Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25th...We Made It!

I know, it's like six days until the real year end, but I'm celebrating all the baby steps at this point.
Besides, I work all next week, so it'll be new year's eve before I know it.

For this year's LBJ birthday-stravaganza I spent some cash at the local Daiso store. (Do you have Daiso?  It's the Japanese dollar (-fifty) store (unless otherwise marked).)  Oh yea baybee, this year's tree?  $1.50.  Or maybe a was already on sale by the time I decided to update my Xmas decorations and not try to kill my "Charlie Brown Xmas Plant" that hates me enough already for Seattle NOT being the tropical weather it thrives in (I rescued it from being an office plant, where it was really dying; you just can't win).

Just a note for me for next year:  I need a better backdrop, maybe a cork board where I can pin all the awesome "Kid" xmas cards, which are all currently on the refrigerator...maybe dress up the make-shift "table" (which are currently discarded speakers...classy, I know) with a green cloth or something.

I used to think putting these kinds of hints for me was silly, but seeing as I just dug back into the blog to remind myself how to get the image details so I could post the above picture from iPhoto?  Not at all silly.  In fact, I feel like I should pepper my posts with more hints.  If I were better at knowing how to search the HTML after publishing, I'd document my code the way all my computer science friends did when they were in school!

As is usual (and preferable) for me, Xmas eve was spent calmly watching the 4 hour version of "The Sound of Music"on network teevee.  Yep, filled with commercials galore.  What better way to clean up the mess from the days'-worth of cooking?  See, I attempted tamales again.

The chicken mole part is fantabulous!

The masa?  Weeelll, the texture is good.  The flavor?  Kinda bland. I  followed the suggested proportions on the web and the bag of masa harina. Unlike previous years I did not follow my mom's... (you don't call them recipes...suggestions?  Hints?) letter describing how she makes 80-100 tamales (with no real measurements of course...).

I was aiming for 3 dozen at MOST.  I just don't have the capacity, nor the minions required to mass-produce the way my family did when we were kids.  Nor do I have the access to a fresh masa I used the bag flour again - but a different version, one specifically ground for tamales!  Like I said, good texture.  But maybe the way it's processed leaves it missing something?  (Like taste?!?)  And also?  I didn't use lard.  (I KNOW! What was I thinking!!!)  In years past I've used a corn oil/butter mixture to get the needed fat in...but last year I used vegetable shortening and it worked...this year?  Different can/brand, different result.

It's like using a random ball of yarn instead of the suggested ones will not give you the object the pattern describes...I get that now.  Thankfully there is extra mole which can be drizzled on top for more flavor and/or this is why God had us invent salt shakers :).

But next time?  (Yep, another note.)  2 tsp of salt to 4 cups of masa harina is BS and was written by people who are watching their salt intake and/or using bullion cubes/canned stock instead of the homemade stuff I made.  LISTEN to the little voice that actually read the entire recipe and noted that they were using BULLION CUBES instead of blindly going forth!  And also?  Must get someone else to taste the masa. I am not a very good judge of how salted/seasoned something is after I've been cooking all day.  Palate = ruined.

However, still a successful endeavor as now there are tamales in the fridge-but not too many, and I've figured out how to make them better for next time!

On that note, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 04, 2011


...but I'll touch/knock on wood, and toss some salt over my shoulder just to cover all my bases.

I left my yearly LA visit in November with the thought that I really really really need to get my act together and start looking for my niece and nephew's birthday-xmas-birthday (in that order) presents RIGHT NOW as Turkey day would be upon me before I knew it and I would find myself born upon the wave of too-many-shoppers and not enough parking spaces as I did last year.  (There is nothing more bizarre to me than being at at a crowded toy store at almost 11PM, I really didn't want to repeat that experience.)

I should have been more determined.

In the same WHHHHOOOOOSH that has been time this year, hello, really?  We last touched base in September and since then even Blogger's desktop has changed so radically I'm not sure how badly I'll mess up this's DECEMBER.  Black Friday had come and gone and all my plans...well...not so much achieved.  I did manage to procure and wrap at least the bday gift before I boarded the plane for home...but in no way managed to even start the xmas shopping, for anyone...

Until last night.

