Wednesday, April 30, 2008
After I got home and had the two boys settled, I went looking for my other children to make sure they were all okay. Betty was missing. No one in the family would tell me where she was. I'd ask a question and be completely ignored. The next afternoon, she arrived home. I learned that she had been staying at Warren Jeffs' house.

Slowly Losing my Mind
Sorry for the absence, everybody - I've been out of town on a trip for the place-that-shall-not-be-blogged-about. Ironically, the location I was in is just around the geographical corner from the place where my sister and I were born. And while I'm aware that it sounds completely stupid, I felt very much at home there. Is it possible to have residual energy in a familiar place?

Either way, I'm back now. The dog is home from the kennel, and I'm running in circles trying to figure out what needs to be done before I leave again this weekend. Thank goodness this weekend is just a yard sale at my sister's house and not another kennel-worthy excursion. I am definitely looking forward to spending time with my precocious, articulate niece and her suddenly verbal, tazmanian devil of a brother. I am also looking forward to sitting on my ass and doing nothing but haggle with any buyers that stop by.

Now all I have to do is find out where I need to tether the dog, and hope he doesn't chew through the leash. For those of you that know Doc personally, you'll appreciate what a challenge this might be.

That said, I'm always glad to be home - no matter how lovely the place is where I may have just been. Now I'm off to bathe the dog, get food, vacuum, do some laundry, and finish my book. (more on the book later this week)

Me Likey
Friday, April 25, 2008

Pet Peeve No. 139,554
Twentysomethings who walk around in ill-fitting capri jeans, ratty Chuck Taylors, a subversive tee, and have their hair in pigtails.

With black nail polish.

And a fuzzy Tigger backpack.


Thursday, April 24, 2008
Carthage, South Dakota, population 274, is a sleepy little cluster of clapboard houses, tidy yards, and weather brick storefronts rising humbly from the immensity of the northern plains, set adrift in time. Stately rows of cottonwoods shade a grid of streets seldom disturbed by moving vehicles. There's one grocery in town, one bank, a single gas station, a lone bar -- the Cabaret, where Wayne Westerberg is sipping a cocktail and chewing on a sweet cigar; remembering the odd young man he knew as Alex.

Thoughtful Thursday
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I'm not really the type to adopt extreme habits - healthy or otherwise. The exception proves the rule, however, in the case of veal. When I learned what veal really was (and at a young age, I might add), I knew that I would never be able to eat it.

For a short period of time in college and after, my thoughts on animal cruelty (and wanting to be thinner, let's be honest) led me to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. It didn't stick, but to this day, I still have thoughts of the animal that became my hamburger/porterhouse/bbq sandwich/cacciatore. I think I'll always be torn between wanting animal cruelty to stop, and just really, REALLY liking the taste of meat.

I won't say anything else on this topic. Eating is such a loaded, intensely personal decision that every person must make for themselves. I will ask you, however, to consider the following ad (scanned from Newsweek) and think twice about the things you put into your mouth.

(click to enlarge)

I hope my ten dollars helped their spelunking trip. Weirdos!

Oy Vey, My Nerves
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I don't know how many of you out there watch The Real Housewives of New York City, but I have to say this:

During tonight's episode, in which they all reunite with America's favorite gay production maven Andy Cohen, I seriously almost passed out. There was so much drama, I could barely contain myself. It was so girly and stupid and unnecessarily dramatic, that I had to walk to the White Hen to pick up a six-pack of Miller Lite.

At one point (during the Ramona "walk off the set because you're all high-n-mighty about your morals and nude photography and codependence, if you really wanted to know), I couldn't even watch and thought to myself, "Is it hot in here? I need a drink."

So I went out, procured the aforementioned cocktail, and suddenly all the world was right again.

Stale Air
Somehow I have yet to experience my annual spring-fueled emotional catharsis. I don't know if it's because of all the yard sale crap that is taking over my apartment (please, God, only four more days until I load it up and haul it away), or the ongoing battle I'm having with a very stubborn dog and very cheap carpet. It could also be my most recent disappointment with the spring issue of Eating Well, which was full of lovely recipes featuring foods that I either (a) don't enjoy, or (b) don't have the appropriate tools to cook.

On the upside, my mother and father bought me my birthday gift really early this year - a new Calphalon 12" everyday pan with lid, and a 12-quart Calphalon stockpot! Both of them can be used in the oven! 12 quarts, bitches - I can brine an entire turkey if I want! I am STOKED, and yes, I realize this makes me a huge nerd.

