Next on our list is spaghetti and meatballs. I can’t totally abandon my love for pasta, but I can put some iron in the picture and hopefully rebuild my strength following last month’s health scare. When I get confident enough, I’ll attempt the pizza + egg combination, although tomatoes aren’t so good on my weakened esophagus. Just this once, all will be well:

pizza with egg

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My appetite is back and I couldn’t be happier

burrito
Can’t wait to have one of these in Cali!

For a short period of time in college, I was a stress eater, which was odd to everyone who knew me because I actually lose my appetite when things aren’t going in my favor. One person said my lack of appetite was a way of withdrawing from life. Though I found that a bit dramatic, there’s definitely a connection between not enjoying food and being in a state of discontent — at least with me.

A little more than two months ago, I lost my job. The first few weeks away from the office were pleasant, as I’d been sleep deprived and in need of a summer break of sorts. I saw movies, called friends, met up with people for drinks and coffee at their convenience, exercised daily, and caught up on all my favorite TV shows. I had the freedom to spend my time however I wanted, and though I indulged in Mexican food here and there, I had no real desire to eat. I’d forget to have meals or just choose to skip them entirely, not because I had an eating disorder, but because I wasn’t hungry.

I’m a huge fan of carbs, so when the thought of having those seemed like a burden, I knew something was seriously wrong. I mentioned my loss of appetite to a friend, who thought I had situational depression. At first, that didn’t make sense, as I believed depressed people did the opposite by eating their misery away and gaining weight. Both extremes can mean you’re in trouble, and for almost two months, I was. Obesity is dangerous, but undereating could shut down your organs.

A couple weeks ago, I glanced at my pale, tiny arms after scanning some horrifying Instagram photos of me and my friends. My face was sunken in, my eyes had lost their sparkle, and my hair was thinning out more than usual. I was withering away. I rushed to the fridge to down a couple glasses of 2% milk, remembering my mom’s boyfriend’s comment about milk being a food and not a drink. Still hungry, I ordered a giant bean, cheese, and rice burrito from Blockheads. It filled me up momentarily, but wasn’t enough. All the carbs in the world wouldn’t help me in that moment because I’d been skimping on meals for too long.

My appetite returned after I made the decision to move to LA, so that tells me I’m back on track and myself again. It’s hard for me to get excited about good food when I’m nervous or feeling lost, but that’s not an issue right now. If anything, I’ll have to start watching my carb consumption, as I can’t just have three slices of pizza and a burrito in a day to make up for lost time anymore.

With that, I’m excited to check Serendipity 3 NYC off my New York City bucket list tonight. Sara and I are meeting there for dinner in a little bit and I’m ordering the famous frozen hot chocolate in addition to my hearty dinner, which I haven’t yet decided on. I’ve been to the Serendipity 3 in Georgetown, but I can’t very well leave Manhattan without visiting the original restaurant, so here’s to a night of comfort food, awesome conversation, and embracing my inner fat kid.

Entrance to Serendipity 3, the famous New York...
Entrance to Serendipity 3, the famous New York City dessert restaurant, as seen in the movies Serendipity and One Fine Day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Video post: How I totally butchered Alfredo sauce

For the longest time, I wanted to avoid including video posts in my blog, as I sometimes feel news outlets and websites get  slack on writing and decide to just throw up video clips they didn’t even make to avoid doing any work. Readers, of course, have no interest in reading — they want it all fed to them. It’s tough for those of us who don’t think videos tell the full story.

But now that I’m finally transitioning into screenwriting (attending a workshop tonight, just finished applying to this, and am also going to start writing for a web series soon!), I need to be more open-minded about the types of things I put on my blog. Dan suggested I start a screenwriting/entertainment blog, and that’s definitely in the cards. Before I do that, I want to diversify my content, so I am going to start publishing YouTube videos to this blog.