I've known what I wanted to get my niece for xmas for a while, ever since a friend of mine posted about their existence on FB in...was it October...I will slyly link to their main page here with no picture preview or name because they keep SELLING OUT, possibly from the cuteness, if you are into dolls, that is, and toddler-aged looking ones especially, and I was actually finally defeated and wondering what my plan B would be, when I purchased the one I wanted the other night by sincere and happy accident.  I was lamenting to my supervisor that I was going to actually trudge my sorry self over a tolled bridge in order to try to procure, one last time, the item in question...he was intrigued, so I showed him the site and the doll, and it was IN STOCK.  To his astonishment, I logged in right then and there and put it in my "cart." (Yes, I even created an account just in case.) I couldn't whip out my credit card, even I have limits, but I was NOT going to just let it pass.  Could not. 

That just left my nephew, for whom I'd have to venture into stores, gulp, during the official maniacal xmas shopping period.  There is no link to his present.  Not because I'm being all secretive, mostly because I could not find any!  The goal was coloring book based.  Remember those?  Didn't we have a jillion of them?  You could get them anywhere and everywhere for all the characters of your commercially branded favorite cartoon/movie/heart's desire.  Not watercolor or activity or, dear god, really - STICKER books, but good, old fashioned COLORING books.  If this blog exists into a time where he is reading this, I hope it to be a little bit of evidence as to how much I love him.  Because added to that, this weekend in particular, beautiful and sunny (yet bitterly cold) as it is?  Is also experiencing a pretty bad "Air Stagnation" alert.  It's just smog, in a place where the winds generally dissipate it.  Imagine one of those tar boiling machines driving into your neighborhood...and stopping for a visit.  The smell isn't that bad, thanks to our 40-degree highs, but your eyes, throat, and lungs sense that there is a great disturbance in the force.  The air feels "thick" in places.

But out I did go, and I might have gone down streets I had not intended as the crowds of people was at times a little hard to wade through (up hill, in the snow, both ways!  I know, I sound like such a sufferer :).)  Suffice to say, people smell bad.  Downtown Seattle does not smell like roses right now.  Paint thinner and used sweat socks are a better description.  Despite all this?  I'm done.  And it's only the 4th. I have about 10 days to gather wrapping and shipping supplies, and maybe bake some cookies if I really get on the ball,  as I patiently wait for that one item to arrive so I can ship them all together, and it feels deliriously wonderful.  

I'm not trying to rub it in, really, I just wanted to share this feeling of bliss.  If it makes anyone feel any better, I'm only speaking of the little ones' gifts here.  I've only just purchased the yarn for one gift, and still have to figure out where to go to best obtain items for the adults on my list.  Nor have I achieved the gift buying for the January bday.  Like I said, I definitely need to be more determined next year.  If this whhhhooooshing trend continues, I won't have long to wait.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dude! It Worked! And other Realizations

2 for $6.00.

There is no way to write that out without making my head hurt a little bit.  $3.00, each for a Whole Foods Avocado.  Cuz they are hand picked by virgins in the light of the full moon, right?  After a complex and apparently expensive Wicca ceremony?  But it was less than $5, which was my upper-end limit.  So I bought it.  I know it was a milllion years ago and the economy broke between then and now  but in my heydays of shopping the Mexican markets and getting 1 KILO of avocados for 7 pesos (that's 70 cents for 2.2 lbs in 'merican, or  32 cents/lb.) it still boggles the mind how much more I pay for one kinda small, but ripe enough, avocado, when I am desperate.

Were my father to read this he'd laugh as he went outside to pick me six or twelve of his home grown avos.  And today, unless I find a non-ovo-breaded chicken recipe I like, I'm going to have to pick up some eggs...which my mom would chuckle at as she'd point to the dozens she has in various buckets from her hens.  

Oh the things I took for granted growing up.  But this is the life I chose.  And I'm still okay with that, thankyouverymuch.  For now, at least.

And speaking about choosing?  I finally get it.  It's that old Lucy and Desi skit where she is correcting his reading English skillz, but for technologically advanced yet poorly educated (or maybe just lazy?) English speakers with no Lucy to correct them.

See, the Internet is awesome in so many ways (and yes, just as scary and full of porn, ying and yang). Coming at it as a former educator it fills my need for filling my brain with useless trivia or random knowledge.  For example, that old BBC show "Survivors" whose pilot I watched last night was based on a book written by Terry Nation (best known for the Dr. Who Daleks), and now I'm going to be on a hunt for it.  There are articles about what I can do for my high blood pressure that sure, include some old wives tales, but also suggest something as simple as Hibiscus drinks/Tea (which I drank gallons of when in Mexico and Hawaii and SURPRISE, never had an issue back then....again with the things we take for granted).  And yes, there are sometimes some copy editor mistakes that I chuckle at, but they are the same kind of oopsies you'll find in printed books/newspapers.  But that Face Place?  With the "your"s instead of "you're"s (as in your so not proofreading your posts? Cringe) or "loose" instead of "lose." 

