Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Paper is not dead

Rule: Post-its will never be obsolete (until digital equivalent is made; really thin, tiny tablets that recognize handwriting... and can stick places?) because writing with one hand is simple. Typing with one hand takes forever. This makes post-its and notepads the number one note-taking thing of choice when people are on the phone (I say this with 0 amount of data and a sample size of me) or just holding something else (hey now) with the other hand.

I realize that this can be solved with headsets, but honestly, not that many people have adopted them, and they are still classified as accessories for a phone. Plus then there's the dichotomy of what if we made all phones headsets vs what if we made all phones tiny tablet computers, etc.

Has anybody come up with a digital equivalent for physical post-it notes that you can quickly jot notes down on while you've got a phone in one hand?


As long as people are trying to note-take with one out of two hands, people will need post-its.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Done with CONSUUUME posts for a while

Did you know I've had this blog for two years? Let's see what I did last December.

Am I an old lady? - Turns out, I'm just like an old lady. I love frilly things, cardigans, homemaking, and I ordered my first bottle of perfume ever the other day. It arrives this Friday! It's a lovely scent with ylang ylang and patchouli (yes, I'm also a hippie), and it starts out briefly with citrus, and ends with the warm and fuzzy notes of sandalwood and a spiced smell that others have characterized as basil, but reminds me more of nutmeg, peppercorn, vanilla, fruit, and honey.

Similies, metaphors, and analogies. - Yep, this site is still disorganized and makes me angry.

ZOMG MY MOM SENT ME TREATS FROM TAIWAN - Funny thing. I ate most all of those. Now I have a different pile of Asian treats in my new place that exists still from their last visit in the fall. I will never be without Asian treats, I think. The thing that I don't have that I miss the most? Those weird rice crisp crackers that are salty-sweet.

Yeah I skipped a week - I laugh at this. My new goal is four posts per month.

Rule: Watch this video and get into the season. Any season. With Pomplamoose.



I would apologize for the randomness of this post, but I'm sick, so NO APOLOGIES! HA!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I just thought of this right now

Hey readers. Are you really bad at giving gifts? Like, super sucky?

I have some 90% fail-proof solutions for gift-giving this holiday. They're not super thoughtful necessarily, but I can guarantee that the recipient will use it/them. Just a caveat, this is for anyone over the age of 19. Under that, and you're on your own. I have no idea what the kids like these days.




Photo credit: Respective retail websites

- Really nice (doesn't necessarily have to be fancy), unscented, or mildly-scented hand creme. This has to be something that you've tried out at least once and been like, "Wow, my hands feel great, and non-greasy! Also, I can't smell anything on my hands 2 minutes later!" Nivea has a "Hand Indulgence" with a mild scent, or Kiehl's has something called "Unusually Rich-But-Not-Greasy-At-All-Hand Cream with SPF 10." Related: really nice lip stuff (this should probably be fancy, and generally is better for ladyfolk, but sometimes men care too). I love Laura Mercier's Lip Silk.




Photo credit: Ancient Industries and Flickr user notanartist

- Really nice socks. Neutral, solid colors will guarantee usage, but if you know the person has a flair for color, go wild. Nobody wants to buy socks with their own money, but they have to, and then sometimes they end up with crappy socks that only last a month, and then they cling to the three pairs of quality socks they bought one time on sale. Give them more of these. Cashmere, Smart Wool, really nice cotton socks are all appreciated. Ancient Industries sells some awesome ones, as does Blackbird, or go to your local TJ Maxx or Loehmann's or whatever and buy nice socks.




Photo credit: Lauren Elizabeth and Vosges website

- A cold-weather drinks pack. Adjust for teetotaler, underage, or lactose-intolerant friends, but a bundle that has a small bottle of brandy or whiskey, a container of nice hot chocolate, and a container of nice tea is generally appreciated by all. And if the recipient doesn't like hot drinks, I'm sure his/her guests will want one at some point and it'll be a nice thing to offer others. The main key is to make sure it's all very yummy/good quality. Trader Joe's offers seasonally a thing called "European-style sipping chocolate" or something along those lines which is VERY excellent and comes in a festive tin. Other reputable brands include: Vosges, Blanxart for hot chocolate. Harney & Sons, Seven Cups for tea.




Photo credit: Umbra website, Anthropologie website

- A really nice wall hook. I'm serious. I know that the recipient will most certainly be confused, but think about it. Where are you going to put the coats? Where are you going to put the scarves? When will you not need to hang things on the wall? If you include a nice, cozy scarf or a nice, warm hat with earflaps, it may confuse the recipient less, but I assure you, if you have any clue about the person's taste enough to get them a brass wall hook in a style they might like, that person will use it. Maybe get them 3 wall hooks in different styles, if you're unsure! Modern, classic, whimsical are good categories. Slate has an article about holiday gift guides that mocks giving hardware for the holidays, and generally I agree, but I have admitted this gift will not make most jump up and down with glee. I will say again though: everybody can use a wall hook.


Rule: Don't argue with me, Slate. Wall hooks 4EVA! Also, one thing most people don't actually want: Self-portrait holiday cards. The only people who want them: grandmas. And they only want to see their grandbabies. Otherwise, unless they're super creative, there's always the internet if people want to see photos of you. Last point: the formula here is, find a thing that you know this person needs to buy regularly, but might not want to spend money on. Buy a seriously quality version of this item. Not ridiculous and/or expensive, but quality. Heck, I would appreciate really nice toilet paper. Though I do only buy myself the best. Charmin 4EVA! (apparently everything is 4EVA today)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quite possibly the cutest thing ever

Hey All. Interesting week this week. Came home every night way past bedtime, but overall, worth it. During the day, I've been having so much tea, I feel English. (And... my pee smells like earl grey?) As a result, very little blogging. But look! I found another cute soft thing.




[photo: Mariska]

I think it's really cute, anyway. Look at his crooked eyes!

We had a torrential downpour this week, and since everybody had transitioned to winter clothing already, many just wore their everyday outerwear. This brings me to my rule.

Rule: Do NOT wear down coats (unless they have some sort of waterproof shell) when it is raining. You will smell TERRIBLE, and the down - synthetic or not - will get mildewy and even worse-smelling. If you do this, I will make a face very similar to this cat. But more angry, less cute, and less fuzzy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why didn't I think of that?

...Oh yeah; because I can't sew.

Either way, this is an excellent idea for tall boots that flop over when you store them.

[photo: cupcakebomb]


Rule: Have a great Thanksgiving, and eat lots of yummy things.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A (not) Brief Analysis

Hi Guys!

So remember this post and this post on creativity and life-balance?

I've thought about it a lot, and thought about what makes me tick, personally. And here is some honesty. Get ready for some crazy too, as I think I'm getting a little sick.

I love to help people and make them smile. I really love it. I think it alternates between genuine altruism and loving to make people happy (happy people are fun people) and a selfish desire to make my friends an exclusive club that everybody wants to get into because they're so damn happy all the time. The result is, however, that I over-commit to a lot of things. Taking people out to dinner, shopping for pick-me-up presents, cooking meals, hosting parties, coming up with lots of energy to energize others, revving people up to go out because they feel like they're in a rut, seeing my friends on an individual basis and really listening to them, spending quality time with my significant other, spending silly time with my significant other, etc.