I made my first video this afternoon as I waited for my soup to heat up. Sorry about all the hair flipping, clearly I have some nervous tics that need to go, but aside from that, I enjoyed making this video, which is all about my failed attempt at cooking Alfredo sauce. It was supposed to taste like Alfredo, but instead came out like gravy:

Ew
Ew

It could even pass for mashed potatoes — gross. I’m not nor will I ever be a cook, and if you want to listen to me rant about it for three minutes rather than read a long-winded, wordy case against the kitchen, watch my video below. Again, sorry if it disappoints — I’m not a YouTube expert like some of you folks.

What should I “vlog” about next? I’m thinking of sharing details on my screenwriting workshop, but if there’s anything else you’d like me to talk about, I’m taking suggestions. You guys are the video blog experts, NOT ME. Maybe someday I will be. I gotta say, it was liberating and energizing to complain about cooking for almost four minutes. This YouTube experiment might actually be cathartic — wish me luck.

My life, explained in an article

I’ve been a picky eater my entire life, much to the chagrin of my friends and family members, so I was nearly brought to tears when I stumbled upon a Fox News piece on the science of picky eating. As it turns out, there might be an actual disorder behind the “bad habit” of eating like a bird.

I couldn’t help but immediately identify with Bob Krause as I read this passage:

Krause likes peanut butter, crackers, grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate milk and little else. More adventurous meals look like “a plate of barf,” he told LiveScience.

“If I could snap my fingers and change, I would,” he said, explaining his pickiness helped ruin two marriages, limited his career options and makes most social occasions sources of stress.

And this is exactly how I feel. Lots of foods smell or look like vomit, so my diet is highly limited. As the article states, picky eating can put a damper on social and professional lives, and there’s almost no way of getting around this.

“People who are picky aren’t doing this just to be stubborn,” said eating researcher Nancy Zucker of Duke University.

If only the rest of the world would understand this reality. None of us choose to live this way, we merely cannot physically stomach some of the food that’s put in front of us. It could be psychological, and I’m sure I’d scarf down some of the repulsive meals if I absolutely had no other food source, but I’d definitely get sick. It’s truly unfortunate that food has to play such a major role in our culture. I must say, I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only person with such an aversion to adventurous foods.

Julia Child’s Kitchen, repulsive food following

“Julia Child” and “repulsive food” don’t belong in the same sentence, but in this picky eater’s world, where pretty much 70 percent of food is considered disgusting and gag-worthy, these words can, in fact, go together.

Yesterday, my roommate, her college friends, and I ventured to the Smithsonian museum to visit the Julia Child exhibit. Lots of fun. Even though I am pretty much the pickiest eater out of anyone I know and eat like a five-year-old, I’m a huge Julia Child fan, and I appreciate the work that goes into a good meal.

Here are some excellent photos from the cheery exhibit:





Sounds like me!

 

 

Total blast, and I definitely felt myself salivating over the chicken Julia Child was cooking on TV. Most of us felt kind of sickened by the next image of her cooking a dead pig because it essentially looked like it had just gotten killed, but I’m sure our shock is just a generational reaction.

We spent an hour watching Julia Child’s TV show, and every once in a while, Martha Stewart’s program popped up and we all gasped. Martha Stewart doesn’t have half the charm and warmth that Julia Child had, but as my friend Lenore said, not everyone can have an animated personality. Not everyone can be Julia Child.

Afterward, everyone wanted to go to Teaism for dinner, and even though I didn’t like pretty much everything on the menu, I chose to suck it up and be an adult for once.

I had Thai chicken curry, and this particular plate had coconut juice. What moron thought it would be a good idea to combine sweet and salty foods? I adore curry but detest coconut sauce, so I was kind of grossed out.

It’s safe to say I will never grow up/break myself of this picky eating habit, and I’m perfectly OK with it. If I ever decide to travel to India, which I’d love to see someday, I’ll have to man up, but judging from the food horror stories I’ve heard from friends, I definitely foresee myself falling over dead on the side of a road upon munching on local cuisine. Knowing my luck, I won’t make it. I literally don’t have the stomach for it.