I know, The Oatmeal has covered this, but now I get it.  You choose things but you lose things.  And I only know this because it was beaten into me via old school spelling tests (thank you Sister Julia).  But if I had not been so damaged - EDUCATED, I'd use my best guess, and if you CHOOSE things, obviously then you pronounce LOOSE the same way.  (I never said I was a QUICK former educator.  This totally came to me as I was commenting on a picture and knowing, just knowing that it was going to be misread because, yeah, it's Desi trying to read the children's book all over again.)

I stand sit here shaking both my head and fist at whomever put together the modern English language.  You make my brain hurt, sir.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Not Like I'm Asking for a Pony

Oh great and powerful deity that directs the Whole Foods Produce Buyer, I come before you, nay, grovel before you, if I could type at the same time I'd be on my hands and knees beseeching you with all my heart, please please please let there be an affordable, ripe avocado across the street when I get off of work today.

You see, I wouldn't be asking - nay groveling, if it weren't for the fact that every.single.time. I've gone into Whole Paycheck this ENTIRE summer, no matter what it was I was looking for?  They'd be out.  Be it cheese, baking yeast, fresh basil, bread, raisins, vitamin C, flax seed oil, toothpaste, that super yummy kettle corn I bought by accident that one time and have never seen again, hard cider (!  I know!), you name it, if I thought I'd just pop in on my way home so that I wouldn't have to drive 20 minutes to the next nearest (and way cheaper) grocery store?  HA! The universe/the other deities that take care of all those departments would bust a gut laughing so very hard at me.

So I'm taking a new tact, and if it weren't against the workplace code, I'd light a candle to you, really, I would. I just need one medium-sized avocado that isn't $5 a pop (or a lb.).  Take pity on me, just this one?  'K?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thisaway & Thataway

I think the best way to begin this is to state, for the record, that my thoughts (and conversations at work prove this) are best mapped if you compare them to an episode of the Simpson's.

You might think that the main story line is going to be about selling chocolate at school, but in actuality it's all about how Abraham vanquished the Capital city bull...or something, and along the way you get to see Maggie doing something cute, Lisa doing something smart, and Bart being Bart.

Also, my brain never sleeps.

You see, I woke up wondering what is to become of "clockwise" and "counter-clockwise" when we've gone so far into the future that everything is digital. Oh laugh at me now, but back in 1999 I had to teach a student of mine how to read the analog clock in my classroom. I taught 7th grade. She was also not alone in believing/understanding how the 9 could possibly equal 45 minutes, just the only one to actually voice this out loud. It was both funny and disturbing. The class of 2004 (oh my, really? They're that old now?!) grew up only knowing digital clocks and watches. (I know I promptly went out and got my baby brother a Mickey Mouse ANALOG watch, just to hedge my bets a little.)

So...what's it to be then? I know, I know, there were ways of saying clockwise and counter-clockwise before clocks, but um, do they trip off your tongue? Or did you just google them the way I did? (Sunwise is a favorite, as is "deiseil." And "senestrel" or "weddershins" for the counter, which I should have known, it being in so very many Discworld novels (turnwise being it's opposite). I commented as much on Facebook when someone put up a link to this video - which is super informative on it's own. That's when the title of this post was brought up. Simple enough, really.

Which then led me to ponder the movie I saw last night. (I did warn you.)

So I got out! And watched Cowboys & Aliens. What can I say, the lure of Han Solo AND 007 (not that I've actually watched any of the new ones) in the same movie was too much of a temptation. And if you love rough men trying to out-gravely-voice one another? This is so your movie.

It's not getting very good reviews though, well, fair-middlin', but with the stars and the storyline? You'd think more people would like it. But there is just something in the film that keeps you just on "this side" of giving it that 4th star or the A-. I think I've figured out what that is: there are only black hats in the movie.

I thought at first that the incident with 007's hat was put in for comic effect. That man surely did love his ill-gained hat. A black hat, no less. But it hit me somewhere in my "weddershins" thoughts that that was the point. The western films and tee vee shows I grew up watching were ALWAYS the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or the cowboys vs the Indians. Or the black hats against the white hats. And there it is; you can always tell who the villains are because they wear the black hats! But here? The hero? He was very much not a nice man. Neither was Han, nor the aliens. Where, then, is the white hat that to whom can put our movie-audience-good-juju? It throws you off kilter. Just when you think you know who the "good guy" is, it turns out he's not, or he dies, or he gets lassoed by aliens, or his fingernails are just so icky-dirty that you hope the alien does get him!

