Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Month: January 2009 (page 2 of 2)

Melissa cooks: Indian edition

I will be honest. I don’t cook very often and so when I do, it is an event. I live ninety miles from the nearest Indian restaurant. I love Indian food. This is a problem. This is on my list of reasons to move out of dodge. No really, a land without Indian food is not a land for Melissa.

Needless to say, I was all over this jar of tikka masala simmer sauce I saw at Williams Sonoma. I can’t even lie. I have already thrown the jar out. I have made it from scratch before but the recipe I found most similar was one that required marinading for a day. It took a long long time. This sauce was good. It was very similar to the stuff I’ve gotten in restaurants. I was a happy camper. I stuffed my face.

Chicken tikka masala

Fluffy naan

This is the fluffy naan I made. I made it from this recipe found on this website by Nita. (yes Nita’s naan is prettier than mine. Nita cooks a lot) I was a little inconvenienced by the small cast iron skillet I used to bake it on and so my dough wasn’t as wide as I needed it to be. I did however make it very thin and it still puffed up to what you see here. It obviously needed to be thinner and when they said PUFFY, they meant puffy. Also, i was HUNGRY by this point and probably should have baked them a little longer. They weren’t raw in the middle or anything but a little browner would have been a little better. Don’t be fooled, though. I was devouring that stuff.

Book lists and zaniness

I am a woman who loves lists. I am always making lists, editing lists, and throwing old lists in the trash. I am always on some quest to improve myself and have found that making a list of the small incremental steps is a surefire way to ensure success.

I have always liked to read. Maybe not as much as other folks for I have always had piano playing as another time consuming hobby, but I do like a good story now and then.

When I found out about the Modern Library 100 Best Novels and the Radcliffe Best Novels lists, I was on that bandwagon and put reading all those books on the bucket list. Reminder to self, PUT BUCKET LIST ON BLOG.

Modern library list (books read bolded)
1. (1922) Ulysses James Joyce
2. (1925) The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. (1916) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce
4. (1955) Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
5. (1932) Brave New World Aldous Huxley
6. (1929) The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner
7. (1961) Catch-22 Joseph Heller
8. (1940) Darkness at Noon Arthur Koestler
9. (1913) Sons and Lovers D. H. Lawrence
10. (1939) The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
11. (1947) Under the Volcano Malcolm Lowry
12. (1903) The Way of All Flesh Samuel Butler
13. (1949) Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
14. (1934) I, Claudius Robert Graves
15. (1927) To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf
16. (1925) An American Tragedy Theodore Dreiser
17. (1940) The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Carson McCullers
18. (1969) Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

19. (1952) Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
20. (1940) Native Son Richard Wright
21. (1959) Henderson the Rain King Saul Bellow
22. (1934) Appointment in Samarra John O’Hara
23. (1938) U.S.A. (trilogy) John Dos Passos
24. (1919) Winesburg, Ohio Sherwood Anderson
25. (1924) A Passage to India E. M. Forster
26. (1902) The Wings of the Dove Henry James
27. (1903) The Ambassadors Henry James
28. (1934) Tender Is the Night F. Scott Fitzgerald
29. (1935) Studs Lonigan (trilogy) James T. Farrell
30. (1915) The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
31. (1945) Animal Farm George Orwell
32. (1904) The Golden Bowl Henry James
33. (1900) Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
34. (1934) A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh
35. (1930) As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
36. (1946) All the King’s Men Robert Penn Warren
37. (1927) The Bridge of San Luis Rey Thornton Wilder
38. (1910) Howards End E. M. Forster
39. (1953) Go Tell It on the Mountain James Baldwin
40. (1948) The Heart of the Matter Graham Greene
41. (1954) Lord of the Flies William Golding
42. (1970) Deliverance James Dickey
43. (1951-1975) A Dance to the Music of Time (series) Anthony Powell
44. (1928) Point Counter Point Aldous Huxley
45. (1926) The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
46. (1907) The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
47. (1904) Nostromo Joseph Conrad
48. (1915) The Rainbow D. H. Lawrence
49. (1920) Women in Love D. H. Lawrence
50. (1934) Tropic of Cancer Henry Miller
51. (1948) The Naked and the Dead Norman Mailer
52. (1969) Portnoy’s Complaint Philip Roth
53. (1962) Pale Fire Vladimir Nabokov
54. (1932) Light in August William Faulkner
55. (1957) On the Road Jack Kerouac

56. (1930) The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett
57. (1924-1928) Parade’s End Ford Madox Ford
58. (1920) The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton
59. (1911) Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
60. (1961) The Moviegoer Walker Percy
61. (1927) Death Comes for the Archbishop Willa Cather
62. (1951) From Here to Eternity James Jones
63. (1957) The Wapshot Chronicle John Cheever
64. (1951) The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
65. (1962) A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
66. (1915) Of Human Bondage W. Somerset Maugham

