Sunday, May 30, 2010

it really is close to midnight

In the last year or so, maybe less, I've been very into listening to podcasts. I've noticed that I've watched a lot less tv, but I've replaced that with reading blogs and finding new podcasts to love.

Recently, I was listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast on LEGO bricks. They mentioned a LEGO Thriller and I, of course, had to look it up. As they mention in the show, the video didn't make the transition to digital all that well, but it's still fun to watch. (I cannot help but marvel at the amount of time and attention to detail it must have taken to have made the video.)

"'Thriller'...with Legos"

"Michael Jackson - Thriller" [The layout for this YouTube video is weird. I've got some "Rihanna Rated R" ad on the side of mine. Sorry. And, the comments, at least the most recent few I browsed, are somewhat hilarious. No, Michael Jackson did not die in the ill-fated Pepsi commercial mishap. And...I cannot get behind calling him MJ.]

Wow, it's been a long time the actual "Thriller" video.

Friday, May 28, 2010 day

So, at some point it might be what retailers refer to as 'swimsuit season.' Here, now, we are so not there yet. During the warm months, we plan on spending a lot of time in the pool, slathered in sunblock, soaking up the chlorine, much like we did last year. We all donned our swimsuits last night for a dip in the hotel pool (we were out of town for a tiny moment). Pic's and my swimsuits are in woeful states. Really, they cause me sorrow. Okay, not really, but they are really stretched out, which is a bit of insight into just how much time we spent in the pool last year. (Actually, Pic has been wearing the same suit for the last two years and it's comically droopy at this point.)

I'm on the lookout for a new suit. I'm not good at swimsuit shopping (is anyone?). It's not so much the seeing myself in a swimsuit thing, although it's definitely partly that, it's the price. I hate spending a bunch of money on something I'll wear a whole bunch, but only for a few months. Perhaps I should just get over this. But, I probably won't. Ah, well.

I've been browsing here on the interweb for at least something cute (something I would actually wear and that I consider cute, just to clarify). I currently have a two-piece suit: the top is basically a tank top with spaghetti straps. The bottom is a regular bottom that is covered over with a (short) skirt. It looked like a one-piece when I bought it. It's so stretched out now, though, that when I swim in it, the top part keeps floating up (as fortune has it, there's a bra-type thing in the top, so I'm not completely flashing everyone). I think I actually owned a two-piece that had two distinct pieces when I was a wee lass, but not anytime within the last two decades.

I'm really liking swimdresses right now. I was just browsing on Newport News* to see what they had to offer. Some things I like [all images are from the website]:

I like the cut of this top, but not the color.

I like these colors, and I am, at this moment, liking this whole belted-swimsuit thing. I'd definitely have to attach the string to the top. (I get very paranoid when it comes to completely strapless tops, especially those I'll be swimming in.)

Some boyshorts for the above top. The shorts are a bit short.

I'm not really digging the color here, but the suit is kind of fun.

Another belt! I'd love this in another pattern or like a royal blue or a deep, bright green.

If those long, woolen bathing suits of old weren't so absolutely ridiculous and death-trap-seeming, I'd probably wear one of those.

You can buy this! Here! I swear I won't buy it.

* I once bought a really cute two-piece bathing suit from them. The top was way too small and I never got around to returning it. Someone else ended up with the suit. So, I guess I did own a two-piece-looking-two-piece, um, thirteen years ago, but I never wore it out.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

from the mouth of the babe

Earlier tonight we were watching a tape of Riverdance. At one point, when the men were jumping into the air, Pic asked, "How can they even bend like that? They are real people, not dollies!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

my commonplace life: part i

Whenever one door closes, another opens.

I know there are other versions of that saying, but that's the one I'm going with.

I've been wallowing. For the last four months, I believe, perhaps longer. I've felt like I've been experiencing set-back after set-back and I'm having a hard time getting to my feet and staying there. The Sunday before last, I received yet another rejection. I had my first good cry after a several-months-long hiatus. I need to sob, bawl, wail every once in a while. I don't feel healthy if I repress this too long.