It messes with your head.

But still, I liked the movie. Possibly because it messes with your head. It seems society doesn't get entertained by sappy/over-the top/happy endings anymore - there would be fewer talk shows/reality tv and more soap opera/princess movies if we did. So maybe that's what they were going for. Most cowboys weren't Roy Rodgers, and what good are aliens if they're not out to get us! Decades of Star Trek have taught us that! (I may be watching "Enterprise" for the first time ever, currently, but what little coolness points I've accumulated won't actually let me admit it.)

Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Don't Deny Your Geek Girl Nature

Following a link from Facebook this AM made me late to work this morning, and I'm so glad I was.

I never became a scientist, or the astronaut I was jonesing to be after watching the launches on the tee vee as a kid. All because of a very very idiotically dumb reason: none of the cool kids were doing it.

Fast forward thirty years to the last launch...and I'm working in an office...and all the cool kids? I don't actually know what they do...they are not so much with the sharing on their Facebook profiles...but me? Not so much the happy.

I've tried being a bookseller, library person, teacher, sailor, roustabout, and now playing with numbers...and yet...I just don't have the same excitement as I did as a kid about playing with rockets.

I still remember helping this kid, Chris; we were going to design and build a rocket out of whatever bits and pieces we had at our fingertips in the classroom. I was so excited to have someone who was equally interested in something like this that I lost myself in it...until I was harshly jarred back to the reality of the middle school years by Chris' cousin (?) Marina, "Why are you doing that? Do you think Chris is like, cute or something? You do don't you!!!" (Fill in the rest with so many taunts and laughter that I literally backed away, got to my desk, and, yeah, kinda just gave up.)

Cuz it's all about the boyz during those years, right? And Chris? Gangling, skinny, buck-toothed? Yep, so totally hot, right? And the only reason I'd want to hang out with him was because of that hotness, right? Is it any wonder I once wished, maybe out loud in front of another boy, that I had been born a boy? (Which, yes, then spread the rumor that I was a total freak...add teh glasses and braces and you can just tell how popular I was in school...)

All this was going through my head during the constantly delayed countdown. So maybe when the shuttle finally took off...the tears (yeah, I might have gotten a little snifflely) weren't all about the 135th and final launching of the Space Shuttle...

I feel like I'm preaching to the choir here, because if you're reading this I'll bet you already let your kids be as geeky as they want to be. You're already telling them they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, no matter how crazy you think it is. And NOT telling them they're crazy for wanting to be something just because you don't ever see yourself doing it. I had to swim through an ocean of negativity to get to where I am today; which is only an island maybe halfway to shore....maybe more. I certainly would never wish it on any of the children I know and love today. It's too hard a road to travel sometimes.

I know I'm a dork, a weirdo, a geek. I've have 37 years to realize, reject, then embrace myself all by myself. I sometimes wish I'd had someone equally geeky to let me know earlier that it was okay to be me. That I wasn't full on strange girl for wanting to figure out how to take apart alarm locks and put them back together, for being interested in how engines work and why things happen the way they do. I, I know I would have been a completely different person today. Maybe even sitting in front of a big screen at Cape Canaveral; facing pending unemployment in uncertain economic times, of course...but dude! What a ride it would have been!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Feeling Good In my own Skin

Before this morning, I thought I'd peaked in the whole "feeling good in my own skin" thing back when I was jumping around like a mad woman in front of seventh graders in my 20s. I mean, even principals and superintendents could not deter me from teaching tone, vocabulary, or grammar while dressed in odd outfits and/or possibly having taped poster board pieces to myself for emphasis.

But today? Today! After slathering my tissue-chafed nose up with Neosporin? I left the house and walked myself to work, head held high and everything. I am not so blind that I can't see the tip of my oh so red and irritated nose from a weekend of non-lotioned tissues (as an aside, um, scientists of the world? Seriously? We've been around how many thousands of years and the closest we've come to not shredding up our drippy noses are tissues coated with some slimy stuff that STILL irritate - and even more so if what you are suffering from is an allergic reaction to a very pretty kitty cat so that even the lotion is making you sneeze and you have to go back to the sandpaper that is non-lotioned facial tissue?)

I will admit, it is hard to work the sexy knowing my nose is Rudolph red (and yes, rather shiny, thanks to the Neosporin). But either I've reached and demolished some mental threshhold, or I'm still too sick to care. I'd like to think it's the first.

