Monday, September 27, 2010

the besting of Hell Month

August was wretched.  Full of deadlines and uncertainties, and brimming with uncontrollable outcomes -- many of them broken or bad.  August was Hell Month.  And what's worse: Hell Month so viciously consuming the soul of your humble narrator, there was no relief to be had (not that there were not opportunities; there were plenty begging for attention, but despair would not yield).  Poor H.K. knowing not what to do with the sack of melancholic potato that had replaced his wife, did his very utmost to provide rejuvenating intervention.  How he survived, I will never know.  'Patient' doesn't begin to do him justice.

September.  We both held out for September.  That beautiful transitional month where all students withdrew to their various institutions of edification.  When all manuscripts would be submitted, new projects begun and peaceful nights at home would ensue.  September failed me, and with manuscript rejections compounding the anxiety over That Test and the extemporaneous decision to apply for a massively competitive grant, I wobbled, and then collapsed.

But as September closes, Hell Month Part II is daring to show only its last fading embers.  There are still projects, manuscripts, grant writing and applications, but these are what I live for.  Well, I mostly live for H.K., but secondarily I live for science.  With That Test out of the way, 99% of my burden is alleviated, and the rest is more than manageable.  In fact, there is even time for Experimental Cooking and playing outside.  And so it would seem that Hell Month has finally been bested.

 This is Toby.  Toby resides above the shrub adjacent to our front door, and has greeted us every morning and evening with his magnificently large web, which is consistently inhabited by some poor large insect about to be devoured by this disconcertingly large spider.

 This is Toby snacking on a giant grasshopper.

Currently, there is only the growing nausea and this four-month drawn out allergy disaster to hold me back -- and they are weak contenders if ever there were any.  Remicade has given my immune system a startle, and it did not remember how to handle allergens when they came about this season.  Since June, I have had a nasal exoskeleton and a nasal cavity effervescent with green mucous.  For two weeks, I even developed an aversion to mice (a career-ending obstacle if permanent; please appreciate the potential gravity).  The most recent diagnosis last week was "you clearly do not have an infection, so take everything together, and if it still doesn't work we'll give you an allergy shot!"  Brilliant.  To clarify, three weeks of Allegra, Sudafed, Flonase and sinus irrigation (otherwise known as drowning without involving the lungs) should do the trick.  In theory, I should be sleeping again, not nauseous and not having post-void residual problems like a man who just underwent prostate surgery.  We're a third of the way there, folks (because I am now sleeping from 11pm-5am!)! (!)

This evening: my attempt at Falafel Waffles.  Though a half-failure, my chickpea-lima-chive concoction was also half delicious.  It was very dry and crumbly, but would have been oh-so delicious with the appropriate sauce.  Inevitably, no matter how crucial to the recipe, I forget about the sauce.

 You can already tell how dry...

Falafel were meant to be deep-fried balls of internal soft moistness, and had I tossed them in a vat of boiling oil, they may have been just that.  Although I followed Lisa's recipe to the last detail (excepting the cilantro and parsley... and the sauce), I could not make them puff in the soft way that Black Bean Cakes or Polenta do.  I'll get you next time, Fawaffle... NEXT TIME!


  1. Yeah, they are a little dry as waffles...or rather, not as fried balls of joyous moisture. They're not perfect yet. I need to test for a more moist version; a fawaffle lab, if you will. Sorry. Good drenched with hummus and tahini though, but alas, not for Natalie's. It makes me so happy to see this but sad it was a disappointment. And Toby IS the bees's knees! I so hope you feel better soon, sweet dear Natalie.

  2. OH! I also tried this with with sweet potato added...that was muuch more moist. Same recipe but use the cooked sweet potato as a binder. I forgot to put that on my post...will do that! Thanks

  3. sweet potato sounds like a brilliant idea. i was staring at my one remaining potato last night wanting to toss it in there just so it didn't go to waste... but i decided not to jeopardize the recipe with my own "creativity". :)