Thursday, October 28, 2010


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


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.