Since that Sunday, I've begun steadying myself once again. I've started to realize just how completely silly and self-involved I've been. It's so easy to wrap myself up in my own life. Not hard, of course, considering it's the only life I'm currently living.

I've often been told that my life seems good from the outside, that I seem to be a pretty lucky person. My life is good and I have been a pretty lucky person. Not everything has been super easy. There are times when it feels like nothing in the past many years has been super easy, but that's just me wallowing. When I lift my head long enough to see the light, I realize it's a pretty dazzling light. I'm not sure why it's so easy for me to dwell on the negative in my own life and only focus on the positive in everyone else's lives. I have to force myself to realize just how privileged and lucky I am. So, while I strive for balance in my life, I'll strive for seeing the balance.

For now, I'm attempting a return to a place I thought I had permanently left. I'm taking a year to come back down from the cloud I've been floating along on (and, perhaps, I don't want to come back down from this cloud, seeing as how it has taken me all this time to...nevermind) and rejoin reality.

This is not to say I'm giving up on dreams. I'll continue in my daydreaming ways. I'll just do it while treading the soil...for now.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

the calm

This has been a busy weekend. I started it off sick, which is, of course, never a good thing. I'm almost well now -- just a bit of the sniffles and a bit of an itchy throat.

On Friday, we took Pic bowling for the first time. Cardo and I can't remember the last time either of us have been bowling and we're pretty sure we've never been together. I'm weirdly quietly competitive, which doesn't work well because there aren't many things I'm really good at and bowling certainly isn't one of those things. I'm good at getting a pin or two. I finished last, with seventy-five points. This isn't the lowest score I've ever gotten, but I've broken 100 a time or two. They won't let me use the bumpers, though, because I'm about fifteen inches too tall for that. Ah, well.

Later Friday night, we went to pick up Papa and Auntie L from the airport. We all attended a wedding on Saturday. The wedding was that of a friend who, along with her family, has been a part of our family for almost my entire life. I enjoyed attending. The wedding party's clothing was great. Ms A and Mr J, the bride and groom, were both in black and white (white with black accents for her and black with white accents for him). The wedding party was fantastic, the women and girls in brightly colored dresses and the men (no boys) in black tuxedos with brightly colored ties. All of the wedding party wore Converse (either brightly colored to match their outfits or with brightly colored laces). Even my godparents were in Converse (my godfather in black and white and my godmother in hot pink, black and white) -- that was awesome.

There were hors d'oeuvres, which were quite yummy. The servers insisted that we take plenty, so we filled ourselves on roasted potatoes topped with diced tomatoes and herbs; halved strawberries topped with a creamy, salty cheese and balsamic vinegar; and mushroom caps stuffed with cheese and breadcrumbs.

There wasn't too much dancing while we were there. Actually, Pic danced plenty and, I swear, I have no idea where she got her dance moves! I think she just lets her body go with the music. It's both wonderful and hilarious to watch. I asked (demanded, perhaps) Cardo to dance with me, but we didn't even dance a whole song. Ah, well. We stayed through the cake and then left to eat dinner.

This morning, Papa joined us for a walk around our neighborhood. It was good to get out. I didn't mention, but it was off-and-on snowing yesterday. Nothing too big deal or anything, but Auntie L was not at all thrilled with the snow (we were so glad you were here, though!). Today, there were a few snowflakes as we walked, but we were all shedding our coats and jackets by the end of our walk.

We returned Papa and Auntie to the airport and headed off to a wee friend's birthday party. It was nice to go and great to celebrate another birthday with him. This was a laid-back event, which is just our style. There was homemade cinnamon ice cream and homemade strawberry ice cream. So incredibly good!

Now, we're back home. I'm catching up on dishes and laundry (and laundry-soap making).

Pictures later. I'm tired now. I hope your weekend was also full of loving family, good friends and good times.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

a question of access

I have a bunch of articles and podcasts and snippets saved in one of my bookmarks folder. I've been doing a bit of revisiting and weeding out in these parts.