Maybe later in life, I will 🙂

UPDATE: Well, my roommate’s best friend, Mikaela is a genius. I’ve had a migraine all day, and she fed me dark chocolate, which cured my illness. This evening, we’ll be eating cheesecake, burritos, and probably ice cream. Hooray for health and restored hunger!

At war with the kitchen, in love with words

I’m sorry for the long hiatus, but you can rest assured knowing that all is well in my world.

On Wednesday, I began interning at an exciting 24-hour news website. I absolutely love the newsroom and staff members, and this gives me something to do while I job search. Who knows, this may even turn into a job (that’s what I’m hoping for). After all, some of the current reporters started off as summer interns, but let’s not get too excited yet.

Anyway, I’m the happiest I’ve been in four months. I realized this when I met up with my co-interns/co-workers on Friday night. It’s so nice to be around people again. Ever since I left Tucson in July, I’ve been kind of lonely, being that the majority of my college friends have either moved to other parts of the country or stayed in Arizona. I kind of got used to just doing my own thing, but it wasn’t very fun. As much as I adore my roommate Anna, I missed having group interaction. Whether or not this is a good thing, I thrive off social consistency and large groups.

I’m glad to be working around people who love new ideas and opinions, and the interns are all really smart. Some of the interns are recent grads like me and the others are college seniors. Everyone is nice and excited about their work.

It’s too bad I can’t bring the same kind of enthusiasm to the kitchen. As I’ve said before, I really, really, really hate cooking, mostly because it’s time consuming and I’d rather be doing something else. I can cook, I just resent it like crazy.

So, you can imagine the fury I experienced when I nearly got scalded the other night.

I got home from a night out with my co-workers and decided I wanted some pasta. Unfortunately, this ended up being a dangerous endeavor on my part.

Somehow, I dropped the pot of boiling noodles into my sink, sending a few droplets of water onto my face.

I wasn’t in pain, but I immediately ran to the bathroom and splashed cold water onto my cheeks and eyes.

Thankfully, my face wasn’t red and my vision was perfectly fine. I looked just like I did before, and I had no red marks or scratches of any kind. I was merely shaken up.

I’m lucky that my eye was fine and that I didn’t get any marks at all whatsoever on my face. The water wasn’t all that hot, I guess.

Even so, I cursed the kitchen all night long. If I have to get hurt somehow, I’d rather be in pain as a result of a rock climbing accident or something else I enjoy doing. But really, if I had to go to the hospital in the aftermath of cooking, which I loathe infinitely, I’d be livid for months on end and probably assume that karma was punishing me for despising the Betty Crocker lifestyle.

If I ever make lots of money, my first big purchase will be a cook because I absolutely cannot stand spending any time preparing food. I respect those who love doing this, but I find it rather dangerous, boring, and tedious. I’d rather be writing an article, talking to friends, doing yoga, practicing French, or interviewing a story source.

So, pots and pans of boiling water, you can all go to Hell.

Buzz off!

In two weeks, I’m going to a wedding. In 3.5 weeks, I’ll be at the UofA Homecoming, which I can’t stop thinking about. Except when I’m interning. Thank you, news site, for giving me something other than my former life to focus on. I finally feel like I’m moving on from college. Good riddance.

Union Station, toxic foods, adorable babies

The first rules that preschoolers learn are to stand in line and wait their turn.

Even though these are the most basic and primitive of social instructions, some people fail to respect the relevancy and necessity of order.

This morning at Union Station, I had a rather inspirational and feel-good pep talk with a D.C. contact. By the end of the discussion, I was feeling excited about life, encouraged, and confident in my job search.

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm went on hold the moment I stepped into the public restroom and saw women pushing each other, cutting in front of others, and disregarding the line that had formed. At least four ladies and one teenager moved right past me when it was clearly my turn to move forward and use the next vacant stall.

