The Year of Chicken Noodle Soup


Thus far my main prediction for 2013 is that I am going to eat a lot of chicken noodle soup.

In that sense, 2013 will not be so very different from the last month of 2012, during which time I also ate many a bowl of chicken noodle soup. I’ve always enjoyed chicken noodle soup, sure, but lately it’s suddenly one my favorite foods and the only thing I ever want to eat.

You could say chicken noodle soup is the new microwave burritos.

Meanwhile, I am unable to predict much else beyond noodle soup; I am nonetheless hoping that some additional, slightly-more-exciting-than-chicken-noodle-soup-consumption things will happen to me in the coming year.

Some burning questions I have about 2013 include:

  • Will I complete Couch to 5K and finally become a runner? (Yes!  No!  Yes!  No!  This one could go either way!)
  • Will my neighbor ever find Butchy once and for all? (I don’t think so!)
  • Will I be forced to move against my will because the apartment I live in gets sold? (Maybe?!)
  • Will I find myself a future-husband, as so many of those around me (including my little sister!!!) have been doing lately? (Only if he’ll get up early and make me quiches, I have decided!)
  • Will I finally save enough money to take my trip to France? (Let’s talk about that in 2014!)
  • Will I get a summer job? (I better or else!)
  • Will I finally write that novel I’ve been saying I’m going to write? (YES or maybe that other novel, but definitely one of them!)

I genuinely like the New Year.  Even though intellectually I know that nothing really changes all that much just because a new year starts, I always feel like it might and I like that feeling.

Welcome 2013, and bring on the chicken noodle soup please.

16+ cups of homemade broth ready for the freezer, 2013!

16+ cups of homemade broth are ready for the freezer, 2013!


So much to look forward to


17-year-old-me: Umm…I think you meant “so much to which to look forward” right?

Me: Good god, quit!  Sometimes ending a sentence in a preposition isn’t all that painful, and sometimes it just sounds better, and sometimes it’s okay, even if it’s not technically right.  You really annoy me, you know that?  Especially because I am super jealous of you right now.

17-year-old Me: Is it because you think I am smarter, pretty,  more awesome and better at grammar than you and you’re just a boring almost-thirty-year-old?

Me: I think you are 17 and an idiot.

17-year-old-me: Then what?

Me: I’m jealous because you don’t have any idea about all the awesome entertainment that will be coming your way in the next ten years that you still get to experience for the first time.  Like Harry Potter!!!  I’d give anything to read Harry Potter again for the first time.

17-year-old-me:  I saw that book while I was babysitting – for children…because it’s a children‘s book.  When I go to college and onward, I have pretty serious plans to read pretty serious literature.  Are you joking with this Harry Potter stuff?

Me: OMG you just have no idea about anything!

17-year-old-me: What is “OMG”?

Me: OMG you don’t know OMG?  But I am a children‘s librarian, did you forget?  I pretty much only read books for children and teenagers now.  It’s amaaaah-zing.

17-year-old-me:  Why did you right “amazing” like “amaaaaaah-zing”?

Me: It’s from a show you’ll like called Happy Endings. It won’t be on for another eleven years.

17-year-old-me:  Okay, so what else?

Me: Well, you’ll discover YA literature, as discussed.   You’ll get to watch your first cycle of America’s Next Top Model  (you don’t even know how to SMIZE yet)…Veronica Mars season 1…The OC Season 1!  And Downton Abbey – you’ll even make the theme from that one your ringtone!

17-year-old Me: My “ringtone”?

Me: On your cellphone…people have cell phones in your world, you know…get with it.  Then, you still get to see Love Actually in the theater FOUR times.  You will cry very hard for the first 15 minutes of Up.  You will try so hard to figure out if Inception ends in a dream or in reality and you will never ever know!  And the first time you see a trailer for National Treasure?  You’re gonna plotz!  Oh man, plus you will get so excited when you find out that Johnny Depp will be in a pirate movie with ORLANDO BLOOM!

17 year-old Me: Who?

Me: You’ll get to discover ORLANDO BLOOM!  See?

FACT: you will one day cut out and fasten this very magazine page to a bulletin board in your dorm room!

17-year-old Me: Oooooohhhhh…

Me: Just wait till you see him as an elf.  Which means you’ll get to see Lord of the Rings!  And you’ll finally read Lord of the Rings and they are so good.

17-year-old Me: At least I’ve heard of that…

Me: You’ll get to see The Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It] music video and hear Regina Spektor sing Real Love and learn that Otis Redding’s These Arms of Mine is, like, the best song ever! OOHHH – you’ll discover Charlieissocoollike and Alex Day on Youtube!