I also love to show off. Who doesn't? Praise is awesome, and being able to display things that you're good at gives you encouragement to go forth and do more. The result here is the same, I over-commit. Usually it's on a micro level - making too many things for a meal, or things that are too complicated - but sometimes it's on a macro level, trying to solve everybody's problems all at once. This leads me to making meals for everyone but myself, doing other peoples' work at work and not getting any of my own done, that kind of stuff. They say that pride cometh before a fall, but it's really more like pride cometh before you turn into an empty, hollow shell who's eating a giant bucket of popcorn for dinner in pajamas and bathrobe while making whimpery noises and wondering why it's cold in the house.

I want to improve myself over time, not stagnate. I have this crippling anxiety of becoming boring and everybody thinks I'm lame and nobody wants to hang out with me ever again because I'm no longer funny, clever, helpful, supportive, or that last dish I made was sucky. No, don't reassure me that I'm awesome (ok you can if you want). Trust me, this is something that needs to be addressed by a mental health professional, as it's deeply embedded. When I was younger, with more significant troubles in my life, I was alone a lot outside of school. That gave me a lot of time to read, be smart, think of funny things, and daydream. This is a pattern that I fell into as a defense mechanism that has now become the type of thing that recharges me. Now that I'm an adult, and much of those troubles are behind me, I have a much more packed social schedule, and that recharge pattern is less available. Then occasionally, somebody at a party will say something totally witty and I'll laugh my butt off, and my brain will do this:

"HAHAHAHHA that was so hilarious HAHAHAHA- oh god why am i not that funny i am deficient oh geez quick i need to read something smart somebody hand me a biology textbook or a calculus problem"

Plus stagnate is a yucky word. It sounds like some sort of unwanted bodily fluid, or something stinky that comes from the fermentation of sewer goop that Ferran Adria will science into something delicious and spherical at some point in 2015.


[credit: unknown, someone help me out] This is giraffe threads with spherified stagnate and cheese gel.


I want to surround myself with loved ones. Again, this is kind of a no-brainer. I don't want to lose touch or relevance with the people I really admire and love, and who also really care about me. This means - as my friends happen to be scattered all over - I spend a lot of time sleeping on planes and buses, spending money, vacation hours, and brain-energy, and physical energy. Sometimes they come see me. All of which rules. I'm definitely not complaining. However, this means I get home and there's a ton of laundry, I have no food, I have no money, and my bathroom is a crazy haven for cave crickets, which are like terrifying jumpy spider things. Seriously terrifying get out of my house why are you in my house i hate you.

This is what I came up with:

Rule: Secure your own mask before assisting others.

They say during the portion of airplane flights when you're trying to figure out how to fit your personal pizza, your bottled water, and that stupid magazine you bought into that pocket in front of you. I think the announcement is supposed to be calming or something. The idea is if something bad happens and you have no oxygen, these colostomy bags fall out of the ceiling and you put them on your face. Or... oxygen thingies? Either way, they're supposed to make you not asphyxiate. You put them on your own face before putting other ones on other peoples' faces. This is because if you're running out of oxygen, you get all loopy, panicky, and floppy, and it's really unattractive. ALSO, makes you really bad at putting masks on other people. Really, nobody wants any of that.

This is true of life. First you gotta put the colostomy bag on your face. Then you're like a superhero. Is it getting hot in here? *thud*


I'm back! I'm up. It's fine.


Point is, everybody wants you to be the best you can be; you should want that too. Doing things that recharge you will make all these other things much easier. Artificially producing creativity, support, or knowledge is basically mentally forcing it. And as with poops, it's unsatisfying, exhausting, potentially painful, and sometimes shooty.

Those are my thoughts. Hopefully they weren't too shooty.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pre-populate, and your life will become easier

Hey All!

I have a lovely friend who has a lovely blog with excellent writing. Her name is Elizabeth Downie, and this is her blog. I'm usually laughing my head off reading her posts, so I thought I'd ask her for some tips and tricks in an interview!

(Fancy, huh? This way, I don't have to come up with my own content! Woohoo!)



Me: Hi, Elizabeth! First of all, I want to say that I think your blog is super fun to read, and that I'm glad you decided to write it! Why don't we start by having you tell our readers why you started your blog?

Elizabeth: I needed a creative outlet. I enjoy my job but it allows me no creativity! I've always enjoyed writing and making people laugh. Blogging is a good way to combine the two! I was nervous about starting a blog - that's something I don't tell too many people. I was afraid it was vain for me to assume anyone would care what I had to say. But after about two posts, I was hooked. And I completely changed my mind about blogging being vanity. Blogging is about sharing our lives with each other, staying connected, and giving us something to read when we're bored at work.


Me: What do you think makes a great story?

Elizabeth: I think a great story is one where you can picture what the person is telling you about and relate to what they're saying. I try to make my stories relatable. I live a really fast paced, Hollywood lifestyle though so it's not easy. But I try to remind people that I'm really just like them and there's no reason to be nervous around me.

Me: Who among your friends or family is your favorite storyteller?

Elizabeth: My family is full of story tellers, especially my uncles (on both sides of my family). Family get togethers are always full of hilarious stories, with a
little bit of exaggeration thrown in here and there to spice things up. It's hard for me to choose one! They all crack me up.


Me: You use a lot of humor in your posts; you always have me laughing! How do you turn an ordinary story into a hilarious story?

Elizabeth: First of all, thanks! Secondly, I always try to find the humor in whatever situation I'm in. Sometimes it's not easy. Life is hard, and we can either laugh or cry, right? When it comes to what I write in my blog, I choose to laugh. I save the crying for later. I use my blog as a place to think positively - I never want to write anything in it that would bum people out. That gives me the opportunity to think about what happened and find the humor in it. Usually I can do that by laughing at myself, and poking fun at the things I do.

Me: Who are other bloggers who you think tell excellent stories?

Elizabeth: I love my friend Sara's blog. She is a great writer and photographer, and the combination of the two make her blog completely charming. (http://wandercraft.blogspot.com/). I have a long list of blogs I follow on my side bar and I read every post those bloggers write. I love reading about my friends and family's lives and am always thrilled to see an updated blog!

Me: How do you deal with really tough stories? The ones that are sad, personal, or scary?

Elizabeth: Most of the time I don't write about those, but when I occasionally do, I try to just be me and be honest. It's scary putting stuff out there. And those types of posts get the fewest comments which makes a blogger feel even more insecure. But if I feel I need to say it, I just say it. You have to be true to yourself as a blogger. When you are, your readers will know what they can expect from you.

Me: Any tips for budding storytellers?

Elizabeth: Be yourself. Think about what makes you you - do you love your dog? Do you love to read? Do you love sports? What is it that makes you you? Think about that and let that guide you as you write in your blog. Your passion and honestly will draw people in and make them want to get to know you more.

Thank you for giving me the chance to answer these questions, Sandy! I feel so honored that you asked. I hope it's what you were looking for. :) See you in the blogosphere. ;)


Thank you, Elizabeth! So there you have it, tips from an amazing storyteller and all-around classy lady.