I came across this bit again, from the end of last year -- "How E-Books Will Change Reading and Writing." I didn't listen to the audio (I'm listening to music and I don't want to turn it off), but I read what was written. I've also gone through four pages of the comments (starting with the oldest and working toward the most recent) and I've only seen one person, a librarian, even mention that not everyone has access to the technology needed to rely on e-books instead of book-books (regular books? real books?). I think about this a lot. I've been fortunate enough to have access to computers and the internet from home since high school. However, I know that there are people who still don't have this. It's easy to forget, I'm sure, if you have constant access to these technologies through computers, cell phones, and whatnot. (I am well aware that I've just proven how lacking my vocabulary and understanding of digital technology is.)

One of the commenters mentioned the prohibitive prices of the early printed books (even though they might have been more affordable than those painstakingly copied out by monks) and I like this comparison. I believe books will be here for quite a while still. It'll be a while before there is widespread access to and low enough costs of e-readers for them to replace books.

I think it's funny, or sad, that we can so easily forget that not everyone is as privileged as we are, in whatever way we are privileged.

For the record: I love, love, love books. Actual, physical books. Based on what others have said, I see the potential good in what e-readers have to offer. Had I a Kindle or the like, I might love that also.

[Thanks for letting me spout on and on (as if you had a choice). It's late and I'm feeling under the weather -- both of which mean I shouldn't try to be coherent, but here I was anyhow.]

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

summer rolls (even though it's certainly *not* summer)

I've seen this idea on bread & honey and, more recently, on beauty that moves. I've also seen something similar at Cardo's favorite Vietnamese restaurant.*

A while back, I decided we'd be making these and so we finally have. Prepare to be dazzled by my awesome photography skills (or, skillz):

I know, I'm sorry about the picture. It's dark in the kitchen and I was ravenous. I only made two just in case I really didn't like them. I filled my wrappers with avocado, shredded carrot and rice stick noodles (which I had no idea how to prepare, but it worked out). I didn't make sauce, but I certainly should have. I thought soy sauce would suffice, but I somehow forgot just how salty soy sauce -- even our low-sodium soy sauce -- is. Next time...

These were very simple. Next time, I'm adding more avocado. Maybe some grilled chicken?


* I'm not a fan of this restaurant because the only chicken item on the menu is a curry dish. Not a fan. Also, the rolls there, similar to these, have shrimp in them. I cannot eat shrimp. And, I cannot look at the rolls. The sight of the shrimp bulging out of the translucent wrapper makes me gag.

decluttering (still...again)

I have spent my life gathering stuff. I still own a wee hat, a wee blanket and a very tattered stuffed dog from my baby days. I own a shirt from fifth grade (I do not wear it -- I probably couldn't wear it). I still occasionally find class notes from high school. I like my stuff. Actually, I like the idea of my stuff, but the actual stuff itself overwhelms me. So, I very slowly and very methodically declutter. We have very much reigned in the buying of more stuff, but the situation is something like living in a country where the population is gargantuan. Even though the birth rate is falling off, it's still a crowded place.

Today, I threw away an extremely broken plastic bank and a piece of an espresso machine we gave a away years ago (I think it was years ago). I'm also cleaning out my music collection a bit.

I have a weird attachment to things like my cds. (My cassettes mainly consist of songs recorded from the radio. I didn't start owning my own albums until I was in high school and cds had already taken over). I don't own much in the way of cds, but what I do own, I mainly bought new and paid full price for (um, what was I thinking?). This, in part explains why my collection is so small -- I just couldn't afford more. Also, when it comes time to buy new music (or books), I always get a bit panicky. I know this is weird. I keep thinking, "But what if I realize I wanted something else more? What if I only like one song on this album? What if...?" I'm good at the "what if" game and that usually means I end up walking away having not purchased anything. (I realize that I do this with any purchase and it makes Cardo slightly crazy.)

So, I've mainly kept all of the music I've ever bought, or that's ever been bought for me. I feel strange not having an album to go along with the music I own. I love the idea of buying music from places like iTunes, because it doesn't come with the trappings of waste plastic and paper. But, I also have an attachment to the physical cds themselves. Okay, I'm beginning to feel like I'm going in circles here, so let's wrap this up, shall we?