Case in point:
A friend had a "Mad-Men-Esque" themed birthday party. I don't know if I have the cajones to post the picture here, but I went as as "Joan" wannabe. Except maybe my hair made me look like a 1960s stewardess more than an office sex pot. Well, that and the fact that I'm about 15 years older than anyone on that show and probably should have gone for the matronly mom-look with pill-box hat and conservative suit instead of the ruby red top belted (!) over a long black skirt (thank you spanx for your support). Way more figure defining than the usual slacks-and-t-shirt-like blouses I normally wear. But maybe it was the spanx talking, I dunno, or maybe it was because all the other ladies-in-pearls (of course!) looked as uncomfortable as I felt, but by the end of the night, along with being ever-so-grateful that I didn't have to wear as much makeup or updo my hair on a daily basis, I thought, if I had to? I could totally do this "dress up" thing on a regular basis. I know I don't look "LA hot." But heh, maybe that's why I live in Seattle?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Donation Letter

It's audit time at work.

No, not the IRS, I work for a non-profit, we do it to ourselves, for the donors.

I think a whole lot about donors and donations. They pay my bills. Were someone to know who I work for, I try not to be a supreme pain in the ass, because hey, I might be nothing more than a cog in the great machine, but what if it's me and my outrageous behavior that makes them NOT write a nice check to us this year?

It could happen.

And I know this because I am also looking at it from the other side. My HS has send me their annual donation letter. Do they not know better by now? Or since they haven't heard from me in years do they think that my fortunes have magically altered? That I finally married into money (cuz lord love 'em but there ain't no fortune coming my way from any of my current or aging relatives...half of zero is still zero and all...)

And besides, as they themselves have proven to me to be less than honorable, funding them so they can continue to perpetuate the lie is not exactly high on my list. Yes, dear alma mater, I have grown up and let go of a whole cargo container ship of baggage with regards to me and my own personal experience with you, and yet your rotten smell lingers beneath the false facade as you first mess with my mom, and then, most recently, with my dad.

All I can say is, please don't let your kids attend the high school you work for. At least not if you are in the maintenance department and it's a snooty west-side school.

Aside from the ribbing and the nose-turning and the outright ignoring your child will suffer, they won't get a chance to complain, even unto their almost 40s (really? Time = not my friend) about these experiences to anyone but you (and the internet, obviously), and then maybe not you if your child knows of your pride and hot-headedness and does not want to be the one responsible for your losing your job when you go ballistic on those responsible for her misery.

And then, THEN, years later when it's obvious that now the school has turned on you directly, giving you a hard time, giving you managers that see you not as a human being but a thing, heaping task after task upon you to see when you will break, she still has to keep her mouth shut because you have not retired! And if she were to complain about anything they would (and yes, they would, take it out on you!)

And yet, with all this, they keep sending her donation letters filled with bullshit about helping to raise good, moral, upright, prejudice, closed-minded, bitches who are shocked, absolutely SHOCKED when they hear she got into Stanford for grad school, sailed half way around the world in her sailboat, lived and bought a house in Hawai'i (man, my life seems so glamorous!). She, who'd been told she shouldn't even bother to apply to college because there was no way she'd ever get anywhere what with the beginnings she had...(yeah, I may have dumped the baggage but I seem to have kept a carry-on or seven).

Where was I?

Right. I maybe just used you to get all that bad off my chest, sorry. I have such positive things to post about, I do! But this kinda plunged me into a dark place and before I could think again about the happy? I needed it to go away. I know I'll feel 10xs better as soon as I shred that letter.

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Birthday Tamales

When you've decided to make tamales over three days time in honor of your birthday? It really doesn't seem like all that much work.

The idea popped into Andy's head about Thursday. He was turning forty+one on Friday. I am officially no longer 36, today. (Last year we were both sick with what-might've-been-swine-flu-but-we-never-verified-it so we literally ignored our birthdays and strove instead to NOT DIE.) This year? We were not sick, but it seems we've hit those magical ages where we don't actually want to party down/up/whateverwhichway and just enjoy our days in whatever way best pleases us. Besides, we are both very cat-like and unmotivated and parties take planning.

But tamales? What are we thinking. If it happens? Grand! If it doesn't, we'll have a ton of chicken mole on hand (I make tamales with a chicken and mole filling on purpose. If the masa doesn't turn out? You can ALWAYS just eat the filling with beans and rice and emphatically state that that's what you planned in the first place, oh yes, indeed.

Yesterday's ginormous accomplishment was the shopping. I mean it, really. I am super proud of us as the fridge was starting to look like no one lived here. Then, instead of being good, and using some of the food we'd bought to, oh, I dunno, MAKE DINNER, and maybe get a head start on the tamales, we decided to take a break and congratulate ourselves and toast Andy's birthday at a sweet little bar just up the street. It was happy hour after all! Let's go be happy!