Rule: Have classy ladies in your life; it makes things better. Also, do check out Elizabeth's blog, because it's pretty awesome! If you have any other thoughts on storytelling, leave 'em in the comments. I would love to read them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

1.21 gigawatts! Great SCOTT!

Rule: the best way to soothe a curmudgeon on a Monday: sit her in front of a giant cheeseburger, a cold soda, mobile internet, and leave her alone.

I'm fighting off whatever cold my boyfriend had; it's floating around our apartment, scratching at my immune system and mewling loudly, so no giant post today. For your entertainment, here's a conversation I had with the boy:

- me: when will you be home?
- boy: 3pm
- me: it is 4:31p
so
good luck
godspeed

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I like consuming cute things

I eat kittens for breakfast. I don't put milk on them or they get soggy.

Actually, this is entirely untrue. But check this out:

Belly Owl Ornament

This is from one of my favorite stores: Terrain. They're gardening/terrarium-focused, but they have a lot of neat stuff for your kitchen, your home, and for da ladies, all with beautiful packaging. I highly recommend checking them out. I've watched them accumulate lots of press from other bloggers recently, and I'm glad for it, since now I know they won't go out of business. They have an awesome holiday line of stuff right now!

Anyway, OMG IT'S SO CUTE with the giant tummy and eyes. The end.

Rule: Don't eat kittens, with milk or otherwise.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So, what did they say?

Here are some excerpts of what my friends said. They are all awesome, so you might find some tips that will help you out, especially with holiday/winter craziness coming upon us. I'd always love to see more tips and tricks on keeping a good balance, so feel free to leave your own in the comments.


- photo from icanhascheezburger

"For me, keeping my passion has been built on two major things; forgiving myself for "failing" and putting up goals which I can reach.[...] I personally don't think that there is one good way to keep passion in life, for me it was to find solutions for my weaknesses, for you it might be to challenge your strenghts. And I don't think that this one way works for more than a few years or months. For me, my life has changed so much since I started my internship that I had to find a new way that worked right now to not burn-out. But maybe you at least got some inspiration on how to do it, or how not to do it now ;)

I also think that cycles are good, I think they make you develop, how else would you have begun to reflect on this?"
- my social media marketing friend

"- BIG THINGS: I check in on myself all the time. If there's something that consistently makes me happy, I structure my life around it, like making time for lindy hop and friends. Conversely, when I feel a general sense of unease, I pinpoint the source and then make a structural change to my life, like becoming vegetarian.
- LITTLE THINGS: I keep a focus on things that I would like to do more of, try to modify my habits to do them more, and then pat myself on the back when I do them. Positive visualization, as hokey as that might sound. Also hanging out with inspiring people, like you! Conversely, I remove things/people from my life when they're not worth my time or they stress me out.
- TRENDS: I'm figuring out what works best for me, but not stressing out about not being there yet, or not getting it right all the time. Oooh, other new insight: what that means is allowing all my personality traits that I've had since I was a kid (reflective, liking change, outgoing, procrastinating, bursting, etc.) to coexist. Tricky stuff when they would make me act in contradictory ways; sometimes I can allow them to coexist without stepping on each other, and sometimes one needs to win out over the other.
- I talk about it with my friends. I'll be interested to hear what you conclude once you collect and digest all the responses to your email!"
- a dancer friend

"I think some activities lend themselves better to different types of management than others. For example, I keep family stuff on a regimen - I call my parents once a week on the weekend (of course, I answer e-mails and chats right away - online communication is something I keep on top of because both my life and job are reliant on it and it doesn't take a lot of effort to leave a mail window open).

Creative stuff is harder for me. Usually, I am inspired to take on a project and I power it through it as quickly as I can because a) I stand to learn something from doing it b) it could be potential portfolio material, so I want to get it done and c) I am impatient and want to see immediate results of my ideas. You are right that this can cause burn-out, but I typically focus on different things - it's never all writing or all 3D or whatever. It's more like "I'm inspired to do this thing! I'm doing it, now it's done!" and it feels kind of neat and tidy like I can check it off the list and focus on something else. So I guess you could say I manage creative urges in little chunks. "
- my game designer friend

"I try to get rid of stuff that I don't enjoy. I also have been wasting my time less and less with shit like tv and internet.

I also try to get people to not expect things from me that I don't want to do.

I also try to get in habits of doing things (like music practice) as a habit. Like, daily at a certain time. I don't stress about it though."
- another dancer friend

"I thought for a long time about this, and the only thing I consistently come up with is: do what makes you feel is right. It's cliche advice but so hard to take. There are so many times where I think what I am doing doesn't fell right, when really, it doesn't feel right to others and I am taking on their feelings as my own. It takes a lot of self awareness and courage to say, this is what I really want to do right now, be it writing or socializing. You should try things out and see what feel best for you. And also, take some time to get to know yourself enough to be able to actually make that discovery. [...] I try to think about what it is I really want to do, and accepting that. It's hard and I'm not always successful (unsuccessful more often than not) but ultimately, I'm hoping it will result in a happier self."
- a college friend

Rule: My friends always amaze me at how smart they are.

My thoughts soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

LOOK OUT Y'ALL HERE COME THE HOLIDAYS AAAA

Hi Everyone.

I've been trying to be more self-centered. Oh don't worry, I do realize that this is hilarious coming from a blogger. However, I tend to over-commit to cooking things, party hosting (which involves cooking things), supporting my friends who totally rock, and maintaining my relationship with the boy. With me getting home at around 7p each night - sometimes later when I want to have dinner with a friend - it barely leaves enough time for me to do things that enrich me and make me feel healthy.

Recently, I am giving myself a pat on the back because I've been able to say no. I've been turning down opportunities to go to dance parties, I've been dropping my pride and allowing others to showcase their cooking skills, I've been getting some fucking sleep. The results? Awesomeness. My last post, though perhaps not the most interesting, was a result of a wholly relaxing weekend of doing things that I liked to do, and that my brain liked to do too.

I've had help though. Oh don't you think I haven't had help. A loooong time ago, I wrote an email to a few friends that went like this:

Hi. Wanted to ask some of the people I respect for their ability to keep passion in their lives a question.

I was recently writing up a blog post and thinking about how nice it was to write up a blog post (sooo meta). Upon reveling in this feeling, I thought, "What have I been doing that's kept me from doing this?" And I couldn't really think of much specifically. I did notice though that I had been partying and socializing and taking trips and shopping and random other stuff. Since I like to categorize, I decided that was me mostly relaxing but also maintaining and building my relationships with people around me.

I then thought back to a recent time when I was working on self-improvement and writing quite a bit. I ended up feeling like I didn't have enough time to socialize with friends or build on my relationships with people. I was mostly hanging out at home, writing or taking photos or cooking. It seemed like my life was going through these cycles: creativity/expression/self-improvement time, then social/relationship/helping others time.

Cycles seem natural and healthy. Like seasons. Upon closer examination, however, I was thinking about my writing and about my relationships with people. Each time I go through the social portion of the cycle, my writing is set back, because it requires practice and time. Each time I go through the expression portion of the cycle, my relationships stagnate and I feel like I lose touch. I never really get great at writing, and I never really connect with people in a natural way. Thinking about this caused me to have some of the anxiety - partially because of my perfectionism-encouraging upbringing, but also because I feel unhealthy when I don't progress. I don't want to regress, that's for sure, and I understand that a plateau of life-growth is expected at times, but I feel like I've been plateauing for a sad amount of time.

