Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Walking Past Johnie's Machine Makes me Nostalgic for Days Long Gone

This very rainy morning as I walked to work and passed by Johnie's Machine, seriously, that's what it's called, I was surprised that he was open and even more surprised that the smell that emanates from the open garage door is not something that builds up throughout the day, but instead something that is always there.

And when I say smell? I don't mean it in a bad way.

It's the smell of years of motor oil and grease and engines and ancient mechanical stuff.

It's a smell that reminds me so very much of my dad's section of the carport growing up. You know, back when I was young and innocent and, as I had no boobs, was allowed to participate in the striping of alarm locks and pieces of old car engines and getting my fingers black with the goop and grime of a thousand oil changes.

Good times, people.

And as I was figuring out a title for this post, I couldn't help but think of that Primitive Radio Gods song, "Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand," mostly because of the length of its title...and maybe because it's the same bittersweet mood I got into as I pined for the childhood where I didn't have to be the "girl" or the "sister" but was just a "kid." Getting dirty and fiddling around with stuff that was definitely not pink or soft...

Anywho... As I've taken to embedding things for us all, here's the actual song...and before today? I'd never seen the video for this song before. Thank you internets :).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Stuff, and Superman

I was getting that "cluttered" feeling lately.

But instead of like actually physically cleaning up my space (sorry, Andy), I started sorting through random files on my computer.

Mostly I was looking for music. Most specifically "Superman" by R.E.M. I no longer seem to have that song on my computer. Thinking back? I know I owned the cassette tape...for the life of me, however, I have absolutely no idea if I ever upgraded to a CD of that album, much less put it on my hard drive.

It made me stop and think about technology and its evolving nature and how my parents must have felt with vinyl vs. cassettes. They still have a working turntable, so there is that. For me, however, I have that added (self-imposed) challenge of moving every couple of years. And when the packing boxes come out, I tend to toss things that I just can't stand moving one.more.time.

I did this when I was deciding what to do with my tape collection. I just couldn't stand to schlep it about again especially as the CDs I owned were well, more compact (hence the name, right?!?), so I left them in LA for my brother(s) to commandeer (my older brother ended up passing most of them to my baby brother when he was done with them).

The crazy thing was/is that I never really tried to rebuild my old collection, that gets expensive if it wasn't super cheap at the used music store in Santa Cruz, I probably don't own it anymore. That is my excuse for my inability to remember if I own a copy of the Life's Rich Pageant album anymore. Besides, it's far too late to be rummaging around my stuff.

And really, it's only in these once-every-six-months sessions that I'm rooting around for specific music. Thanks to the interwebs, if I must have a listen RIGHT NOW, it's just a google search away.

Here, I'll share:

As a bonus? Christopher Reeve....(sigh). Yep, that old. Sorry.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All Cookies Are the Same Cookie...

Did I ever mention I spent almost a decade in Santa Cruz, California?

That goes a long way to explain my title today, eh?

See, when I was in college (UCSC) and my brain felt too full or the drama got turned to eleven, I'd beg, borrow, or steal a kitchen, and bake...cookies. Chocolate chip cookies to be more precise.

I did not grow up baking things with my mom. I think I may have mentioned this as a comment somewhere some time ago, I didn't even know my mom could make anything other than out-of-the-box cupcakes for the school cupcake sales until the one time she brought home cookies she'd made at work...from scratch. Chocolate chip cookies.

In the Spring quarter of my freshman year at UCSC...oh so very many years ago now, I remembered that moment and the absolute surprise and joy that cookie brought that 9-(maybe 10) year-old me. (College is a very strange time for most kids, far away from home, surrounded by so many people and so totally alone...and way too young to know any better--dear lord, who said that!) So I went out and searched for a chocolate chip cookie recipe. I had a plan, you see, I'd recreate that damned cookie if it was the last thing I did.

I seriously think this little project saved me from having a nervous breakdown. I baked a lot of cookies during the five years it took me to collect a couple sets of initials after my last name, always the same kind, but never quite the same cookie. By the third year it wasn't just my friends that knew they might be able to score some chocolate chip baggies of love, I was literally rolling in dough (hee), having started a side business in selling cookies to homesick classmates (all quite secretive and under the table, mind, I did share the kitchen with the residential assistants, and bubbly-headed and obnoxiously popular they might be, but they were also the law.) These were very much virgin cookies, by the way. The stoners ate them for the munchie need, not cuz they were in any way packed with stuff I had no way of affording, had I even realized the monetary potential.

In grad school, a little north of Santa Cruz, all I had was a toaster oven (!), and I could make exactly 8 cookies at a time...but there were a number of 3AM mornings that found me creaming up butter and sugar and hoping that there was enough chocolate in the house to stem the anxiety.