I am building a give-away pile in our garage. Little by little, I'm adding to it. Going into it today (oh Interweb, I'm embarrassed to admit this...just know that I have no idea why I bought most of this and most of this is very old):
* a Pearl Jam album (I have no idea what it is. The case broke long ago and it's in some random, otherwise empty case.)
* Kid Rock's Devil Without a Cause (um, explanation will suffice)
* The Young Americans Live (not sure why I bought this, but I did only pay $1)
* Take 6's So Much 2 Say
* the soundtrack from Detroit Rock City (I never saw the movie)

I can't explain my past purchasing choices, because I don't understand them myself. I'm actually relieved to rid myself of these albums. Good riddance, Cluttery Stuff!


P.S. Perhaps I should have a 'pink with embarrassment' tag?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

lunch pail tales

I started reading Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project a while back. I can't remember how I came across it in the first place. (I like to remember how I've gotten to the blogs I read.) I've really enjoyed the guest posts, especially a recent one featuring Mendy Heaps.

Heaps is a teacher who took action regarding the unhealthy food offered and sold at her school. She started offering water in her classroom -- the water was available to students throughout the day. She started selling baggies of fruits and vegetables in her classroom. Eventually, there was enough demand from other students in her school that she started peddling her fare on the Fruit Cart that students took from classroom to classroom at the end of the day. After a bit, she was reprimanded and she quit her Fruit Cart enterprise. Back to the unhealthy, yet oh-so-tempting, snacks. Ugh.

We are soon entering the world of elementary school and elementary school food. Well, kind of. I'm pretty sure that I've shared here before that I brought lunch to school throughout my schooling. Actually, by the time I reached high school, I preferred to wait until after school to eat, but I did occasionally still bring lunch. Indie and I'd bring food and share. I fully intend to send Pic with a packed lunch every day. I have grand plans of us standing together at the counter, every night before a school day, packing our lunches together (although me packing a lunch is somewhat absurd). I've long been scouting out and saving school lunch ideas in preparation.

Some inspiration:

dalai mama dishes

'the lunch box post' from beauty that moves [just one example out of many from this blog]

what's for lunch at our house [I'm still way back in 2007 on this one]

Buon appetito!


Currently watching; Julie & Julia

Monday, May 17, 2010

blender days

This is a staple of our mealtimes of late. We go through phases with our smoothies. I'm never sure why. This is such a simple way to get in good amounts of fruits and vegetables each day.

I've got a current favorite mix of stuff:
* a bit of whole milk
* a bit of nonfat plain greek yogurt (I know that probably seems weird, but we happen to have full fat milk and nonfat yogurt)
* spinach or kale
* banana
* strawberries
* agave nectar (depending on the sweetness of the berries...they haven't been very sweet)
* dark chocolate chips
* ice cubes (if none of the fruit is frozen...just to add to the chill factor)

I'm thinking we could throw a bit, or much more, of avocado in with the strawberry smoothies. Cardo seems to think this'd be disgusting, but I like strawberry and avocado salad, so why not throw them together in a smoothie?

Oh, so good. Mmm. We've all been enjoying these smoothies...excepting, perhaps, our blender. If it takes to long to blend, the blender starts to get cranky. I'm waiting in fear for the day it dies. Although, that'll mean we'll need a new one and I'm considering a hand-crank blender. Am I strong enough to blend up our frozen fruits? Chissa?

We bought a whole bunch of fruit on Saturday at the farmers' market in Roseville and we got some kale at the Coop. We're working through the food rather quickly.


I've been reinspired to regularly eat/drink smoothies in large part from my recent devouring of beauty that moves. If it was a book, I'd say of it, "I just couldn't put it down." So, the equivalent of that for blogs.


I think I'll stick to focusing on food for this week, what with the crackers yesterday and the smoothies today. We're keeping it simple and inexpensive right now. That's the plan for...forever. We're getting better about it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

(mainly) a success!

What do you do after a period of serious sensory overstimulation? I wanted to come home and sleep, but that's not altogether too productive, so I washed and hung laundry and washed dishes. And, I went over to the land of semi-sanity or complete insanity. I made crackers.