67. (1902) Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
68. (1920) Main Street Sinclair Lewis
69. (1905) The House of Mirth Edith Wharton
70. (1957-1960) The Alexandria Quartet Lawrence Durrell
71. (1929) A High Wind in Jamaica Richard Hughes
72. (1961) A House for Mr Biswas V. S. Naipaul
73. (1939) The Day of the Locust Nathanael West
74. (1929) A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway
75. (1938) Scoop Evelyn Waugh
76. (1962) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark
77. (1939) Finnegans Wake James Joyce
78. (1901) Kim Rudyard Kipling
79. (1908) A Room with a View E. M. Forster
80. (1945) Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh
81. (1953) The Adventures of Augie March Saul Bellow
82. (1971) Angle of Repose Wallace Stegner
83. (1979) A Bend in the River V. S. Naipaul
84. (1938) The Death of the Heart Elizabeth Bowen
85. (1900) Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
86. (1975) Ragtime E. L. Doctorow
87. (1908) The Old Wives’ Tale Arnold Bennett
88. (1903) The Call of the Wild Jack London
89. (1945) Loving Henry Green
90. (1980) Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
91. (1932) Tobacco Road Erskine Caldwell
92. (1983) Ironweed William Kennedy
93. (1965) The Magus John Fowles
94. (1966) Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys
95. (1954) Under the Net Iris Murdoch
96. (1979) Sophie’s Choice William Styron
97. (1949) The Sheltering Sky Paul Bowles
98. (1934) The Postman Always Rings Twice James M. Cain
99. (1955) The Ginger Man J. P. Donleavy
100. (1918) The Magnificent Ambersons Booth Tarkington

Radcliffe list

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov

12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
41. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
52. Howards End by E.M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner

69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Tokias by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (okay confession here. I have gotten 3/4 of the way through this and oh lord, make it stop!!!)
93. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie


This is the last day of Holidailies and dammit I made it. I posted something every day. By golly, I did it.
I had an epiphany.

Writing something every day is hard. Writing something every day that doesn’t suck dog shit. REALLY REALLY HARD!

For me personally, 2008 was a year where I learned a lot about what I don’t like. I don’t like small towns. I don’t like the xenophobic homogeneity that seems to flourish in a town where everybody seems the same. The knee jerk volatile reaction to anything that even appears to interrupt the status quo is cumbersome.

I don’t understand a place that would squander an education to pay for a football team’s equipment so that team can win a state championship. I don’t understand the demonization of intellectualism.

I don’t understand a place that would allow for a person’s property to be vandalized because of the color of their skin.

I don’t understand a place that could call the first African American being elected president the number seventh most important news story of the year.

I learned that I miss playing piano.

I miss urban amenities like art and live music clubs.

I also learned that I mistyped by email address on my stumbleupon account and I can’t retrieve my password.

Thanks Holidailies readers. See you next year.

The plans of mice and men will sometimes freeze their butts off.

I had some business in Little Rock and I had planned to call my friend John and take him up on that offer to buy me a gyro from LAYLA’S HALAL. I also planned to go see the Warhol exhibition at the Arts Center. Alas, by the time I made it to my appointment and looked out the window, icicles had already begun forming on the branches of the trees. This meant that I pretty much drove straight back home. I was disappointed by this because my temperment is more suited to city dwelling with its gyro serving museum exhibit seeing tempo. OH what the hell, I really just wanted a bitchin (and free to me because John offer to pay) gyro!

I did discover that my Garmin works and the first time ride with the thing telling me to drive into a lake was a fluke. (seriously it told me to drive straight…into a lake. Okay to be fair the lake wasn’t on the Garmin. The Garmin saw a road there).

In life, I’ve been told I feel too much. In therapy, I get told that I intellectualize everything and don’t let myself feel enough. Who the hell knows?! I do know that even through trying times, I am able to compartmentalize things. If in public, someone is able to yell and say nasty things and I won’t cry. No matter how shitty things are, I have a complete inability to cry in public. Then later in the privacy of my own solitude, I will break down. I guess sometimes, I don’t give myself that appointment with solitude in order to let it out. Maybe I have some sort of emotional constipation where I have a backlog of shit. That was some nice imagery. I love myself.