As it was a bar, on a Friday night in downtown Seattle, we were kind of limited in who to invite to join us. So if you didn't hear from me or Andy it's not cuz we don't love you, it's cuz we were not going to make anyone endure the madness that is Seattle-on-a-Friday-night-traffic. But Tim showed up anyway :).

And after happy hour? We were, again, quite logical and honest with ourselves and realized that unless Andy was having Ramen for his birthday dinner? We'd be going out. So we did. To a really wonderful French Restaurant. With really wonderful French food. And OMG the wine pairings! And boy howdy, is Andy hungover today.

Yet somehow, today being chicken and mole making day, which is my end of this endeavor? I am typing away having verified that the multiple pounds of onions, carrots, and chicken are official "soup" which I will divvy up into broth for the freezer and chicken for the mole once it's not cauldron boiling hot, and the mole? Let me tell you about the mole.

Andy got me a mini/4-cup food processor for my birthday. I actually jumped up and down when I opened the box. Why? Because on Thursday when he mentioned tamales the first thought running through my head was "oh how I miss my old blender." The one that currently sits on my mom's kitchen counter. In L.A. The one I used for mole making since my mom first (finally) shared her recipe with me.

I do own a blender, oddly enough an earlier gift from Andy as well. And it's a Waring (for those of you keeping score). But as powerful and as sleek and as cool as it is, grinding sesame seeds and peanuts and garlic was not what it was made for. Either that or I just don't have the brawn required to keep the top-heavy glass pitcher/carafe in place while at the same time trying to get the ingredients to play nice with the blades. Nor are my spatulas and/or fingers agile enough to scrape out what has been pulverized from around those previously mentioned non-removable blades and "trademark cloverleaf carafe." My second thought was, "How easy would it be to get a molcajete in Seattle." Because going super old school was sounding better than using that blender...

For it's inaugural use? I have nothing but wonderful things to say about my little food processor. It's this one. Someday I will graduate to one that can handle liquids and then, boy howdy, will I be powerful, but for now simply being able to get the "base" of the mole finely ground enough (think the consistency of tomato paste) with my not shedding tears of frustration is magic, baby!

Okay, now to see if the chicken can be dealt with.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And We'll Keep Trying Until We Run Out of Cake*

So you know that little voice in your head that sounds suspiciously like you're mocking your mom by using all of her words and wisdom against you in your head in your voice? You know, the one that berates you for walking around the cold kitchen floor in bare feet? Leaving the apartment without a heavier coat? Giving you the big stink eye and a heavy sigh when you take a spoonful of ice cream directly out of the carton, even though its all yours and no one else will be having any? Same goes for when you eye the milk jug because really you only need one small sip to get an aspirin down?

Yeah, that one.

As I was taking my third dose of sudafed + ibuphrophen just a wee bit ago (hellllloooo sinus infection!) that voice just about screamed at me, letting me know that the caramel flavored popcorn I had while watching Out of Africa this evening with my work mates not only did NOT count as dinner, but was most definitely insufficient padding for putting that many chemicals in my tummy at 9PM...(let's not even touch the fact that I just took SUDAFED at 9PM),

So I may have added a piece of cornbread I had lying around, cuz yeah that is SUCH a well-planned and healthy meal...And where did all that come from? I mean, that whole, "we must eat real food and not the bag of chips we're eying." Is it really all guilt driven?

And by that I mean, I totally got it when I was a teacher that I was the adult in the classroom and I had to TAKE CHARGE (tm) and be a good example for my students and and not swear or use violence to get my way and show them that just cuz you grow up the world does not end and look! I even eat healthy lunches! See! Apples! And, you too can be a well-mannered fully functioning adult in the world and not get arrested! And it wasn't guilt, it was me feeling like I wanted to show...well, what did I want to show? That this is a good way to be living?

But when you're almost thirty-seven and you eat lunch alone in your cube and there are no little people in your house to which you have to show how awesome you are...what is it that compels me to cut up my apple and eat it with my yogurt and maybe a turkey sandwich when the avocados are on sale? What keeps me from eating the whole pint of ice cream for dinner (instead of that one spoonful for dessert)?

Why not bake a cake and eat it straight from the pan morning, noon, and night? Is it because of that voice? Because of the guilt I would feel if my mom found out about the fact that I had caramel popcorn and a piece of cornbread for dinner tonight? And even though my mom is going to live forever and ever and ever (shut up, let me live in my delusion), what would happen if she wasn't there for me to fear being discovered?