With that, I quickly realized the boundaries of public restroom usage in Union Station. There are no regulations, and etiquette is nonexistent. No one wants to spend much time in the lavatories, and for good reason. If nobody wants any sort of bathroom code, well, I suppose I’ll just have to adapt and learn to fend for myself.

It’s just interesting to me because I’ve always made it a priority to be considerate of strangers and passersby. In grocery stores, I push my shopping cart as far as I can to the end of the aisle because I don’t want to be in anyone’s way. If I’m seated on the metro, I hold my purse in my lap so somebody else can take the chair next to me. I hold doors open, wait my turn, and always ask women with children or older folk if they’d like to go ahead of me in line. I’m not trying to sound like the most polite person in the world, I just believe in good manners and common courtesy.

But, it’s helpful to know that not all places operate this way.

On the bright side, I did happen to see an adorable baby on the metro this afternoon. He was hands down the cutest infant I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. No offense to my lovely nephews and niece, but this kid may actually top the list of cute babies.

I mentioned this to the dad, who replied, “Well now, that’s going to go straight to his head!” Let him revel in it, though.

Times like that make me deeply sad about the fact that I live so far away from my nephews, especially Sawyer and Luke. I wish I could visit with them more often, but this isn’t practical or logistical right now. I used to wish the same thing about my older brothers when I was younger. I was 7 years old and they were both off at college. As much as I wanted to hang around them, I knew they were happier at school than home. Hopefully Sawyer, Luke, Hannah, and Cullen can someday understand that my life is immensely better on the east coast, where the pace meets my standards and atmosphere inspires me.

In other news, all is well on the home front. My roommate and I had salmon, green beans, and brown rice for dinner last night. It’s peaceful and relaxing to finish off our days with healthy, protein-heavy meals, and I can’t help but remember all the family dinners I was lucky to have during my childhood.

I greatly enjoy having a pseudo family meal with my roommate, although I can tell she’s becoming impatient with my less-than-adventurous eating habits.

Yesterday at Trader Joe’s, she asked me, “What kind of meat should we get?”

It was then that I realized that she’s constantly consulting me on what we should eat for dinner. I feel bad about this because I don’t want to be the sole person that makes choices. She should certainly have a say in our meals.

“Why is it always my decision?” I said.

“Because I’m significantly less picky than you.”

We laughed, being that my parents, siblings, and friends have never been able to break me of my picky eating tendencies.

I won’t apologize, though, nor will I change. I tried to lay it all out for my roommate in basic terms:

Aesthetics are important in most facets of life. For me, the appearance of food is crucial to my enjoyment.

For example, I look at this piece of French saucisson and want to dry heave into my toilet bowl:

It’s worse than it looks, too. I’ve never tasted blood before, but I can imagine that a lamb’s leg smothered in a pint of pig’s blood would resemble the taste of saucisson. I mean, when you see saucisson, don’t you think of freshly severed limbs? Bleh….

Another poultry that absolutely repulses me to no end is duck.

For me, duck is a toss up between beef jerky and burnt bacon. Swallowing it physically hurt, and of course I gagged by no fault of my own.

The most disgusting things I’ve ever tasted were anchovies. Unfortunately, my “anchovies incident” is an unforgettable one.

While in France, I was closed off to much of the meat products that my friend’s family served. I could tell that they were taking my habits to heart, and who could blame them?

To make my friend’s father happy, I agreed to try some anchovies, which he loved to consume alongside his baguette.

As soon as I stuck the anchovies onto my tongue, I’d lost all control. My body literally rejected the food, ejecting the anchovies out of my mouth and back onto my plate. It was the only instance in which I’ve absolutely lost control with food. I flung forward and spit it out against my own will. The anchovies were just too salty, sodium-filled, and gross for me to consume.

Going back to what I said earlier, appearance plays a big role in my meal satisfaction. I don’t necessarily want to munch on anything that looks like it’s been soaked in blood (saucisson).

Concepts are important, too, although I’ve been able to get past quite a few horrific dining scenarios.

