Week 5: Slaughterhouse Five, Tex Mex Calzones and Pilates

On the one hand, a large part of me is thinking WHERE has the year gone?  But then I look at these blog posts and I think, “Ok, yeah…I’ve gotten a lot done.” To that end…Jason and I are slowly pursuing the Great HouseHunt.  So, in addition to my getting caught up on my reading list, expanding my skills in the kitchen and, hopefully, getting into better shape, I’ll also be breaking myself in as a Homeowner.  2015=Transformative.

(on a separate note: I’m kind of terrified.  But I’m that way about most things, so…)

THE RECIPE

 What the recipe should look like

I think, decidedly, the most train-wrecky of them things I done this week was the Tex Mex Calzone I think maybe I was not ready for the challenges inherent in making a calzone.  The calzone ingredients assembled themselves quite easily.  Chop some peppers, brown some turkey. DONE. But when it came to the dough…the recipe made it all sound so easy.  “ Unroll dough; divide into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6 x 4–inch rectangle. Working with one rectangle at a time, spoon about 1/2 cup turkey mixture on one side of dough. Top with 3 tablespoons cheese; fold dough over turkey mixture, and press edges together with a fork to seal. “ What they didn’t say was “You might find this a little difficult to do seeing as how the dough likes to wad itself into a ball after about five seconds of exposure to air.”  Or “If you’ve never worked with dough before, you should sprinkle some flour onto the countertop in preparation of rolling the dough to prevent it from sticking to literally everything it touches.”  Or “the package of thin crush pizza dough may not be sufficient for four calzones.” I called in reinforcements (read: Jason helped).  In his professional opinion, there wasn’t enough dough for four calzones, so he rolled them into two very large ones.

Monster Calzone Devours Fort Mitchell

And we ate it like that.  And were stuffed. (Like the vegetables on the side?  That was a separate recipe I tried from here).

THE FITNESS

I went into Pilates with a fairly open mind.  To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what pilates are (To the google!) So…apparently Pilates was a guy that invented pilates as an “art of controlled movements” meant to create a “powerhaus” (or strong central core).  While doing the exercises, I thought to myself, “And how is this different from yoga? As it turns out, they’re similar exercises, but focus on different end goals, yoga’s being flexibility and pilates, all about the core. In reality, pilates turned out to be, for me anyway, the worst parts of the yoga exercise.  I don’t think this hooker knew how much I weigh when she started telling me to do all these things.  It started off so innocently…

I could do this, right?

But then took a sharp turn into emotional water-boarding territory…(in fact at this point my husband walked in on me, red faced, legs in the air, muttering  “I weigh too much for this.”)

Maybe I can’t do this

…until I felt sure I was going to die.

NOPE.  Definitely going to die.

In terms of an engaging instructor, I will say I liked Rene a little better than Jenny Ford last week.  She has a very engaging accent (Australian?) and goes at a reasonable clip.  Her movements had grace and fluidity and she made me feel just like a drunken elephant.

But, lest I lose perspective, I must always remember Arthur:

THE BOOK

But..what if I haven’t read Slaughterhouses 1-4?

So…I’ve read Vonnegut.  I’m a Vonnegut reader.

Slaughterhouse Five surprised me, actually a lot.  Because of its historical rendering as a Classic, I expected something much more formulaic, but this book is a mindfuck, y’all.  The beginning and ending chapters are told by an unidentified narrator, who calls it his book about the Dresden bombing. However, in the second chapter, it takes on a third person (limited) omniscient stance to tell the story of Billy Pilgrim.  Billy is a war veteren who, following a nasty plane crash years after the war, becomes “unstuck in time,” convinced he can visit any time of his life and relive it (including his death) and that the “unstuckliness” is explained by aliens from a planet called Tralfamador, who later abduct him and force him to have sex in a zoo with a porn star named Montana Wildhack.

Sounds like a Roger Corman movie, right?

I remember right after I saw the movie Fight Club, I thought to myself “This is my new favorite movie.” (To this day, it is actually No. 2 on my list)  I liked it mainly because it felt like a puzzle, like something that was saying something larger, but I had to work the tiny pieces together to figure out what.  I felt the same way about Slaughterhouse Five.

This was someone’s headstone in the book, though I forget who.  Could have even been the main character

I won’t say much more about the book…mostly because I just want to talk to someone else who has read it and discuss thoughts/feelings.  It made me wish I was back in grad school and could go to Doll’s bar and smoke cigarettes and drink beers and chew over the major plot points.  Like…

What is the meaning of the “rest in peace” type phrase “So it goes?”  What’s the larger takeaway?

–The alien-time travel stuff, it’s obviously PTSD, but why is it manifesting in that way?

–Why did the narrator go into SUCH detail about this person that wasn’t him?  Was it a “I’m asking for a friend” type situation?

–He quotes the Serenity Prayer twice.  Was this before or after AA adopted it?

–While reading the book, I was convinced the Dresden bombing was a fictitious event, as Vonnegut kept referencing the 135k fatalities (which would make it deadlier than the combined fatalities on Hiroshima and Nagasaki).  I later learned it was a real event, but no more than 40,000 souls were lost.  Still.

–Most mind blowing of all…the whole thing is semi-autobiographical, as Vonnegut himself was a POW during the Dresden bombing and held at mutha-fuckin’ Slaughterhouse-Five!  How did I not know this???

If you live in the Cincinnati area and would like to have a beer and talk about this book, let me know.  I’m left with so many questions…but in a good way!

Stay tuned next week for:

BOOK: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

FITNESS: Pump It Up Dance Workout

RECIPE: Valentines Surprise (I cook many things for romantic Jason Sarah dinner)

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