Gak! It's like my mom (or that voice-thing I've got going) is my morality, or some-such. This might be far too much to contemplate when my head is threatening to explode into a million pieces, but there you have it. "Right" and "wrong" as policed by fear and guilt. Oh, and maybe the little promise I made to myself that I would not "grow" out of my favorite pair of jeans...that might have a little be to do with it add a little vanity as well.

Wow, not really where I expected this post to go. But if you get a chance? Watch Out of's a bit long, but watching it as an adult in one-go instead of as a kid with your mom over two nights on teevee? Whole different take and whole lot of meaning. And Robert Redford is only a smidge less than a year younger than my mom...that kinda totally blows me away.

*My geekiness knows no bounds, especially not when cake is involved. A face-place friend recently became super addicted Portal, and seems to be passing the time until Portal 2 comes out by posting many Aperture Science related wares...most recently the end-song, which mentions cake, often. What's not to love?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Waiting Really Is the Hardest Part

As I was waiting for this to upload into blogger I was trying to remember if I've actually finished any sort of project in 2011 yet...
- I was 3/4s of the way done with a's now back to being hand-wound cakes (WAY TOO BIG).
- I was 9/10s done with Andy's sweater...all of that yarn is currently wound around a notebook waiting for me to get it back into cake-form (way too not Andy).
- I am a toe away from finishing Lev's first sock (of two. But not a pair, he just wants two socks...makes this VERY easy for my failing enthusiasm for the knitting of a millllion stitches for his Mens size 10s (11s? Can no longer remember....ooops--which is why I stopped at where I think the toe might be...and started the second sock instead....)

So that would be um, no. Nada. Only by baby brother's xmas scarf....which I don't think I shared on here thought was that it was an xmas gift and he might see it! (If he ever found my blog...which doesn't seem to be the case as yet, unless he's reading all stalker-style, which is okay too. I stalk his FB page all the time, hi mijo!)

But um, yeah, this was December 2010:
Cascade 220 superwash....size 7 or 8 needles (useless with the memories here) in purple, cuz that's the color he asked for. Good old basketweave stitch with's that k1p1k1 edge/border called....moss stitch, maybe? One thing I can state as fact? It's possibly the fastest full-sized scarf I have EVER knit. It's 60" long, mas/menos. I was asked for this scarf after the first of December, and mailed it with everyone's xmas presents. Yes, it might have gone into the dryer after I realized that there was no way it would be ready to go in the box along with everything else. Yes, I did actually wonder if I could pack it in desiccant (no, not the wee little packets you find in nori, I'm talking about the cereal-box sized stuff they sell you at craft stores to dry out your flowers), but I trusted my never-hot-enough dryer to do the job. I chose superwash for a number of reasons, see.

Okay, guilt of not posting that is fading...

But the above? Secret project that I've been doing when not cranking out the itty bitty stitches required for Lev's socks. US 7 needles are a godsend to uncramp my fingers after an hour of size 1s. (Yes, I have not learned my lesson and keep using the itty bitty needles for men's socks...they just last longer that way, really.)

But now it's blocking/drying and I'm back to waiting....It's made from Regia Silk sock yarn. I bought the yarn five years ago when I went to Bellingham, WA to visit the "Santa Cruz of Washington State." I'd tried making socks with it (imagine, silky socks?) but the yarn is way too "halo"-y. It's the silk part, I'm guessing. So instead, I saved it...and's almost ready. And I'm trying so very hard not to chuck it into the dryer (machine wash/tumble dry right on the yarn label!!!) so that it can be a my first fully-finished 2011 project...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Out of Sorts...

You know that adrenaline feeling you get when you are startled awake by earthquakes, sirens, gunshots, small crying children, ginormous diesel machinery breaking apart the street (or something similar) two blocks away from me? (Guess which one I had happen...)

So now you're all AWAKE and OMG is it really only 4AM!!!

And you know that thought you have? The one telling you maybe it'd be better to get up now? I mean you're so awake? And yet the bed is so warm, you are so comfy, there's at least a hour and twenty-five minutes yet before you need to worry about getting up/listening to the annoying deetdeetdeetdeet of the Community Transit bus and slowly but surely the heaviness in your eyelids makes the decision for you? And you know in your heart of hearts maybe this wasn't the best thing to do? Like that time you decided to "study" in bed, under the covers for that Biology final?