One of the solutions I came up with is to have a regimen. Not one that needs to confine itself to a daily agenda (30 minutes for this, 15 minutes for that, etc.), but one that is strict nonetheless, with goals that are challenging but attainable. The benefit is stability and balance. The problem with this is that regimens are hard. But there are people who seem to be able to balance these things without needing to adhere to shit. Are they super people? Anyway, the other solution I came up with was to be super intense when I cycle through these segments of interest. Take advantage of my feeling creative and being REALLY REALLY CREATIVE, or take advantage of my feeling social and be REALLY REALLY SOCIAL. The benefit is getting to focus on what you feel like focusing on. The problem with this solution is it causes burnout very fast.

Then there are the other things to balance: work, laundry, family...

Anyway, my question is this: how do you do it? How do you think others are able to balance this? What would be your ideal way to handle this conflict?

For those of you who have super-busy lives, there's no obligation to answer (esp. considering the nature of this email). Just wanted to loop y'all in on my thoughts and receive answers if you've got 'em handy.


I'll be releasing interesting ideas from my friends in the next post! Stay tuned and all that.



Rule: Ask your friends for help. They're smart.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things that make my brain happy

Here is my weekend!

Went to a Boilermakers Jazz Band show and danced the night away...


Bought some beautiful seckel pears at the farmers' market...


And made a pillow box and botanical tag for my friend's birthday present!


It was super nice to exercise my brains and my fingers.


Though when I made the cap for the acorn, the boy had no clue what was going on and was trying to guess what it was. "Sausage!" he yelled. "LOG!"


He didn't really link it at all with the oak leaf.


Oh well.

Rule: Take your brain out on a date. You will feel good about it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

To Prevent Mom-Butt

Rule: If the top of your back pockets on your pants are higher than the noticeable portion of your buttocks, you will appear to have mom-butt. In other words, if your pockets are higher than your cheeks, they'll look saggy.

High-waisted or low, remember this.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spooning

I am thinking about spoons.

I love spoons. I love scooping, scraping, slurping. I never get poked by the tines of a spoon. A tiny cup with a handle. A measured mouthful that won't overwhelm my mouth. I love a good one won't smush my nose when I squeegee the last bit of soup from the bowl part of spoon with my lips.

Hang them off your nose, watch colorful berry coulis dribble from one side, taste the hot soup you're seasoning, anticipate the graceful curl off the bottom of the spoon when scooping ice cream. Wooden spoons have the soft give, the xylophone-y tomp when banged against the side of a pot. Metal spoons have the shiny curves, ornate shoulders, fairy-like tink against a teacup.


Photo by: Nicky Ryan / source


Here is its anatomy:

The bowl tip - Here is your introduction. Here is the beginning, here is where you start slupping, touching your tongue to see if it's hot. This is tasting before tasting. Talking about the weather before talking about how she feels about her cancer. Eye contact before a smile.

The bowl - Home is where the heart is, and the heart of this bite is in the bowl of the spoon. This is where the single cherry comes to rest after rolling around your plate. A tiny island of ice cream melts into its cradle. Spices swirl, chunks of ingredients are hefted, and liquids are tenuously cupped. Sugar cubes are dunked into coffee. Colors collide, then mix.

The drop - That little bump between the bowl and the rest of the handle. This is the tease, where the tip of your tongue goes when you put the spoon in your mouth. Here is where moderation is; this is no infinite vehicle for consumption. This is Sunday, it is the end and the beginning. The rest before the rest.

The shoulders - Before the handle starts, a little shrug, a wink. Your lips might touch the shoulders when eating soup, trying to savor every drop: a goodbye kiss. An until-we-meet-again kiss.

The stem - This is the long and slender waist, the part you love to grab. If your spoon is an experienced lady, she will not twist and giggle, she will feel smooth and steady. You can steer her, dip her, savor what she has to offer.

The handle - The beginning of the end. It rests gently in the crook between your thumb and pointer finger. Flat and stable, this is how you control the angle. This is where you can be the surgeon, you are precise, you are calculating. When all is lost - as sometimes happens scraping out a can that's too tall - this is the saving grace. You see the handle, you grasp it, you make the rescue. You are the hero. Lick your fingers. Drop it into the sink after an ephemeral save.

The terminal - Floral and ornate, or simple and modest. The parting glance, the wave from the train, the dual-hand handshake, the ribbon that fell from her hair. It's a favor. Jordan almonds, chocolate mints, photobooth Polaroid, a little bit of port; one for the road. There is no doubt about it, this is the end.


Photo by: Flickr user justmakeit / source

Rule: Appreciate utensils. Except sporks, which are just spoons with a douchey haircut from the 90's. (Are - are those frosted tips?)

Bonus rule: If anyone makes a "there is no spoon" joke, I will be sad.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Who, me? Emo?

We all search something for a thing we don't actually want to find. We all look in our hobbies, our habits, our relationships for something that will solve some problem, unlock something deep within us, give us the everlasting high.

Who treated you like what in your youth? Who left your love unrequited? What comfort was ripped from you? What trust was betrayed? What was your biggest regret? What was your biggest failing?

Where will you find it again, the part that will make you whole? It might be at the bottom of that glass, it might be in that next bite of cake, what if it's at the end of that video game, or maybe in the next person who cares about you. It could be another pair of shoes, it could be that perfect dance, maybe if you bleed a little more, maybe if you donated more money, it might be after the next pound you lose, it could be in that fresh pack of cards, it might be in your child, what if it's somewhere in that movie, or in a compliment the next person gives you, it must be some code in the number of IQ points you have.

Of course, there are plenty of things we do because they simply make us happy. Kissing, cartwheels, popping bubble wrap, writing hate mail to Michael Buble, etc.

This is the part of the blog post where I don't follow through completely on a thought I have and end it unsatisfactorily without any editing. (I have a goal to get to bed in a timely fashion, which competes with my goal to practice writing more)

On a completely unrelated note whatsoever, here are the only photos of food I took of the dinner I made for my parents which I hope they liked gosh what if they didn't like it i bet they still disapprove of me when will it ever be enough what if i lit myself on fire... cake.

As you can see, it's unacceptable. I mean, I didn't get to do all the things to it I wanted. Like rub babies on it, or frost it properly.



Rule: Practice writing long before bedtime. Also, examining motivations can be fun! And terrifying! HAPPY HALLOWEEN. Oh wait, not yet. Don't worry, I can find scarier things.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Le Freak C'est Chic

What do you do when your parents come to town and want to have dinner with you and your long-term boyfriend? Panic.

I mean, impress them with your awesome culinary skills. Even if they refuse to be impressed. So I guess I just mean cook.

Rule: When in doubt, cook something elaborate with too many steps and don't allow yourself enough time. Or... wait. Don't actually do that. I've been making stuff ahead of time tonight for about 3 hours straight. Tomorrow? More cooking.

