Another Ground-Breaking Opinion on Ross and Rachel

I realize the last thing this world needs is my opinion on Ross Geller and Rachel Green’s breakup. Fans have debated/fought/screamed about it since it first aired. I’m willing to bet money that someone, somewhere, is discussing The Breakup at this very moment. But you know what, I’m watching season three (for the upteenth time), and I’ve never spelled out my thoughts on this particular topic before despite being a die-hard Friends fan.

So, the Short Version: Both Ross and Rachel messed up. They weren’t meant to be together at that point in their lives. I’m not even a big fan of them as end-game. (I prefer Monica Geller and Chandler Bing, or “Mondler.”)

The Long Version:

Let’s go over Ross and Rachel’s relationship. Even when it’s good, it isn’t perfect. They fight constantly and have no common interests, even mock each other’s careers. At the root of it they lack respect for each other. Instead of trying to overcome their communication issues they brush them aside. Ross doesn’t trust Rachel with Mark right from the beginning and never makes a real effort to change. While Rachel never has any intentions to cheat on him, telling Ross she wants to keep part of her life separate (episode 3.14) isn’t reassuring. Rachel becomes more focused on work and neglects Ross. Meanwhile, Ross plans their future together and blames Mark for her disinterest entirely.

I don’t believe Ross ever sees Rachel for who she really is. Even after she’s been in the real world for three years, he still thinks of her as the spoiled princess he knew in high school. He’s her knight in shining armor who can whisk her away to a picket-fences life in the suburbs. He has no idea she’s still running from that picture and the expectations of the world she left. I suspect this is partly because he’s still recovering from his own disastrous relationship and needs to be the knight in shining armor again to boost his fragile ego. To him, everything falls into place: “The girl I crushed on in high school comes back to me right after my marriage ended. We’re meant to be.” It never occurs to him she’s not in the same frame of mind.

With that shaky foundation, they’re bound to collapse eventually. Their ruined anniversary and a one-night stand happens to be the trigger. In a way it’s similar to Monica’s breakup with Richard Burke – Ross and Rachel want different things at this point in their lives. Ross wants to be married again and Rachel has a newfound career. They’re never going to work until Rachel achieves her professional goals and feels ready to settle down.

That’s why I don’t care who did what. Rachel should have acknowledged their anniversary and promised to make up for missing it. Ross should’ve talked things out with Rachel and not hooked up with ChloeRegardless, their relationship is doomed to fail from the start.

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Finding My Balance

I’m a lot less cranky than I was after my last surgery. Since they didn’t put me on strong pain killers this time, I felt alert as soon as I got home from the hospital. I took a nap then went on my computer and read as usual.

I’m also getting around so much easier since I have a strong knee to lean on. I can’t believe the difference from last time. I feel like I’m a month ahead of my recovery when it’s only been exactly a week.

Even before the the surgery I began thinking about my life afterwards. First item on the to-do list is to get back into driving. Then I need to find a full-time job. I’m trying to be optimistic about both.

I think of the fun stuff too. I’ll be able to ENJOY my summer without worrying about my knee going out when walking on a slippery pool area or sandy boardwalk. I’ll be able to spend all day outside without worrying about finding enough places to sit. I can finally go out and DO. When I get settled in a new job, maybe I’ll even find a yoga class or something. God knows my balance needs all the help it can get. (Having friends who are into exercise helps. They can’t wait for me to go hiking with them.)

This frame of mind is new for me because I’ve always been content to sit in front if a computer and write. I never had much natural energy. While I still want to write, I also want to experience more things that can inspire me to write. The trick will be balancing my newfound outdoorsy self with my former couch potato instincts.

It’s Surgery Eve Again

So I was going to make a post about how I made these Pound Cake Cookies from a book and they were yummy, but let’s be real…I’m not thinking about cookies. All week long I’ve been trying very hard NOT to stress about my knee surgery tomorrow (ligament reconstruction).  Purposely not thinking about stuff really doesn’t work. I’m good at distracting myself but crazy, negative thoughts sneak in. My family has been telling me to think positive so let me try that.

The surgery will go fine tomorrow. I had the exact same surgery last year. Then afterwards the recovery will go faster because I’ll be stronger and will know what to do. Then after that I’ll have to drive again and look for a full-time job…

Whoops, one too far.

The surgery will go fine tomorrow. There.

Screw it, I’m watching some cartoons.

Baking Days: Super Bowl Cupcakes and Pumpkin Muffins

Strangely enough I did not bake during our snow day yesterday. My mom threw together brownies and my stepfather made odd-tasting sweet and sour meatballs, but I had no burning desire to make my own contribution. Whenever there’s leftover treats on the kitchen counter, like the brownies, I tend to hold off.