17-year-old-me: Wait, what’s Youtube?

Me: OMG you don’t even have Youtube yet!!!  You are SO LUCKY!!  You’ll get to discover YOUTUBE!!!!  Christian the Lion – Krabstickz’ Nazi Gold – all those Dear Sister parodies -Honey Badger Don’t Care – The Bed Intruder – David After Dentist – Sassy Gay Friend – Charlie Bit Me – Kitty is a Bad Mystic – Twin Baby Boys Having a Conversation – Oo-de-Lally sung in every single language you can imagine!

17-year-old Me: Okay, you need to slow down a lit-


17-year-old Me: You aren’t even making sense anymore.


17-year-old Me: QUIT IT!!!  Frakking?  Cylons?  You are frakking me out…whatever that means…but I think I probably used it right, right?

Me: Whoa.  Yeah, sorry about that.  I just…got carried away.  You have things to look forward to in the next decade, is what I am saying.

17-year-old Me: That is actually a really nice thing to hear.  I kind of want you to…calmly and less scarily…tell me more…

Me: SPOILERS!  Haha – get it? I mean, of course you don’t get it yet. “Hello Sweetie!!!”  Haha!  River Song!?!?!  Doctor Who!!  DALEKS!!!

17-year-old Me: You’re doing it again.

Me: Sorry!  I meant that I can’t tell you too much – it will spoil it all.  Here is a clip that helped inspire me to do this whole theme week; it also includes John Green who will change your life and the much discussed “Youtube” that you will so enjoy and Battlestar Frakking GalacticaYou only need to watch the first 15 seconds to get my point, unless you want to keep going just because it’s a good interesting video.


Silly + Stupid = Me


17-year-old Me: Mom says I should set aside some money from every pay check and put it into a savings account, and that by the time I’m like 30 I’ll totally have a ton of money saved.

Me: She did say that, didn’t she?

17-year-old Me: Yeah, she did.  But I don’t think I’m gonna do it.

Me: You really aren’t.

17-year-old Me: Do you ever start doing that?  Mom gives good advice, you know. You should probably listen, even if I don’t.

Me: I’d prefer not to discuss this topic at this time, thank you.  Let me tell you about this thing called “student loan debt” instead…

Money? Pssssshhh….who needs it?

In which I crush the dreams of my 17-year-old self…


Another long and self-indulgent conversation with my imaginary 17-year-old self:

17-year-old Me: I have some more non-fast-food questions for you.  Do you have a cool job?

Me: Yes.

17-year-old Me:  Well?

Me: What?

17-year-old Me: What is it, then?  Actress?  Romance novelist?  College professor?

Me: Nope.

17-year-old Me:  Well, what is it then?

Me: Elementary school librarian.

17-year-old Me: Excuse me?

Me: I am an elementary school librarian and technology teacher.  I have primarily Kindergarten and 1st grade students in library, and I teach 2nd through 5th graders how to use computers.

17-year-old Me: That sounds….awful.  Seriously…just…awful.  ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?  Didn’t you go to COLLEGE?!?!?

Me: Excuse me, I went to an Ivy League college and I have a Master’s Degree.

17-year-old Me:  You need a Master’s Degree to follow around snotty-nosed five-year-olds and read picture books?

Me: Yes, yes, you do.  And anyway, you LIKE kids, you know.

17-year-old Me: Very doubtful.  I don’t like kids at all.  In fact I have been frequent and vocal about just how much I do NOT like kids.

Me [taunting]: Yeah.  Well, Kindergartners are your favorite.  Children are the part of your job you enjoy the most. You genuinely LOVE kids!

17-year-old Me [skeptical]: Do I?

Me: Yes, you do.  You…I…we are very happy with our career choice, okay?  Very happy, very good at it, very pleased with the summers off.

17-year-old Me: Summers off sounds okay, I guess.

Me: That’s very generous of you.

17-year-old Me:  Well, at least you must live somewhere cool, right?

Me: Yup.

17-year-old Me: So tell me more….

Me: Well, you live in a cool city.

17-year-old Me: Awesome!  That sounds more like what I had in mind!  Where?

Me: Pardon me?

17-year-old Me: Where do you live?

Me [mumbling]: prvdns

17-year-old Me: Sorry, didn’t catch that.

Me: What?

17-year-old Me: Where do you live?!?

Me: Providence.

17-year-old Me:  Tell me there is a Providence, France.