Do as I say, not as I do. What I'm making for my parents:

Appetizer: Parmesan cones with baby portobellos and red pepper

Entree: Phyllo cups with kale, sausage, white beans and squash on a bed of polenta with mountain Gruyere / side of roasted peppers and onions

Dessert: White chocolate mousse cake with spiced pears and white chocolate curls and this action.

We'll see if any photos happen.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I want a big salty tube

Well, that post title should get some hits. Me and the boy were discussing hot dogs. We got some fancy gourmet ones at the farmers' market, and they were okay, but not... hot dogs. I want a homogeneous, savory, spiced, sweaty tube of meat. My vegetarian friends can just look away. And also children. Actually, I'm just gonna say nobody watch me eat hot dogs, please. This hot dog wasn't homogeneous enough, not sweaty enough, and definitely not spiced properly.

It did not go well with ketchup. It did not go well with relish. It went okay with mustard (what doesn't, really?). It went okay with cheese (same story). Where was my flavor explosion of the savory, the sweet, the sour, the hot? I did not think of summer, grass tickling my feet, baseball games I would never attend. I thought of how sad I was it wasn't a real hot dog.

Rule: Don't ever buy fancy hot dogs. You can buy regular hot dogs and put fancy things on them, but don't buy fancy hot dogs.

Next time: Beets. Or spoons. Unsure.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Things I made, then promptly stuffed into my face.











The first is scalloped tomatoes and the second is a corn avocado soup with Salvadorian crema and parsley oil (was supposed to be cilantro, but I mis-grabbed).

Rule: If you make and eat delicious things, it takes up the time that would normally be spent blogging... or procrastinating blogging.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Seriously, not sure what's up with this.

Rule: I always drop food on the floor.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

O Hai, Humidity

I made candy last week. Not just any candy though, this candy. Tartelette is an awesome food/pastry blogger, and I admire her skill with food and cameras to no end! I highly recommend checking her blog out.

No, I didn't make the cake. It turns out that in my quest to learn how to bake, I also figured out a loophole to make it so I end up cooking.

Sugar/pasty work is hard. Lots of things can go wrong; even the slightest mistake can lead to your food not turning out right (see also: disastrous, sticky burning), and because of that, it's hard to tell whether recipes actually work. In making this, I was like, "Is the recipe not working right? Is my thermometer not calibrated correctly? Did I heat it up too much? Oh no, did I bump the pot? Is the thermometer crystalizing the sugar and reading incorrectly?" I also did a lot of thinking, "AAAAAUGHHH WHY IS THIS SO HARD???"

To be fair, however, I only failed twice. 3rd time, and ignoring the original recipe's the charm, apparently. Caveat: it is really humid here, so it's also unclear whether that affects the original recipe, even though the writer of the recipe is also in a humid part of the mid-Atlantic (see why this is confusing and complicated?). Fortunately for my sanity, I had previously made candy at a Hollywood Magic (or some other badass name) at a day camp at the best museum in the world: The Science Museum of Minnesota. Go there. Be in awe. So I knew that if I just made something like a lollipop, it would achieve the correct effect. I also found this really ugly and horribly designed website that also happens to be the most informative site on candy making out there. Please beware on behalf of your eyes. Has awesome troubleshooting and tips section.

AAAANYWAY, here was the final result.


Yes, you're seeing that correctly; not only did I not bake a cake, I didn't really have anything to stick it in besides this bread.

It was beautiful, thin, colorful, and delicious. Except then the humidity made it sticky. And bloomy aka ended up looking like it was molding. Then when I brought it to work to share, all the pieces stuck to each other in one giant, pointy, shard-y lump. HOWEVER at that point, they were still translucent and really did look like a stained glass window. I AM STILL COUNTING THAT AS A SUCCESS.

Rule: Sugar gets very hot and above the temperature boils at, and is STICKY. Meaning if you get some on you while hot, not only will be be worse than pouring boiling water on yourself, IT WILL ATTACH TO YOU. Please have a bowl of ice water for dunking hot body parts into just in case. Also, perseverance is delicious. As Tartelette says, do not fear the sugar!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Clawfooty

My renewed effort to learn how to bake started with belligerently making clafoutis (not actually pronounced the way it looks in the title of this post) while the boy was off playing ultimate frisbee with other steely-calved peers. It's basically crepe batter on fruit and baked. I used this recipe: RECIPE. In all honesty, it doesn't taste as fancy as it looks, though it is quite tasty. I suppose "rustic dessert" is the most apt description. I'm not knocking on it, just sayin'. Looks rrl rrl fancy when you have individual ones in scalloped dishes. Like so:




(squeeee I made those!)

I may have been on the verge of yelling "I CAN *SO* BAKE!!" when I pulled them out of the oven. They weren't quite as custardy the next evening as I felt like they should have been, so I'm not sure what to add or subtract for more custard-texture-action; possibly more eggs? Less baking? Somebody with more experience, help me out here.

I think my next project will either be a reader-submitted recipe, or some wildly-difficult layer cake with crazy candy decoration which I will ultimately get frustrated at and chew with undue savagery. So uh... maybe somebody should post a recipe?

Also, I should really stage my food photos so I don't always need to use the macro setting to make it look good.

Rule: Butter and sugar will always smell great together.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Measuring, measuring, oh god, precision!

So.

Lots of my friends have heard me complain about baking. Mainly, my fears about baking. In fact, I've probably blogged about it right here and completely forgot about it. There's a lot of measuring and precision in baking (or such it seems to me, since proportioning things also requires measuring). I've mentioned lots of times that once you put the whatever in the oven, there's no telling what will happen. It's with god, at that point. A big, fiery, gassy god with a mouth that glows and transforms things into baked goods. You can't add more egg or baking powder once you've tasted it, like when you're cooking. You gotta do everything right beforehand.

But I love cake. And cookies. And pie. I've already gotten good at the non-flour-based baked desserts, and I miss the pillowy, spongey comfort of flour. So I'm gonna do it. I'm going to try to learn how to bake without making myself a complete mess. Now that I have an oven that isn't the size of a laptop and tilted toward magnetic north. Deep breaths, measuring cups, and a patient boyfriend should get me through this, right? Any tips?

Rule: Measure twice, eat once. Wait, that's a shitty rule. If you can conquer your fears and produce cakes simultaneously, that's a pretty good deal. Wait, that's not really a good rule either. No rule this week. Leave your favorite baked-good recipe, and I will attempt it.


This is a slice of my boyfriend's bread. He has far surpassed me in baking skillz.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Disease! Germs! Comfort food!

Things strewn about my house when I am sick:

1 small cast-iron skillet, buttered, with fried egg fragments on the 2nd to largest burner of the stove
1 stick of butter, partially unwrapped
1 thermos of earl grey tea
1 mug of almost-gone earl grey tea
1 book of "Extreme Fiction" on top of toilet tank
1 glass of orange juice, empty except for little dried pulp bits
2 cell phones, near laptop
1 laptop, with several internet windows and tabs open
1 blanket, dragged everywhere I go
Several cookbooks, open to different pages
3 plates, 2 bowls, 1 mixing bowl, 2 spatulas, 5 glasses in the sink
A multitude of crumbs
Ideas about cooking
Thoughts about exercise
Feelings of self-pity
Several coughs
Headaches stay in my head
1 jar of Nutella, almost empty
1 knife with faint smears of Nutella on it

Rule: If you spend a bunch of time worrying about and planning a big event, then throw yourself wholly into it, you will get sick. Also: butter is an excellent healing agent.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Words are lovely

Let's read someone who says it better than I do:

(Reprinted WITHOUT permission)

Perhaps the World Ends Here

by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.