Apparently I still need to get into the spring spirit, and it's almost May, so time is of the essence! Any thoughts on how to lighten up and get energized?

I'll take any advice ya got.

Self-Indulgent Rant
Monday, April 21, 2008
Every so often, my nature as a somewhat bossy, inadvertant and accidental know-it-all rears it's very ugly, particular head. I had a conversation with somebody recently (I have no recollection of who it was, seriously - it was in passing) in which we were debating the best treatment of a bloody nose.

My mother is/was a registered nurse for more than 30 years. I grew up knowing the precise reason for certain medical conditions. There was never any use of "cute" slang for body parts, nor did we ever do the discreet two-step when symptoms were occurring. No topics were off limits in our household.

Needless to say, it was REALLY difficult to fake sickness when I wanted to skip a test at school.

So when I hear people rattle off incorrect medical knowledge (especially regarding first aid), I can't help but interject with a mild, usually very polite correction. After all, the proliferation of old wives tales can kill people. Knowing my mother's experience and abilities, I felt comfortable (in this instance) standing on her her medical knowledge.

All I remember about the conversation/debate in question was the look the other person gave me. You know the look - the one a person who is WRONG gives out when they really, obviously, definitely DO NOT believe that the other person has any earthly idea about the topic at hand. It's like a categorical, visual dismissal, guaranteed to make any recipient wither and become irrationally angry. Especially when the recipient is ME.

I usually just let the ignorant party go in moments like this, because let's be real -- nobody likes a know-it-all. Also, in my quest for accuracy, I usually come off sounding like a real bitch who has absolutely NO sense of humor. So it's a lose-lose for me.

In this instance, I'd like to make an exception to my pacifist policy by issuing a correction. Even now, after the fact, it feels good to know that I was right, dammit.

For the record, one should NOT lean back when trying to treat a nosebleed. The best solution (in order to prevent unnecessary ingestion of blood) is the lean slightly forward and apply pressure.

So whoever it was that wasted their hot air arguing with me about how leaning back was the only solution to a nosebleed can bite me.

Sunday, April 20, 2008
Well, it's about time!

Friday, April 18, 2008
Something about the arrival of warmer weather signals a shift in my brain, and therefore, my attitude towards a lot of things in my life. My tastes in music change with my mood, which is somewhat dominated by the seasons - so I've been in mellow mode today.

When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me, Every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be. And I know my creator didn't make no mistakes on me...

So get in where you fit in go on and shine
Clear your mind, now's the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
'Cuz everything's gonna be all right

Apparently, I'm Just Asking for Bad Karma
Thursday, April 17, 2008
This morning, I was in such a hasty, late rush that I decided to take a cab to work. I cut through the block, and caught a cab right as it was rounding the corner from our neighborhood's main thoroughfare. I got in, put on my seatbelt, and as I was straightening back up and settling into my seat, I noticed a woman on the curb FURIOUSLY waving her hands and arms at me. She may have been shouting my only conclusion is that I inadvertantly stole the cab she felt she deserved to hail. That, or she was in the throes of a grand mal seizure.

Either way, she was really angry at me. How was she to know that I'm actually a really nice person, who regularly hails cabs and sends them up the street to the people who have been waiting longer than I have, or to families with small children? I'M A NICE PERSON, DAMMIT. STOP YELLING AT ME. I DIDN'T MEAN TO STEAL YOUR CAB!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
If I saw one of these peering out from a dead corner in someone's bathroom, I'd probably freak out and run screaming from the room. Or I might crap my pants in creeped out fright, at which point I would be grateful that I'm already in the restroom. (Ahem.)

I Love Lists
I love cooking, no matter how the pending dish turns out. I love surprising people by saying something they would never expect to come out of my mouth. I love kind eyes, and looking into them. I love perfume. I love dogs of almost all types and kinds. I love tuna salad. I love the crisp air in May and October. I love Metallica and AC/DC. I love Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Copland’s score to “Appalachian Springs.”

I love that picture on the internet of an angry cat sporting a lime peel as a hat.

I love cookies-n-cream ice cream with absolutely nothing else on top of it. I love the satisfaction of completing something, especially when I’ve done a really great job of it. I love picking out books based on how drawn I am to their cover design. I love books with fantastic covers that turn out to be really good! I love driving with the windows down. I love the way dogs are drawn to patches of sunlight. I love the movie “The Cutting Edge.”