Me [shakes head]

17-year-old Me:  Providence, Australia?  Providence, England?  Providence, California?

Me: Providence, Rhode Island.

17-year-old Me: You have got to be SHITTING ME!

Me: Calm down – you LIKE IT HERE you know!

17-year-old Me [skeptical]: Do I?

Me: You do. I know you don’t believe me, but it’s not like I live in Johnston or anything!  You’d never forgive me for that, I know.  But Providence – well, Providence is hip and lovely and has a vibrant art and food and stuff scene and really good coffee shops and I like it here!

17-year-old Me:  At least tell me you left for awhile.

Me: I did!  I lived in Miami for a year!

17-year-old Me: Miami sounds cool.  Totally cool.  What happened to that?

Me: Blech – Miami was stupid.  Much less cool than Providence.

17-year-old Me: But doesn’t Miami have beautiful beaches?

Me: Yes.

17-year-old Me: Gorgeous weather.

Me: Sure.

17-year-old Me:  Interesting tourist attractions?  Delicious food?  An all around more famous and exciting reputation as a city?

Me: You are really focusing on the wrong stuff, missy.  I like it here.

17-year-old Me: I don’t believe you.  About the job either.

Me: I am happy.  Why just tonight I ate a burrito in my new apartment and watched a movie starring an actor you have never heard of but will love very much in ten years time and it was a very nice night.

17-year-old Me: Do I even like burritos?  I don’t think I’ve ever had one.

Me: You love burritos, so much more than anything else ever.  You love the melted cheese, the delicate interplay between the heat of the salsa and the coolness of the sour cream, the softness of the wrap contrasted against the crisp tortilla chips…

17-year-old Me: Well, at last something you are saying finally sounds believable. So….we have a new apartment?  Is it nice?

Me: Quite.  Do you know what I have?

17-year-old Me:  What’s that?

Me: Claw foot tub.

17-year-old Me:  Seriously?

Me: Yes.

17-year-old Me:  You should have lead with that!  I might not have gotten so bent out of shape about how you failed to achieve every dream I ever had and settled for a life so dull I cannot even comprehend how you got from here to there.

Me: I told you, I am happy.  Claw foot tub!!!

17-year-old Me:  Okay, happiness is one of my goals.  You really love kids?

Me: I really love kids.

17-year-old Me: And PROVIDENCE?

Me: And Providence.

17-year-old Me:  Fine.  I guess it’s okay…I believe you that it’s good.  Now tell me…are you still single?

Me: What?

aaaaand scene.


Pressing Questions About the Future


Two things inspired this week’s theme, which is Conversations With My Younger Self.

1. I read this young adult book called The Future of Us.  It was about two teenagers in 1996 who log onto AOL for the first time and are magically made privy to their 32-year-old Facebook profiles.  I mostly enjoyed the book for its 1996 references; can I get a hand up if you ever danced your last slow dance at a middle school dance to “End of the Road” by BoyzIIMen?  I bet you did!!!

2. This video, which is entirely brilliant.  I wish this guy had been my BFF when we were twelve and also still now:

So since I read that book/watched that video, I have been imagining conversations with my imaginary 17-year-old self (who is, I guess, not exactly imaginary but you know…) on all topics from dating to my job to where I live to how I live.

This is my favorite faux-conversation I’ve had, and one which I genuinely believe 17-year-old me would have brought up very early on in our exchange.

To preface this conversation, you need to know that in the year 2000 for about five weeks Burger King had this special called the X-treme Double Cheese Burger.  Described in a press release I just found online as “monstrously huge and obscenely loaded with cheese,” the X-treme Double Cheeseburger featured, “1/2 pound of juicy, flame-broiled beef; two slices of Monterey Jack cheese; two slices of Cheddar; and a zesty cheese sauce topped with tomatoes, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun.” I am just now learning it contained over a thousand calories and about 60% of those calories came from fat.

I ate like three X-treme Double Cheeseburgers a week for the duration of their existence, is something you need to know before this starts.  Yeah.


The conversation goes something like this:

17-Year-Old-Me: Does Burger King ever bring back the X-treme Double Cheeseburger?

Me: Nope, pretty sure not.

17-Year-Old-Me: Man, that sucks!

Me: I guess.

17-Year-Old-Me: You “guess”?!?!  X-treme Double Cheeseburgers were, like, SO delicious!  I miss them.  I miss them SO MUCH.

Me: Wow, you really do don’t you?  They were pretty disgusting and really bad for you, you know.