I stopped the crazypants baking shortly after graduating, getting married, and moving firmly back to Santa Cruz and next door to Zachary...whose very being inspired my title tonight. When my X got into one of his uber-bitter moods, Zach was right there with his, "Positivity, man, no negativity." I wonder where you are now, mr. positivity, I really hope you found your place in this crazy world...

That was the headspace I was in tonight when I remembered I'd set out two sticks of butter when I got home so I could try an oatmeal-cookie-that-looks-like-a-chocolate-chip cookie recipe I saw on Super Eggplant's blog.

See, I may own about 7 or 8 very similar but not quite the same chocolate chip cookie recipes that I've made a million times over in that span of 5 or 6 years (it's a RARE thing for me to make cookies of the chocolate chip variety now), but I never did learn how to make any other oatmeal cookie than the one stamped on the cardboard tube top of the Quaker oatmeal box. And an oatmeal cookie that fooled the eye into thinking it was NOT an oatmeal cookie? This I had to try.

There are 3 cups of oats in there...where they are hiding? I couldn't say. On my hips? Well, yes, there is that.

What I learned:
- I am very rusty at following a new cookie recipe.
- I had to fight against myself so as to follow the recipe exactly and NOT try to turn it into my chocolate chip batter. Except maybe there should be vanilla in there, that's all. And would shaved chocolate do it any harm, really?
- I must use my experience of making cookies all by hand to realize that some sort of mix-master-flash special mixer was present to be able to actually add in and combine those aforementioned 3 cups of oatmeal AS WELL AS the cup and a half of raisins, without creating a caked up mess. I only own a small handheld mixer. I almost burnt out the motor by the time I got to the oats. (See above about following the recipe exactly.)
- Must try again, but ditch the mixer after the egg...or even maybe during the egg? And maybe watch the oven like a hawk so as to take the cookies out when they're still soft in the middle.
- Start much earlier in the evening. 10PM is not the best cookie eating time for me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Don't Even Need to Pack a Bag

If I'm to believe the weatherman (which I've learned one does not when one lives in Seattle), this coming Thursday we are to warp space and time (cuz you have to do both) and borrow Hawai'i's weather.

70 degrees and 85% humidity.

Who needs to travel when the weather is coming to us!

But that is days away. All I know is (and oh boy, do I know) is that my internal barometer is rising and dropping faster than I can deal. Sudafed, my dear wonderful BFF, is keeping it kinda sorta at bay, but man oh man, whatever the weather is going to do? Can it please do it, like now?!? Before my head explodes, out my eyeballs?

But enough about me me me.

My mom is doing fine. It was just one of those super paranoid-crazy-tin-foil-hat feelings I was going through yesterday. Although I wanted to share that throughout yesterday weird stuff KEPT happening. Not so much the breaking of things, but for example: at work I had a long message from someone saying they were calling for some big company we lease office equipment from asking me to call them right away with regards to our account. Seeing as we have 4 or 5 accounts with the same company, I went all last-century and pulled our paper files to make sure I was well prepared for them to tell us how much we owed on what invoices...

Well, that account? Not in my files.

So I try calling...And the number I had reached did not exist according the the telephone lady-voice.

And people wonder why I subscribe to the "they really are out to get you" point of view!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is Today Jinxed?

The necklace I tell everyone my mom gave me (bought with birthday money from her, close enough, right?) broke this morning in a completely unexpected way.

I'm not super superstitious (just enough), but I'm waiting anxiously until I know my mom is done with her morning errands so I can call her.

Or maybe I should just attribute it to it being my unanniversary? Is it to be an "everything that can go wrong," will sorta day? Is it because I've ignored it for so long? My last mention of it (even to myself) was in 2008. And now it's angry at me and wants my attention...or something.

This could explain why this weekend was packed full of fun broken blog, (I'm using chrome today), my sewing machine, and now my necklace. If things happen in 3s, I'm good. It's all taken care of now (hear that, universe? Can you please go find someone else to torment? My X maybe? That'd round things out nicely, I feel.)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I haven't been able to log into my blog all week.

I thought at first it was some work-blocking thingie and to be honest, totally forgot to check at home as these last two weeks've been kinda rough on the workload aspect.

But just now? Also not able to log in from home. Something about cookies being disabled. Only, um, Firefox's preferences tell me that I have cookies I am at a loss. (Yey for blogger's email posting ability!)

Were this my sewing machine, I could just take it apart (again, like I did yesterday?) and tinker 'til everything was working okay. Except, um, does anyone know where I can get a new bobbin winder? Because until I figure out this cookie thing, I can't even order the part from the ONE online store in Georgia that seems to carry it. I suppose I could try (gasp!) calling...or maybe another browser, but man, this is just annoying. Anywho, that seems to be my excuse this time around.

Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy readers!


Just a test.
More later.