Every time I eat foie gras/pate, I tell myself, “I am eating a liver right now. How is it that I like this so much?”

Somehow, I manage to forget that foie gras is a liver, yet I can’t get my head around the fact that some people eat muscles, pig feet, sheep testicles, intestines, etc.

So, much to the disappointment of my foodie roommate, I will not be up for any ethnic restaurant outings. Dub me an uncultured American if you’d like, and I certainly won’t hold it against you.

I feel slightly bad because my roommate has expressed an interest in going to Lebanese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, and Indian restaurants. Much to my discontent, there are plenty of these sorts of eateries in the D.C. area, being the metropolis that it is.

I typically pull the, “let’s not eat out, we need to save money,” card, but you, my faithful readers, know the real reason why I won’t be going to these places. She knows as well, and I can see that it kills her a little inside every time I allude to my dislike for pretty much all refined cuisine.

It also saddens me that I inadvertently dictate the meals around this house.

As I’ve told my roommate a million times, it’s quite possible to eat two separate meals at once. For example, I told her that she can get Lebanese takeout for herself while I make myself a sandwich.

I don’t do this on purpose, but I can’t ignore the fact that my stomach cannot physically handle lots of food. I enjoy Bosnian dinners, yet I always feel sick afterward. Too much red meat is damaging to one’s health, and spicy sauces are difficult to digest.

What do you know? Yahoo just published a story on the 5 foods people fear.

The five most singled out foods were:

* Mushrooms
* Raisins/dried fruits
* Cheese
* Eggs
* Milk

Out of all those, I only dislike mushrooms, to which nutritionist Sondra Kronberg says, “Mushrooms are technically a fungus, so it makes sense someone would equate it with germs and growths. Maybe even subconsciously they think they’ll contract a fungus from the food.”

The Yahoo writer also included this information:

New research suggests picky eaters have a genetic makeup that predisposes them to food sensitivity. According to new evidence, heightened reactions to tastes and textures–especially when it comes to vegetables– may be something you’re born with. This just adds more ammo to the picky eater argument, which has actually become a movement of late with internet forums and live support groups mobilizing the long brushed-off. There’s something comforting to the fact that you’re not alone in being incredibly high-maintenance about something incredibly specific.

I’m not crazy after all.

Me<we

There’s definite irony in simultaneously blogging, watching Julie and Julia, and allowing someone to cook for you.

That’s right. As I typed up my blog post on the 22 things I’ve learned by age 22, I occasionally glanced up at the TV screen and called out to my roommate, who was preparing chicken tacos in the kitchen.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the title, Julie and Julia is a film about Julie Powell’s former food blog and experiences trying to perfect all Julia Child’s French cooking masterpieces. The movie tells the story of a writer/cook. If you combine our talents, my roommate and I embody Julie Powell.

My roommate and I typically make dinner together, but I was far too engrossed in my blog to set down my laptop and make any meal contributions. Also, cooking isn’t exactly my forte, nor does it bring me the kind of pleasure that I find in writing.

Thankfully, she let me off the hook tonight, and I was still rewarded with delicious food:

As we continue searching for full-time work, we come to each other for moral support. I’ve found myself using the word “we” about 100 times a day, and it’s actually rather endearing to feel like I have a steady stone here in D.C.

When my roommate and I went to the Chi Omega networking event last week, everyone assumed I was married.

“How long have you and your husband been together?” asked one woman.

“Oh, I’m single,” I said, laughing.

“It just sounded like you were married because you keep saying ‘we moved here, we like living in northern Virginia.'”

With that, I explained that I was referring to my awesome roommate. I guess this is how married people talk!

As much as we love having endless conversations on politics, relationships, the world, college, and general news, we both agreed that it’s important to make more friends in the area. She encouraged me to talk to people in my yoga studio, although I’m still a bit too timid for that, and she plans on making friends in her dance class.