I love beer in the bottle. I love the Sunday Tribune. I love all things Jane Austen. I love sleeping in until…whenever I wake up. I love my Baffin slippers. I love perusing real estate listings in my neighborhood. I love buying/making gifts for other people. I love clean laundry.

I love rules and regulations, and the people who respect them. I love order.

I love classical ballet, especially “Giselle.” I love Dunkin Donuts coffee. I love the feeling I get from helping others. I love my MTSU hooded sweatshirt. I love traveling, but I especially love coming home. I love designer handbags. I love the way children operate under the [correct] assumption that anything is possible, because they haven’t yet been complicated by life.

I love stationery. I love the extras on a DVD. I love a good debate. I love stale Nilla Wafers (sometimes with chocolate frosting).

From She Likes Purple, by way of Oh! How lovely!

Love is trusting
Love is honest
Love is not a hand that holds you down

My iPod seems to be on a college flashback shuffle. Weird.

Open Letter to Marc Jacobs
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Hey Marc.

I'm really proud of you for overcoming massive personal trauma, getting out of rehab more fit and fabulous than ever! The fashion world loves you, and I'm so excited about your new line of perfumed spritzes for summer.

That being said, the Pear spray smells absolutely horrendous on me. The grapefruit is way too sweet, and the basil reminds me of the loose spices on a goat cheese and portabello panini.

Can you please re-release Cucumber? PUH-LEASE? Pretty, pretty please with banana split on top? Promise?

Okay, then.


OMG I almost Forgot
Monday, April 14, 2008
This weekend, I also made (successfully!) the easiest, tastiest dish in the entire world. I can't believe I almost forgot to mention this! Am v. forgetful these days, and also a BRILLIANT GENIUS in the kitchen.

I got the recipe from the internet, indirectly from this lovely mama. She has all sorts of food allergies, so when she posts a recipe, I know it's going to be (a) something I've never thought of, and (b) made with pretty simple, wholesome ingredients. Also, she has 7 children. Seriously. So you KNOW she ain't spending hours in the kitchen.

I am a total hound for Mexican food, so this recipe spoke to me immediately. Here's what you do.

Put your favorite salsa into a glass pan.
Cut 2 boneless chicken breasts in half.
Lay the chicken down on top of the salsa.
Cook at 350 for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Flip chicken pieces over.
Drain a can of black beans.
Pour black beans on top of chicken/salsa mixture.
Put back in oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Coat in cheese. (this is my favorite part, obv.)
Put back in oven until cheese is melty.
Remove from oven.
Plop on top of brown rice.

Serves 2. The best part of this recipe? You can take the remainder of the salsa and beans, and mix them up with some extra rice for amazing mexican rice. Which is yummy as leftovers, and healthy!

Weekend Update
The spring cleaning continues - one of my neighbors moved out of her unit today, leaving behind a buttload of random stuff in our shared trash room. As soon as she was really, truly gone, I grabbed Sean and forced him to accompany me to the chute room so I could rummage through the leftovers - I procured a rattan plant stand, a utility stool, a large glass vase, and a perfectly good laptop bag on wheels. These items will be sold at my sister's upcoming yard sale. et Voila! Instant profit.

I also spent an hour or two moving through my own 830 square feet, purging and editing wherever possible. Thanks to my best friend The Container Store, my cube-like bookshelf is now half bookshelf, half sewing/craft storage. Which is excellent since all that crap once lived on the floor behind my couch, all loose and messy. Needless to say, it was driving me crazy.

I also made an entire lasagna, to be eaten intermittently throughout the week. Well that was the plan until I pulled the behemoth out of the oven (bursting over it's 9 X 13 edges) and realized I was in for a little more lasagna than even I could eat in a week. So two servings went into the freezer, where I'm sure I will find them in five months and think, "Gross - that lasagna probably smells like freezer," and throw them in the garbage.

Thanks to two really boring races on Friday and Saturday night, I also found time to burn a bunch of my old CDs into my iTunes. Real classics like the Serendipity soundtrack, old live recordings of John Mayer, and those stupid decade-based compilations released by Rhino Records. Funk Hit of the 80's, anyone?

Word up. By Cameo. Seriously.

I also got the chance to have dinner with my good friend Sara. She and I don't get together often enough but it's always nice to catch up. We have the type of relationship where we can go years without seeing one another in person, and when we hang out, it's as if no time has passed at all. Sara is my polar opposite in many ways, and yet my twin in others. She is an excellent source of perspective, which is something I desperately need at the moment.

