September 08, 2003
Oh no. I have become one of those expat New Yorkers who bemoan the quality of the local bagels. True, I did have a decent everything bagel at Einstein Bros, even though I'm sure they used to make garlic bagels, and that was what I hoped to have. And the cinnamon crunch bagels at Panera are also really good, especially with the hazelnut cream cheese. But what is it with the timid toasting down here? I specifically asked, very nicely, both times to have my bagels toasted, and while they were warm, they didn't have the toasted crunchiness one expects. *sigh* I'm going to have get all high-maintenance and spell it out for them: "I want it toasted - can you make sure it's well toasted, as in crisp and crunchy, but not burned?" My friend Marco thinks that they should ask you how much toasting you want - light, medium or dark, but I suppose this brilliant, sensible idea is rather beyond these establishments.
Friday night we went to a dessert reception hosted by the dean and his wife to welcome new faculty. Not long after we'd gotten there, I sorely wished to be back at home. A house completely full of strangers to whom I'm supposed to perform, and I'm merely someone's spouse, not even a networking contact. I drank my wine way too quickly, and the bits of dessert, delicious to be sure, seemed to stick in my throat.
But we slogged through. Scott did meet some people. I spoke briefly with a chemist, one of the university librarians, who told me to keep my eye out for some openings, and a Ukrainian physicist, who was a very nice man, but I wasn't sure if he kept talking to me to be polite, or if he was latching onto the conversation as desperately as I was. Eventually I found Scott talking with his department chair, and since it was near the end of the evening, I could finally let down a little of my reserve, which takes the form of giddy nonsensical talkativeness. The best part of the evening was when the dean's wife let the pets roam the house again, so I introduced myself to the family dog and cat, both of whom were eagerly receptive to my attentions. If only they'd come out sooner, I might have had someone to talk to! I suppose there will be more of these functions. Somehow I've got to get over this anxiety - I should be more like Lizzy, rather than Darcy. Perhaps with practice, I won't quite seem like a deer in headlights.
Saturday - Like a bee to honey, I was drawn in to one of the local used bookstores, Book Nook. And I did not come out empty-handed - a paperback of Nick Hornby's How to Be Good, a pocket Oxford edition of Wuthering Heights, a compendium of three Gothic novels (The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho (abridged, alas) and Jane's Northanger Abbey, Samuel Richardson's Pamela, and season one of Buffy. And while it is rather pathetic that I'm already buying books when I've got boxes and boxes at home, I know I've still got stuff that I can bring in for credit. So it all works out. Or that's what I'm telling myself.
Kitchen and bathroom are pretty much done. Pantry is filled. CDs are mostly unpacked. Clothes need to be unpacked (and ironed, bleah). Living room is beginning to emerge. Office, is, well, a storage room at the moment.
The weather is beginning to cool. Have actually turned off the A/C. We went with Marco and his dog on a long, lovely walk to Candler Park, with a detour on the swings. Afterwards, I made black cherry Kool-Aid and we did an impromptu dinner - baby spinach & arugula salad with bits of carrot and honey roasted almonds with a balsamic vinaigrette, spaghetti and garlic bread. So Marco was our first official dinner guest, and we hope to do this cooking and gathering together on a regular basis.