In time, new connections will develop. I’m not as worried about establishing friendships as I was at the start of freshman year at college. My former concern is pretty funny considering the fact that I had such a large pool of classmates to choose from back then. In the adult world, you have to make the extra effort to acquire new friends. Just picture Paul Rudd’s man dates in I Love You, Man, and you have me.

Venting strangers, cooking, sorority events

As I stepped out of the metro train at about 3:15 yesterday afternoon, I found myself walking alongside an older woman, who wore a ponytail and brown pantsuit.

After knocking on one of the train windows, she turned to me and said, “That lady in there made my day.”

“Really? How so?”

“Because my boss is a Satan incarnate.”

Instead of asking her to expand on “how” and “why” her manager was impossible to be around, I simply listened and offered my apologies. There’s nothing more frustrating than being told to “man up” when you just need someone to listen and say, “I’m sorry, that’s horrible.” Problem solving can wait.

“I watch the clock all day, and as soon as it hits 2:30, I get out. And now, I’m off to my other job, which I love.”

And then she was gone. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, it’s hard to have these sorts of discussions on the metro. For the most part, riders are too exhausted to engage in conversation. While I’m not a fan of small talk (i.e. “why did you decide to move to D.C? Why did you go to college in Arizona?), I always enjoy talking about the anxieties that keep other people awake at night.
This woman may despise her supervisor, but she still maintains a better attitude than the majority of unsatisfied employees. I admire anyone brave enough to vocalize and open up about their concerns. Ranting can be cathartic.

It’s unfortunate that so many people hate their bosses. Gradually, they’ll resent their job, and work will become a chore. I’m going to go ahead and make the same naïve vow as millions of other fresh-out-of-college job seekers, “I’m never going to be that way.” I’ll do whatever I can to avoid this fate, however. Why spend the majority of your life doing something that gives you stress-induced stomach pains?

That evening, my roommate and I went to a sorority networking gathering. She was a Chi Omega at an eastern school, so my roommate was hoping to meet some fellow Greeks in the D.C. area.

As soon as we arrived at the restaurant and began meeting the other women, I felt like a complete fraud. I could never be a con man or CIA agent because I can never lie about anything. I can’t even omit a lie.

I showed up to the sorority meeting because I didn’t want my roommate to attend the event all alone. Either way, she would have been fine by herself. She was on cloud nine the entire time. I think she really misses her sorority sisters, just as I miss my UA and Wildcat friends.

As it turned out, no one cared when I announced that I was not, in fact, a Chi Omega. I had some great conversations and made good work contacts. All of us really loved our college experiences, so we had that in common. More than anything, it’s nice to meet with a group again. I miss all the social opportunities of university life.

My roommate has taught me to cook, something I’ve never particularly cared for. It takes too much time, and who wants to be a slave to cuisine? There’s nothing more depressing to me than the thought of someone who only finds pleasure in food. But, I’ve recently learned that good eating habits make me much happier and more energized.

Last night, we had whole wheat pasta, marinara sauce, and hamburger meat for dinner.

I’m not crazy about whole wheat pasta, which is slightly more flavorful than sandpaper. For the health benefits, I’ll continue eating it under the condition that I drown it in salt and meat sauce.

So far, we’ve (yes, we) made salmon, chicken Alfredo, hamburgers, chicken, French toast, and macaroni for dinner. I never dine out, as the food is much tastier and more economical at our humble abode. As much as I miss my college days, when I spent a total of two evenings at home a week, it’s nice to wind down my day with a close friend and hearty meal.

The University of Arizona 2010-2011 school year commences in three days. I miss all my friends that have more classes to take, and I’m jealous of the new freshmen that have four years of pure adventure to look forward to. College is not a time to take for granted. While I’m relieved to be away from some of the shallower aspects of the university environment, I wish I could frequent all my favorite campus stores, hotspots, bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. I miss driving to campus at 8:15 to make my 9 a.m. class, stopping off at Canyon Café some mornings, and picking up the Wildcat and seeing my name on pages one and four. Those were the days!

Here’s to being thankful for blissful memories and somehow managing to surpass them with even better times.