I also baked twice over the past few days. My best friend’s family throws a Super Bowl party every year, so I wanted to make cupcakes for the occasion. I’d like to clarify that I barely understand football – baseball and basketball, sure, but football remains a mysterious combination of “downs” and tackles. I go for the company and the traditional pizza during halftime. It’s a small party by their standards, more like a dozen of us sitting around my friend’s attic, but we have fun. After showing up for party after party over the years I’m more like the cousin who’s always around.

Anyway, this counts as the first time I’ve made cupcakes for an occasion. I wasn’t too nervous since these people are like family, but I still wanted them to be good. I also wanted to use peanut butter.

Now, my mom and her twin sister have a serious peanut butter aversion. They’re not even allergic but neither of them can stand the taste or the smell. This has come up often, because who can hate peanut butter? It’s like how my Italian aunt and cousin can’t stand garlic in their food. My cousin’s been known to tell restaurants she’s allergic just to make sure they don’t put it in.

Since my mom is typically one of four people eating the stuff I make, I’ve steered clear of peanut butter as an ingredient. But these cupcakes were going out of the house. Let the peanut butter fest begin!

I chose Peanut Butter Cupcakes from the cupcake book I got for Christmas. They turned out…okay. Of course my friends said they were delicious but I have my doubts.

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I added an extra quarter-cup of peanut butter just to make sure you got the flavor. The book said to decrease the amount of butter and add peanut butter to their standard yellow cake recipe. Logically, I decreased the butter a little more to make up for my twist. The cupcakes tasted a little dry to me but were okay with store-bought chocolate frosting. Peanut butter is drying on its own, right?  I also think I overmixed them since I’m still adjusting to my grandmother’s stand mixer.

So at the Super Bowl party, my friend brought over a bunch of extra non-perishables she had. She gave me some organic pumpkin since she figured I could bake with it. One of the containers was a box that had a recipe for Pumpkin Muffins on the back. My mom saw this and commissioned me to make them using the spice cake mix she had in a cabinet. All it required was the pumpkin, a package of spice cake mix, an egg, and a cup of chocolate chips.

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Same thing, they were okay. I’m not a fan of spice cake. Still we liked them enough to have them for breakfast or a snack. My mom and I brought some to her aunt and uncle’s house when we went over for tea during the week. I recommend using mini-chocolate chips since the muffins are so small.

Better luck next time! I’ll probably bake more than once next week since my knee surgery is Friday the 17th. After that I won’t be able to get around as much for at least a month. I was nervous as hell last time – which you can read about in my old posts – but now I’m just eager to get it over with already. I know exactly what to expect, and my quad muscles are stronger, so recovery should be much shorter.

Baking Days: Disappearing Cupcakes and the Recipe Jackpot

I did resolve to update my blog once a week, right? It’s technically the next week after my last post so this counts.

It feels like forever ago, but last Thursday I made another recipe from my cupcake book – Chocolate Candy Cupcakes. I picked them because again, Mom wanted me to use up what we had left in the fridge. This time we had buttermilk. (My stepfather needed it for some crazy sandwich recipe he wanted to try…to paraphrase Alton Brown of “Good Eats” fame, that’s another blog post.) We also had leftover chocolate from the holidays.

This marked my first venture into cupcake filling. It consisted of cream cheese and chocolate bars, which I broke up with my trusty meat mallet given my non-existent knife skills. I never realized how useful meat mallets are in baking.

Anyway, these turned out…delicious. I dare say they’re the tastiest cupcakes I’ve made so far. My mom even said so without any prompting. They disappeared literally overnight – all eighteen were gone by Friday. This recipe also marks the first time my sister asked, “Can I bring some over my friend’s house?” Given how picky teenagers can be, I was extremely flattered.

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The only thing I would change is the amount of candy bars in the filling. I used less than the recipe called for due to a moment of confusion, so I think using the right amount would cut down the (subtle) tang from the cream cheese and buttermilk.

On Friday I baked again, this time whipping up another Cream Cake to bring with me to my aunt and cousin’s house. So far it’s the most relaxed and confident I’ve been when making anything. The recipe really is so simple, plus it’s one of few times I’ve made a recipe more than once. My relatives loved it. At my other aunt’s house for Sunday dinner, we asked again about my grandmother’s elusive Orange Chiffon Cake recipe.

That’s when my aunt brought out her recipe boxes. Dozens of ancient index cards and newspaper clippings, separated into categories with frayed rubber bands. My cousin and I spent an hour going through each one. Not only did I find the cake, I also found the Italian anisette cookies we used to make for Christmas. I pulled some more that looked interesting and took pictures with my phone.

At first I wanted to make them right away, but I might save some of these for special occasions. I’ll probably leave the Italian Cookies for the holidays. Then again my cousin wants me to make the Orange Chiffon for her birthday in July, so maybe I should start practicing now.