"Perhaps the World Ends Here" by Joy Harjo, from Reinventing the Enemy's Language. © W.W. Norton and Co., 1998.

Rule: Think of what the dining table/space means to you. Post comments. Also, when it is continually 90 degrees F and muggy as all getout, PICK UP YOUR DOG DOOKS. Oh the humanity. (Doo-manity)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

France!

Sooooooo, in case you missed the bragging, here are the photos.

http://picasaweb.google.com/thatgirl.sandy/France2010#

Rule: The croissants are always better in France. (it's the butter. and the skill)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Can't talk now; France.

Lots of super Frenchy experiences thus far including but not limited to: eating pain au chocolat in the morning, looking at attractive people, being affected by people going on strike (this was partially in our favor, as we ended up not having to pay for TGV tickets, woohoo!), wearing a scarf, and listening to Django-style guitar on the Seine.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Slurpy times but not those slurpy times.



So, yeah. This is me. "What an unflattering photo!" You might think. And yeah, it's pretty horrendous. But I don't care. Because I'm eating a mango.

I think that instead of everybody reading Michael Pollan (I mean... do read Michael Pollan and Wendell Berry and all those fun people) and having those people try to really slow down to eat, all people - allergic ones aside - should be given a mango and a knife. And maybe a sink or a tub or something.

Do you ever look at children, or even animals eating fruit and get a little bit envious? They way they just don't care, they love the food so much they kinda rub it on their heads or shove their faces into it? They are seriously relishing, reveling, and rioting in their food. We don't really do that anymore as adults in such a privileged country. Except when we eat mangoes.

You see, my friends, there is not a very good way of efficiently chopping up a mango. Mango pitters are just stupid; you really need to feel out the tasty portions near the pit with your teeth anyway or else you get some bitter, fiberous crap that makes you angry and gets stuck in your gums. The best way I know of to eat a mango is to slice off lobes from all four sides, then slicing a tic-tac-toe board into the fleshy side not quite to the skin. You then push at the center of the lobe from the other side, making it go from concave to convex, and the squares of mango extend and present themselves for eating.

Generally, it's easiest to eat this part with two hands. You can just nimbly grab the cubes with your teeth and pull them from the outer skin and you get delicious, sweet mango. Peeling with a vegetable peeler is okay, but you have to peel it about a thousand times over because there is a visually imperceptible layer under the skin that is still bitter, but looks like the tasty mango goodness. After eating all four lobes, you have a piece of mango that's shaped like a long shoebox. You look at it longingly, knowing the pit isn't really that big, and there's all that tasty mango left. Slicing it would be time-consuming. So, you pick it up with both hands, and just start gnawing at it, letting the tender parts tear gently from the pit and slide into your mouth. By this point, you should have mango on your cheeks, juice running from your palms to your elbows, and maybe a tiny fleck of mango on your nose.

You cannot ignore the mango at this point. Eating a mango is an attention-consuming, sense-engulfing, golden-juice-dripping process. You need to devote all of your concentration to eat this succulent thing. You can't check Facebook while eating it, unless you want your keyboard to be a sticky ant-incinerator (my laptop gets very hot). You need to be vigilant or the naked mango will go shooting from your slippery hands. Speaking of hands, eating a mango takes both of them. It takes a bit of time. It creates a great amount of enjoyment: the creamy, floral aroma; the clean, sweet taste with a hint of grass; the happy-colored fruit; the sheer hedonistic pleasure of taking food into your bare hands and putting it straight to your face. How can anyone be oblivious to a food that looks like sunshine and gets all over your upper body in the process?

More brazen than peaches, but with a similar satisfying, juicy ripeness, and less organized and chaste than an orange, mangoes are the symbol of happy, unabashed, carnal nature. A mango is that girl whose slept with everybody, but genuinely and consummately loved each of her companions. She's never been the prettiest or the most proper, but has always been the most fun. She forgets her purse everywhere, but all it has in it is lipstick, firecrackers, and cab fare. However, she remembers everybody's name, and never fails to pick flowers for every lonely person. The mango is tender, bright, hefty, and sensual.

Thanks, mangoes, for helping us understand the slow food movement.

Rule: Eat mangoes only with your hands and a knife. Also, throw out your mango-pitter if you have one. They're so silly.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This is what summer should be.

Via Prince of Petworth:



Rule: Enjoy the outdoors. With your face. In some nature.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Critiquing/Revision time

So, that last post that I posted was definitely not a shining gem. I figured I'd take you along for the thrill ride of a first revision. Now, this is how I would critique any work, and this may not be your style, or a recommended style, but this is how I do. Hope you find it interesting.

It's about to storm outside. The hall smells like warm licorice. It's overwhelming this sentence really describes nothing. The weight of the air feels like a bed sheet. The kind that diffuses light in the morning and my eyelashes brush against it as I blink myself awake not sure if this is a good analogy.

Outside, there is the metallic smell of earth, and the sweet smell of vegetation. Water makes everything bolder, fearless switch with next sentence, also, this needs to be less of a command. The scent of the outdoors gets stronger when it gets wet, as it absorbs, breathes, comes to life. The smell gets into your upper sinuses - a cloud that floats into your brain and hangs there is this an exciting sentence?. Water atoms glide around each other, stirring thoughts what thoughts? why? we need a hint of the thoughts.

I have a headache that sits like an animal at the back of my skull. It sulks there, cold and shuddering where my spine connects with my brain stem conflicted about the use of official terms vs vernacular. I'm re-reading The Secret Garden and imagine this rain on the garden. Plump, warm drops enriching the secret. Whispering on each leaf and then what? The Secret Garden goes nowhere. Perhaps these are the thoughts that are being stirred?. When I breathe the storm-pregnant air, it makes me excited for the coming release release of what? need a hint.. It feels like I've swallowed something cottony but rich MOAR DESCRIPTION PLZ. New paragraph It is as though I have walked to the back of my mouth, and I am looking down the sheer cliff of my throat, straight down into the pit of my stomach, and in it, I see life, that hot and glowing brick I don't know if I buy this description. I am exhilarated by the height, the thought of the drop. I imagine this is how raindrops feel: air rushing by their round faces, the thrilling fall, the eager anticipation to be accepted completely by the earth Good sentence, but must scrap. Not what the narrator is concerned about.