What did YOU do this weekend?

Thursday, April 10, 2008
So I have these neighbors. They're a bf/gf pair living in sin, and she is adorable and he wears a suit everyday. They buy a lot of groceries, and I think her name starts with a K. Sometimes they fight and I can hear them. Sometimes they scream at the top of their lungs. Sometimes he blasts metal rock around dinnertime. For the most part, they're just normal people.

Last night, I heard him hitting her. She was screaming at him, and also for help, but mostly just at him. He called her a "stupid fucking whore pig."

Now before we all start holding hands and singing that Suzanne Vega song about living near people with anger management issues, let's assess the situation. I can call 911 and report a domestic disturbance. I can ignore the situation. I can report them to my building manager. I can knock on the door and ask them to keep it down.

My solution? Well, first I listened at my front door because he was yelling so loudly that I couldn't make out the words he was using. She was telling him not to hit her, then in the next breath, refusing to leave the apartment. When she started screaming for help, I ran to my phone and called Sean - I needed an outside opinion. I needed to hear a rational voice - the voice of someone who would never, under any circumstances, lay a hand on me.

Crying, I called 911 to report the situation. Through my tears, I hoped that she-whose-name-starts-with-a-K would smarten up and leave his skinny, suited ass. I worried about calling in the complaint, worried that he would deduce who had called and come after me. I worried about being safe and feeling safe in my own home.

I went downstairs to greet the police and let them into the building.

They never showed.

I spoke at length with our property manager today, getting her input, detailing the situation. I feel as if there is nothing more I can do. I can't say anything, as much as I desperately want to. I can't do anything for fear that he may turn on me. All I can do now is pray for them, hope for the best, and cross my fingers that neither one of them reads this blog.

Collaboration Defined
Wow. If this ends up touring, they had better come to Chicago. Or else. Do you hear me, Lauri Stallings?!

Spring Cleaning for the Brain
"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Lately, as per usual for this time of year, I have been feeling seriously cooped up and crazy. This is really saying something because I am a major homebody - and when someone who really likes to stay at home says that she is feeling stir-crazy, you KNOW something is amiss.

I have spent the last two weeks making long, detailed lists. You know, the usual - list of things to purge/donate, list of things to sell at spring yard sale, list of spring cleaning chores to be done, etc. The lists never end, and I like it that way. Lists define me in a sense, and I feel more comfortable when I have a plan of action. It may sound maddening to some, but I absolutely cannot stand waiting around, wandering, and/or flying by the seat of my proverbial trousers.

Last night, I had an energy burst unlike my usual late-night second wind and managed to do the following:

- empty dishwasher
- wash every towel in the place
- wash bath mats and white socks (bleach fest!)
- reorganize my interim crafting/sewing area
- start putting together yard sale "to sell" pile
- closet purge of winter clothes not worn this year (or last)
- reorganization of hall closet
- dusting
- reorganization of main bookshelf
- reorganization of camera & iPod paraphenalia
- disinfect kitchen
- put spring shoes in closet
- prepare closet for warm weather clothing

Also, I finally decided to get rid of two enormous Bombay Sapphire bottles that I was saving for a rainy day art project. I love their square shape, the brilliant cerulean color of the glass, and desperately wanted to make something lovely. Then I realized that I would never want to leave the house to go get crafting materials in the rain, and that plan was squashed for good. Also - let's say I make them into gorgeous vases. If I use them for a dinner party (because I have so many of those), people aren't going to love the glass the way I do. They're going to look at them, and wonder exactly how much of a drinking problem I have. Not good.

I may not have gotten to the true spring cleaning yet, as I'm not currently up to my elbows in baking soda paste or white vinegar (green cleaning! easier than one would think!)...but I'm getting there. And that feels pretty darn good.

I think tonight I'll open up my windows and finish my cleaning while listening to the rain on the roof outside.

Window Shopping
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Helloooo, lover.

To Facebook or Not to Facebook
That is today's question.

I can't decide on whether or not to create a Facebook profile. It sort of seems like Facebook is just MySpace for mature people. I'm a little thrown by the fact that it's driven by last names, thereby eliminating all anonymity from that portion of my online presence. It also means I couldn't link from my Facebook profile to my blog, because I prefer to keep my identifying information off of my blog.