Compartmentalizing is not completely without its perks. I was able to be sexually assaulted by a man and kick academic ass in the class that we both shared because no one was willing to kick him out of it. I was able to be the Veronica Mars of DC and investigate crime scenes and whatnot. Being able to keep on keeping on is a good thing. The bad thing is that sometimes you keep on keeping on and forget to take care of yourself. You will keep walking on that sprained ankle until you can’t walk anymore. Sometimes you forget to eat or eat everything in sight because you’re just keeping on and doing anything to keep on and keep from thinking about anything of any emotional significance. Sometimes you keep on and don’t see a problem until it’s pointed out by someone else.

movies and running.

“I hope you’re proud of who you’ve become and if not, I hope you have the strength to start all over.” –The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Last night, I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This was a fine large film that runs over two hours, has an all star cast, and covers the span of 80 years in its story telling.

Like anything involving life, the movie has some incredibly slow parts with some exciting parts and some profound parts. The combination of CGI, makeup, and other filmmaking tomfoolery that made Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett age over the course of this movie was amazing. The movie was based in New Orleans which is a city with a character all its own. Since this is a movie about the ephemerality of life, a city where the graves have to be above ground or the dead will float to the surface and voodoo shops are still around seems to be an appropriate setting.

The entire movie had this sepia tone tinge to it even though it was made in color. The performances were great.

The theme is a little heavy handed (Life is short and nothing is forever) but it is sweet just the same.

BEFORE THE MOVIE, I saw the trailer to the Star Trek movie. it was 100 types of awesome.

I also saw Welcome to the Dollhouse. I never realized that Daniel from Ugly Betty was the “popular rockstar guy” That was surreal. It was painfully realistic about the hell that is junior high. Almost too realistic to be funny but somehow the movie managed to make me laugh. Oh the hilarity.

Today’s eight mile “long run” was tiring. I wasn’t feeling good. I didn’t get much sleep the night before but I did it. My pace was slow but I did it.

I’m tired. Real tired. I also feel like I’ve settled which is a tiring realization. Tomorrow I get off my butt and do something about it.

Totally awesome videos … again

Yeah I know Usain Bolt got criticism for dancing and celebrating before he even crossed the finish line of his 100 meter dash but dammit, the man can run.

Kathy Griffin is so wrong yet so right.

Chris Rock is talking about racism and making me bust a gut from laughing.

Dave Chappelle is talking about racial differences. I was reminded of this today when my friend mentioned giving her kids “grape drink.”

Here’s a very rare tape of Anne Sexton reading “Her Kind”

This is a recording of Sylvia Plath reading “Daddy” with a video of photos over the audio. Her voice sounds like my stereotypical “Snotty girl” voice. That amuses me greatly. For some reason, I always thought she had a higher pitched voice.

This is the Benjamin Button trailer. I’m going to go see this which is why you got some videos instead of an actual written entry.

Deep and not so deep thoughts.

I’m tired. I ran 5 miles anyway so I’m probably a little loopy right now. Let’s run with it.

Does anybody else think those Snuggie things look like Monk habits? Oh wait. Diablo Cody does.

Since I live over 90 miles from the nearest Indian restaurant, I thought I would try out this chicken tikka masala sauce I found at Williams Sonoma. Also, I found a recipe for Naan that seems good.

I’m chuckling that Leatherfest is coinciding with the Presidential Inauguration. I would be laughing even harder if it had coincided with a McCain Presidential Inauguration. I still want a picture of the guy with the assless chaps.

Don’t get me wrong. I am way happy that Obama won.

My Garmin tried to kill me yesterday. It told me to go straight into a lake. Oops. Hal has nothing on my Garmin.

I’m all upset about Gaza and just want to get all Rodney King with Hamas and the Israelis. “Can’t you all just get along?” Apparently the answer is no.

Funny quote of the Christmas season: “I told my kids that Santa didn’t exist because I was tired of him getting credit for all my cool gifts”

Funniest conversation of the Christmas season: (overheard Mom telling kids to put out nuts for Santa’s reindeer)
Me: I thought you told me that you told your kids that Santa didn’t exist.
Friend: I did. They didn’t believe me.



I am a chronic list maker. I always carry a notepad of some type in my handbag or my bookbag to make notes. I always have a to-do list of some sort. I have a big “bucket list” with the sublime, the surreal, and the serious. This, however, is the list of goals for this year. I have a tendency to dream big.

  1. To finish the Little Rock half marathon
  2. To run a marathon (maybe Chicago, Marine Corps or Las Vegas)
  3. To see the Warhol exhibit in Little Rock
  4. To see the Postsecret exhibit in Bentonville
  5. To incorporate yoga into my workouts.
  6. To get at least 64 ounces of water a day
  7. To move from my humble hamlet to somewhere more urban. (this is the COUNTRY so “more urban” won’t be that hard)
  8. To try sushi (yes I’ve lived this long and haven’t tried any)
  9. Less processed food
  10. Read 50 books this year
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