The piece has a lot of description and few crucial mini-subjects/points. They are the stirred thoughts, the headache, the secret garden, and the obvious life-examination. None of these points are linked, and none of them are fully explained. Perhaps the headache that occurred during the writing of this caused that, but now the headache is gone and it's time to cut and figure out what the real message or feeling this piece is supposed to convey. Take out the "stirring thoughts" portion; it's obvious that the narrator is thinking, and there's no reason for that to be in there. Expand on the Secret Garden or take it out completely. It seems as though this might have been just a passing thought that has no relevance to the whole. The main point of the piece seems to be the last paragraph about the exhilaration of life, and how the narrator comes alive with thought and examination just as nature comes alive when it rains. It seems to be a piece about marveling and possibly reveling, and less about relationships; which makes the last sentence incongruous. Main thoughts: cut out a lot of stuff, figure out the real point, because it seems as though the piece was just rambling to figure out the real point/what the narrator is thinking or wants to say, which starts to show itself near the end.

Rule: Revise your stuff. Read Annie Dillard. Then revise your stuff again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Topical inane musings: Weather edition

It's about to storm outside. The hall smells like warm licorice. It's overwhelming. The weight of the air feels like a bed sheet. The kind that diffuses light in the morning and my eyelashes brush against it as I blink myself awake.

Outside, there is the metallic smell of earth, and the sweet smell of vegetation. Water makes everything bolder, fearless. The scent of the outdoors gets stronger when it gets wet, as it absorbs, breathes, comes to life. The smell gets into your upper sinuses - a cloud that floats into your brain and hangs there. Water atoms glide around each other, stirring thoughts.

I have a headache that sits like an animal at the back of my skull. It sulks there, cold and shuddering where my spine connects with my brain stem. I'm re-reading The Secret Garden and imagine this rain on the garden. Plump, warm drops enriching the secret. Whispering on each leaf. When I breathe the storm-pregnant air, it makes me excited for the coming release. It feels like I've swallowed something cottony but rich. It is as though I have walked to the back of my mouth, and I am looking down the sheer cliff of my throat, straight down into the pit of my stomach, and in it, I see life, that hot and glowing brick. I am exhilarated by the height, the thought of the drop. I imagine this is how raindrops feel: air rushing by their round faces, the thrilling fall, the eager anticipation to be accepted completely by the earth.

Rule: Splashing around in rain and puddles then taking a hot shower or bath is the best thing ever. No way that is not the best thing ever.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I got tackled off a bar stool

And thus got kicked out of a bar. This was my first time ever getting kicked out of a bar!! I'm actually quite proud of myself. I've been kicked out of a Meijer, but that's easy because people are uptight at Meijer. Especially if you go around plunging stuff with a plunger and then setting the stuff in different parts of the store. The staff's outrage is so silly, because what else are big box stores for? Plus it's not like I was hurting anything. I can't think of any more times when I've been kicked out of retail or some other venue.

Anyway, that's it this week. Last week I was still ill (and a crazy person), so no posting then.

Here's the rule: Get kicked out of a place, but don't get the cops called on you. The ultimate in classy fun.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A bit of fiction.

Lilacs bob outside my window. They smell like paper smeared with honey. The shadows try to sweep the bits of sunlight from my desk, but they stay put. I put my hands in the sun to warm my fingers. I weave the warmth with my fingers, twisting them in the air. The creases in my fingers look deep, like fault lines. Imperfections in the foundations of the land, pushing and pulling, shaving crumbles off each other. Maybe my fingers will dry up and crumble into a pile of dirt. Maybe they'll push into each other and form strong mountains. I fold my hands together tightly to imagine what it would be like. My knuckles form a little range of hills. Not too impressive.

There are toy trains all over my desk. I pick one up and admire its detailed body. I drive it over my knuckle hills; its wheels turn smoothly and it navigates my hands with steady and reliable precision. I look around for some track to set it on, but I think my son has taken them back to his room, leaving only this one engine for me. I roll it up and down the desk with my palm.

I'm still in my bathrobe. Tying it seemed like a nuisance, and besides, I'm enjoying the touch of the sun. My stomach has stretch marks. More faults. The lilacs have calmed down a bit, enough so that the bees are having an easier time landing on them and searching for nectar. Their little warning-colored bodies crawl clumsily over the blossoms, then are lifted by buzzing, iridescent wings up into the sky. They fly higher and higher until I can't see them anymore because the bright light wipes everything out of sight.

I lean my chair back from the desk, trying to follow the bees' flights for as long as possible. I have my foot flexed and hooked onto the back of the desk and I'm balancing some tea on my chest with almost complete no-handed success. I shouldn't have sweetened the tea, because soon, a curious bee wriggles its way through a hole in the screen and dips into the tea. It carries its sweet, herbal liquid back out the hole to tell the others. I take a sip. I think the bees will like this, and imagine a batch of tea-scented honey. A couple more bees come in and dip into the cup. I think about my son, similarly humming back and forth in and out of rooms, slamming the screen door, coming back in to show me this trinket or that frog, offering me strong opinions. His favorite thing to do is ask me questions. They are small but hard, like the beaks of birds, pecking. Most recently, "Why daddy has more keys than you?"

I should've put the cup back on the desk. Now, the bees are coming in and out in a steady stream, filling the room with yellow noise. One decides to land on my stomach instead of the lip of the cup, and in a panic, I flail to brush it off. My foot slips from the desk and I fall backwards with a crack. The cup spills over my shoulder and soaks my hair with tepid tea. I am surprised the bees seem unfazed. I lie on the floor, watching as some blood mixes and swirls with the tea. The bees are still coming in, floating their tiny bodies up and down to siphon and carry the liquid to the hive to be turned into something golden, sweet, and translucent. I feel the sun warm my face. Just a little accident. I will get up in a second.

The bees are starting to fill the room now, as it's easier for the bees to collect the sugared tea now it's pooled on the floor. I see little feet patter toward me through the haze of fluttering bodies. They exclaim, "Mommy!" I squint to try to see the feet better, but they're still a bit blurry. The feet say, "Mommy, bees. Mommy, bees!" I see a little body sit and begin to cry.

Yesterday I was told my body was the only thing that had any value. This morning, I woke with a little boy bringing me his trains to play.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Whatever. Who do you think you are, TIDAL BASIN?

Haven't taken photos in a long time. Got the itch this afternoon because it was so pretty out. DC has a lot of blossoms not just in the tidal basin. So, I avoided the sweaty tourists and their manufactured serene romance while trying to ignore other tourists and took a walk in my neighborhood. Found a lot of neat stuff.




Here's the full album.
I've helpfully captioned almost every one! (HA!)

I feel like this is the point as a writer that I should post something inspiring about renewal, romantic about the sun, or melancholy about life renewing and leaving me behind. There's also the classic enjoy-the-moments-you're-in posts, as well as the SPRING CLEANING ZOMG TIPS posts. It's tough with such regular cycles such as the seasons to not post something that has already been said about a bajillion times. But it does encourage me that almost everyone, every single year finds new joy and wonder in each of these new seasons. That we don't get bored like a kid who's over his new toy. The change of the seasons - the coming of spring, especially - always piques our interest, tickles our fancy, and otherwise prods at the hibernating brain and thawing body. Spring brings out the best in us, year after year, and I feel hope for mankind that we are always ready to show that best to the world, we're always happy to renew our subscription to anticipation and joy free of cynicism.

Spring is the inside joke everyone still finds funny years later. Spring is the the next story by your favorite author. Spring is the feeling of freshly-cut toenails. Spring is your favorite guitar riff in that one song. Spring is that moment right after a sneeze. Spring is the top of the ferris wheel.