17-Year-Old-Me: Whatever.  At least Burger King still sells jalepeno poppers.

Me: Well, they actually discontinued those too. That’ll happen soon – like within the next year or so.

17-Year-Old-Me: WHAT!?!?!  How could they?  Jalepeno poppers are the BEST THING EVER!

Me: It seems bad now, I know, but I have some encouraging news.

17-Year-Old-Me: Yeah?

Me: You don’t eat fast food any more.

17-Year-Old-Me: What does that mean?

Me: You quit going to fast food restaurants.

17-Year-Old-Me: I don’t understand.

Me: You haven’t had fast food more than a small handful of times in the past two years, and even then you only have fries and milkshakes, never meat.

17-Year-Old-Me: But….why?

Me: Well, you try pretty hard to eat healthy and you don’t believe in eating meat that comes from unethical sources.

17-Year-Old-Me: …..

Me: You know, like, factory farms.  Meat that’s not raised in humane and sustainable conditions.  You try to only eat meat of known provenance, because you believe it is better for the world that way.

17-Year-Old-Me: But….but…Burger King is delicious.  So is McDonald’s.

Me: Yeah, and in about a year you’ll discover how delicious Taco Bell is, too.  But it doesn’t matter, because you have PRINCIPLES now.

17-Year-Old-Me: That sounds pretty stupid.  I want to eat X-treme Double Cheeseburgers and I will always want to eat X-treme Double Cheeseburgers.

Me: And I’m telling you, you will not.  You will someday come to realize that living a way that is commensurate with your values is more important to you than chicken nuggets and other fast food.  You believe that the factory farm system is evil and you are always talking to people about your decision to eat ethically produced meats whenever possible to try to convince them to join the fight!

17-Year-Old-Me: You sound like a huge asshole;  I like chicken nuggets.

Me: Well, I think you sound like an asshole.  Don’t you care where your food comes from?  Some things are more impor-


aaaand scene.

Jalapeno poppers were so APPETIZING. How could BK ever discontinue them? Also no pictures of the Xtreme Double Cheeseburger seem to exist. Tragic.

The Pinnacle of Sophisticated and Glamourous Adult Living


Going on five days in the new apartment and something really HUGE has finally just sunk in:

I have a claw foot tub, guys.

I do!  I have dreamed of having a claw foot tub since I was a small child, no doubt inspired by some movie or television program or book or who knows what because I sure cannot remember.  Regardless of the origin of this dream, claw foot tubs have symbolized the pinnacle of sophisticated and glamourous adult living to me for as long as I can remember.

I must (FINALLY!) be a sophisticated and glamourous adult, is what this means.

Whenever I doubt myself from now on – maybe I start thinking I’m not leading a very exciting life or I am not as cool as I would have liked to be as an adult or I feel like I am only pretending to be an adult and am actually still 17 on the inside or whatever else comes up – I am just going to refer myself to the claw foot tub as evidence to the contrary.

Why don’t you have a more active social life for a twenty-something, Niki?

Umm…check out the claw foot tub, Niki.  You’re doing just fine.

Why do all your clothes come from The Gap or Loft?  You could stand to be a little edgier, Niki.

Hey, Niki- shut it.  You have a claw foot tub.

Niki, are you aware that you were just listening to Call Me Maybe on repeat?

Claw.  Foot.  Tub.

Yeah, this claw foot tub is a big effing deal in my life, showering logistics not withstanding.  I mean seriously – anyone out there tried showering in a claw foot tub lately?

My main issue is puddling vs. intrusive shower curtain.

See, in order to prevent puddles, one needs TWO shower curtain liners, one on either side of the tub because, hello, claw foot tubs aren’t attached to the wall is what makes them so freaking sophisticated and glamourous in the first place.

So if you tuck the shower curtain between the wall and the tub, it does very little to prevent the flood-like puddle situation – may has well not even have a curtain.  But two shower curtains on the inside of the tub sure do encroach on your personal space; having shower curtains touching you on both sides during a shower feels neither sophisticated nor glamourous, I tell you what.

I’m working on solutions, but any advice is welcome.

I have so many other things I want to talk about vis-a-vis my new apartment, however it feels right to devote this whole post to nothing but the glory of the claw foot*.  Good thing there are fully two days left in New Apartment Week, eh??

*I wanted to post some sweet pictures of my tub, but I forgot to take any and I still don’t have internet so I write this to you from a coffee shop.  I’ll post this picture of a significantly more elegant claw footer that I found on Google images instead.

Not my tub!