Because then? THEN! It's an hour after you were supposed to BE UP? Because you've slept through your alarm because you fell into such a coma-like sleep after the startled premature wake-up that your entire sleep-schedule now seems to be ruined?

Yep, that would be me this morning. I've pretty much finished my one cup of coffee and it had done nothing for me. This will be one very long Friday.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oh Dear...

You know that awful feeling you get when you realize that the notes you scribbled onto your stickie notes pad at work for your next blog post are actually not in your jacket pocket but possibly still somewhere on your desk? Maybe in a place where someone will read them and wonder just what insanities are really going through your head and maybe bra sizes and imaginary lasers attached to your glasses are not the most appropriate things to write about in an accounting department and did I mention insanity? Combined with why do we let this person handle our money?

Yep. That feeling.

It's just awful isn't it?

Instead I will distract myself and my mounting hypertension with a cup of chamomile tea and this lovely picture I got of the shadow of the Smith Tower...whose pewter rendition is in the previous post. The pyramid/triangle (in 2-d) portion is actually an apartment. The walkway where I was standing is at the base of the triangle.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When it Rains, It Pours!

Happy New Year!

Yep, a bit belated. The first 14 days of the year have been kinda rollercoastery in the fullness department.

Seriously, I think I had the awesome luck to be otherwise occupied just about non-stop the first 7 days in very happy ways. Visits to friends, invites to dinners, birthday celebrations, etc. and so forth. I was all coordinated with work and social calendar and times were awesome and good...

Then last week hit, and I was at work until just near 8 PM for too many nights in a row with all deadlines being 5PM yesterday and dear lord am I happy to see the end of that week.

And now it's the Saturday of a three-day weekend and I'm typing this from bed, which aside from going out to get a burger for lunch? Is the only thing I've done today...and this makes me immensely happy.

Oh wait, I lie, I actually stepped into a bookstore on my way home from lunch to complete my niece's birthday gift (eight...EIGHT, she's got to slow down! I'm so not ready for her to be EIGHT!). She wants to learn cursive, but the closest thing I've found is a cursive practice book. I'm hoping they still teach cursive at her school and this can be something extra...but I keep hearing that's no longer in fashion...which is kinda sad, but not really.

I mean, I gave up writing cursive years ago...summer of 8th grade to be most precise. It was not "cool" to write "just like the nuns do!" Or so that was the comment that stuck in my head. I was in a study skills course the summer before starting at my high school and we had to write something...who knows what the actual assignment was, but after 8 years at my elementary school with the constant insistence from various teachers that my writing looked like horrible chicken scratch when I printed anything and that I could only fake "neat" handwriting when I used cursive, I'd be damned if I was going to be labeled a messy writer at my new school!!!

So I painstakingly wrote out my multi-paged paper in cursive. Only to have the girls in my class eye me rather warily because OMG Becky! Who writes like that? How old fashioned! Her writing looks like Sr. HolyWater's! (We were all products of Catholic schools, the big difference, apparently, was that they had recently been taught by them whereas I'd had Ms. T. Except she'd been a former nun, hadn't she...hmmm.) This was still a bit of time earlier than I was DRESSING like them, so I was caught between a nun and a chicken scratch place. I chose to squawk from that point on. And 22 years later it seems to still be affecting me.

I was supposed to mail off my niece's gift on Friday, or so I'd planned, but then (see working until 8 PM above), completely spaced it as I slept through my alarm and rushed rushed rushed just to get out the door before my first meeting of the day (you know, that makes it seem like I have an important position at my place of drudgery, don't you believe it). And then, as I realized my lack of present to mail when the outlook reminder started flashing (yes, yes I do remind myself to mail packages, go to the pharmacy, take a lunch break, don't you?) that I never got around to looking into the cursive book.

"Cursive!" I thought...and laughed out loud a little as I lifted and shook my fist! It really had been a rough week. But after confirming with my SIL that I actually had four more days than I'd thought to get the present down to LA, I breathed a sigh of relief and stickie-noted a reminder to go to the bookstore today.

I may have a pile of laundry that I'm totally ignoring, but I feel like today has been a total win from that little accomplishment. It's amazing how 7 days of awesome were so decimated by 7 days of awful that on day 15 I'm calling this a big win. Oh 2011, what will you have in store for me this year?!?

And just so we won't have a total pictureless blog, I've been playing with my camera again:
During my end-of-the-year vacation I visited the Smith Tower as well as picked up a replica of the needle...and now I may be on the verge of starting a pewter building/monument collection! Good thing these aren't as popular or portable as those stretched penny machines, and that I don't actually go anywhere ever, or we'd have a problem.