Rule: Enjoy lots of cliched feelings of spring.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My teefs hurt

Hi all.

Got some wisdom teeth out recently. Apparently my nerve endings are a bunch of pansies because I'm still in pain. Read a bunch of stuff about dry socket (which I don't have, but am paranoid about getting). There are all these question-answer sites floating about that it's easy to get an answer to any question you have just by searching. The reliability of the answer is another matter. One of them caught my eye. For some reason, some guy felt compelled to qualify his credibility as an authority on pain by saying that he'd been in a lot of street fights and had been stabbed once. Dude also said that dry socket was the worst pain he'd ever felt in his life. Terrifying.

Swallowed some stitches today. The knots come off as the thread dissolves and they look like little spiders. So, doubly terrifying because a.) AUGH A STITCH POPPED OUT and b.) AUGH SPIDERS!! Nobody wants to think about little stitch spiders crawling around in their esophagus. Which... I just made you do. So. There we are then.

That's it. That's my blog post. Gonna take some uber-tylenol now.

Rule: Don't get dry socket; it's worse than stabs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I told you I would do it so here.

I took my time when I cut her up, making sure to cut as precisely as possible. There was no rush. I gathered all the fluffy, white scraps after they had been cut and put them in a pie tin; a lowly container, but it would be suitable for flames. I set the pie tin in the fake fireplace. The snowy mound was a ghost. My ghost, but a little one, because when only a part of you is gone, or going, the ghost is small. When all of you is gone, the ghost becomes so big it is as big as the universe. This is why pointing at the sky when asked where deceased loved ones are is silly. They are so big you are in them.

My little ghost stayed in a duffel bag for about 2.5 years. She sat so quiet, so patient. I had forgotten about her. She never glowed, or floated about the house, or made "wooo" noises. She just lay there, in the dark of the upper reaches of the closet. That, of course, is where you put ghosts of parts of yourself, pictures of your ex-husband, clothes you think you might wear again maybe, gifts you don't like, and instruction manuals.

Me and the boy finally found a new place where the porch didn't sag dangerously, there wasn't mold climbing inside the bathroom walls and the refrigerator wasn't from the 70s and sealed with plumber's putty. We emptied all the storage. I found an mp3 player the size and weight of a bar of soap, my first camera, a book about birds of North America and this duffel bag. The little ghost did scare me a little when I opened the bag, but not on purpose. I was just not expecting her with her patience and silence and seeing the part of you that is gone is always a little strange.

If I were on a stranded island with some survivors of a plane crash or something, I would probably want everyone to let everyone else know how they preferred their last rites to be performed, if any. And, if possible, I would perform them if any of them were to die. I feel that this is the honorable and respectful thing to do, and beyond that, if there is any favor that a person should be afforded, it should be this one. This was the case with my ghost.

She looked happy to be in that pie tin and out of the duffel bag. I looked at her for a bit before lighting a match and tossing it into the tin. Her fluffiness and the small pieces made for a quick burn. I stayed with her until she was charred to the bottom of the pie tin. I was doing what was right, but that meant she was disappearing.

A lot of people go through this process of getting rid of ghosts of parts of themselves. They say they've thrown off their past, burst out of their shell, that a great weight has been lifted. But we all miss the heft; light blankets feel imaginary at the start of spring, when down comforters are gone. After a haircut, ponytails feel capricious in the breeze. There's always something sitting on our hearts, whether it's sad or happy, light or heavy. Invisible weights that we carry around, one or sometimes a few at a time. So when they say a great weight has been lifted, there's usually a bit left there still.

It's like our hearts are scales, and this is how we measure value in our lives. Ghosts of parts of ourselves don't weigh a lot, as you can imagine. But they do register. When change happens, we often bring out all the little ghosts we've been keeping around, line them up, and set them on our hearts for measurement. Some are leaden and need to be disposed of, some are feather-light and can stay, some are heavy but we insist on lugging them around, and others are necessary ballast. But for a few moments after I had weighed, retired, and said goodbye to this ghost, nothing sat on my heart in her place. It was a scale with nothing to weigh.



Rule: Try not to use more than one metaphor at once, like I just did. Whoops. Oh well, at least I can decipher this nonsense.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Still unpacking when will it end

Rule: It's not a home until you've cooked in it.

Got home late today after lots of organizing equipment shopping. Nothing tires you out more than thinking, "Oh god, how will I organize this?" then going to the store and thinking, "OH GOD, HOW WILL I ORGANIZE THIS???" Then stumbling home awkwardly with giant bags full of tubs? Containers of containers. How meta. I hope the Hipster Police don't come after me.

After having successfully not angered our crotchety neighbor with the outer door, I get home, set down the stuff, then begin work on the THREE TIER COLOSSAL POLE CADDY!!! ZOMG! (It's that thing that you wedge in the corner of your bath so that it holds soap and shit) Found out it was made for stand showers, had to remove a piece. Hope it still works! At this point, I'm super tired, so I go to the kitchen (we have gas! squee!) and make a giant thing of scrambled eggs.

Why? Because they're easy. Also, as some of my generous friends found out, me and the boy have a superfluity of eggs. I love farm-fresh eggs and will hoard them like there will be some egg-famine. As we moved, we discovered that we had about 9 eggs in the egg-cup unit that's attached to the fridge, and then another dozen in a carton. So we carefully wrapped up the egg babies in a box, to be hand-ferried by some friends, and other egg babies got incubated in my pockets. Fortunately, none of them had been scrambled before tonight.

I think my verb tenses are all over the place in that last post. Anyway. Hooray for cooking! Hooray for eggs!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

PHEW

Rule: Don't expect to move and have time for your blog.

Up soon: a small bit on little deaths.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Head on keyboard

Rule: Write in the morning. Or failing that, because we all have day jobs and not everybody's a morning person, get adequate amounts of sleep. It's different for everybody. Most importantly, don't spend half your night doing one type of creative thing that expect to conjure enough brain power to write properly.

WHYYYYYYYYYYy am I so tired? WHYYYYYYYYYY?? I'm beginning to think I have some sort of thyroid issue. But it isn't swollen, so I don't know what's going on. Did you know your thyroid is in your neck? I don't really feel like there's a lot in my neck. A tube for food and drink, a tube for air, a tube for demons. Turns out there's other junk like glands.

So in other news, I'm having breakfast for dinner because I'm lazy and sleepy. Tomorrow, however, I believe I'm going to make a pecan pie.



BAM that's what I'm gonna eat. Eggs over easy on Muenster on toast. I'm going to eat it like this: pick up like a pizza. Eat all the white and cheese and toast portion. Nibble around yolk portion to get as close as possible without breaking the yolk. Do a couple rounds of nervous nibbling. Shove the yolk and cheese and toast portion completely into mouth (now you understand the nibbles). Enjoy the runny and creamy yolk, combining with the buttery cheese, on top of the crunchy toast. All the flavors completely conserved in the mouth. Yes, it is as grostesque and ridiculous as it appears.

On top of it all, I've been reading a lot of Failbooking.com and it turns out, my feeds are not as interesting or offensive. You win some, you lose some. Off to bed or else this will get our of control.