On the other hand, it's a great tool for networking and getting in touch with people. I just found out all sorts of news about the girls I used to coach by perusing their Facebook pages.

I'm torn - suggestions?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Starbucks might not like this, but it kind of reminds me of Dunkin' Donuts' house coffee.

That's a Good Thing
Monday, April 07, 2008
As part of my ongoing efforts to think positively, here's a list of things I discovered to be "good" or better this weekend:

1. My favorite chili recipe is even better when you switch out the beef and use turkey instead.

2. My niece and nephew (rambunctious as the latter may be at times) remain some of the cutest people on the planet.

3. If you can get the schedules to work for you, the train is an infinitely better option than sitting in traffic on the Edens.

4. Wal-Mart kicks all kinds of ass, if you're not worried about the quality of anything you're buying. If I had kids, I wouldn't shop anywhere else. Seriously. I know they grossly underpay their workers and that their corporate policies are shady, but they are the cheapest shop in town. And you really can't argue with that, now can you? When push comes to shove, I put price above ethics. So sue me.

5. When I'm down in the dumps, spring cleaning makes me feel all kinds of better. It also means that we're having a family yard sale this year. Surprise, mom! I don't have a driveway, so I hope yours is free! Thanks!

6. My dog continues to be cute, all the time. Lately he has been quite the cuddlebug, which I love.

7. Even thought the thought of traveling and spending money stresses me out, I have some pretty awesome plans for domestic travel this year - I really like the way my calendar is shaping up.

Sunday, April 06, 2008
What we hear from our friends who have passed over, people who came back to share with us, is that every human being, after this transition, is going to have to face something that looks very much like a television screen. You will be given an opportunity - not to be judged by a judgmental God - but to judge yourself, by having to review every single action, every word and every thought of your life. You make your own hell or your own heaven by the way you have lived.

I'm Thinking The OWL is the Creepy Part of this Whole Thing
Thursday, April 03, 2008
It was messed up, but then...the OWL. What is up with the OWL?

Becoming Irritated
This could be the half-bottle of white wine I drank over the course of this evening, but I just have to get this out. Earlier, I ordered the movie "Becoming Jane" off of Comcast OnDemand Television. It was $4.99, I'm a reluctant fan of all things Austenite, I figured it was a great idea for a quiet Thursday night in.

I was wrong. Not only was the plot calculated and predictable, but the elopement between Jane and Tom seemed rushed and false, in a sense. Anne Hathaway was fantastic - that girl can screw up her fat lips in a thousand combinations of movements that all spell out "distressed." Also, let's address James McAvoy. Hot, hottie, H.O.T. And I'm not saying that as an Anglophile, because in real life, James is Scottish. WIth the hottest Scottish accent I've ever heard - hotter than Sean Connery.

And his name is SEAN. Moving on.

This movie left me enraptured for about an hour and a half, then all of a sudden, it was like there was a race to wrap it up nicely before anyone noticed. Plus *SPOILER ALERT* the ending, where they have Anne Hathaway dressed as if she's aged, and she interacts with James McAvoy and he's looking older and his daughter is named Jane, I REALLY SHOULD HAVE LOVED IT. I should have been in tears at the irony, the missed opportunity, the woe and the unrequited love.

Instead, I was rolling my eyes. What a shame.

It's About Time
Vacation photos are finally loaded into Flickr.


Martha Stewart I Most Certainly Am Not: Part Two
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Why is it that I never seem to use ground beef within the safe window of time after I purchase it? If I buy more than one meal's worth of beef (usually in a spurt of meal planning organization), I inevitably forget that it's purchased and put off making that particular meal until the meat has reached the "I don't know if I should cook this" phase.

Bessie the Cow says, "This would be a non-issue if you were a vegetarian."

For instance: My 1.5 lbs. of ground beef were marked for "sale by March 30th." Today is April 2nd. According to Google and the internet at large, I would need to cook this beef tonight if I wanted to put it in my favorite slow-cooker chili tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm just too nervous to do so, and have therefore decided to throw the meat out. Which wastes both my time (worrying) and money (wasted food). It also makes me feel like an indulgent citizen of the Western world. Also? GUILTY.

So there's several dollars down the drain, and one more thing to do this weekend (i.e. a trip to the store). Dammit!

What say you? Would you have browned the meat, or just played it safe and tossed it in the trash?

Exfoliate THIS
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Here's a little something for anyone that wants that spa experience, only at home. And on the cheap.