It's been seven months since Catherine Newman posted the recipe for "homemade fancy crackers" on Dalai Mama Dishes. I can't remember how long it's been since I bought the ingredients to make the crackers, but it's been a while. And, when I say "bought the ingredients," I bought some spelt flour, because I had everything else on hand. The ingredients list is quite short.

I'm not sure why I felt so daunted by the idea of making crackers. Newman writes that you have to be very careful about timing because the crackers can go from almost done to burnt in a very short time (we're talking a matter of seconds). I've read a lot of people's thoughts on making crackers at home, and there seems to be a lot of complaining and nervousness about the process and a lot of wondering why someone would even do this. I'm just not a very confident (or quick, or organized, or efficient) cook, so I figured it'd be really difficult for me to accomplish this. It wasn't.

As I said, there are barely any ingredients. As suggested, I went with a half-cup unbleached flour, a half-cup spelt and a half-cup whole wheat flour. Other than that, I used water, olive oil and salt. The next time I make crackers (oh, yes, there will be a next time), I want to use less salt and add sesame seeds. I'd also like to try shredded cheese. Mmm.

In my first go, I didn't bake most of the crackers long enough. In the second go, I baked some entirely too long (like twenty seconds too long). Oops.

There were more burnt crackers, but Cardo ate them.

The ones that came out crispy and un-charcoal-like are tasty.

Friday, May 14, 2010

branching out

Never, ever, ever have I been comfortable going out on limbs. And, for me, so very many things constitute going out on a limb. There's much I can say on this topic, but I'll keep it short(ish...I think).

I'm think I'm truly a wall-flower. I've spent much of my life figuratively beating myself up about this, and I still swing between wanting to either just get over it or just accept it about myself. I'd very often like to disappear into the background while others shine. It's not that I don't want the recognition or that I don't want to bask in the spotlight, it's just that, well, I don't. At least, I have myself convinced that I don't.

And, here's the problem: Life doesn't just go around handing stuff to us. Well, not to me, so much. Sure, she's treated me incredibly well, but when I truly want something, I have to work for it, or at least ask for it. That's just how it goes for everyone, I know. And, at least very often Life works with me when I'm willing and able to put myself out there. It's just that I have such a skittishness, such a fear, that I'll ask and Life (more specifically: those I'm doing the actual asking of) will kick me down and laugh at me and leave me crying in a dark corner. I have no real idea where I obtained this sense of self-doubt, but it's been with me for as long as I can remember.

Lately, I've been understanding my parents so much more. My childhood parents. The ones who were worried about providing for us financially. The ones who wanted to be able to do more than provide food and shelter. We are certainly not lacking anything, but I am feeling the need to get over whatever it is I am going through right now and figure out how I am going to be a better provider for my family.

Today, I allowed myself to be hurt twice. I allowed myself and my integrity* to be brushed off twice -- once by someone who ultimately doesn't matter all that much to me and once by someone who matters a great deal to me. I let myself wallow in my hurt for a while. I took off in anger and sat in silence. Then, I came home, ate a late dinner to fortify myself and then I climbed out on that limb. One limb. And, I'll be hanging here for a while. I somewhat expect this limb to snap and I'm not sure what I expect to be waiting for me at the end of my fall, but I'm out here. I'm trying to be the best parent and member of this family I can be, but lately I've been screwing it up. For now, I'm hoping that this tree has a lot of limbs and that some of them are strong enough to support me.


* I don't think "integrity" is quite what I want here. My pride? My sense of self-worth? I'm not sure.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

on realizing I haven't embraced the future

The following One Minute Writer prompt, from today, continued a line of thought I've been following for a bit.

About 350,000 babies were born today.* Using your imagination, describe one aspect of the world in which they will be living when they are 20 years old. *Source:

I was reading a completely cheesy book to Pic today and there was mention of cable. A bit of background: The book features a bear family. The young boy bear has to do a research and then a presentation to his class on the benefits of fruits and vegetables. The family ends up partaking the "5-a-Day Challenge", in which the bears challenge themselves to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The name of the challenge makes me think this book was written for the USDA or some such organization...I'm not sure where the book is right now, so I can't check.

Of course, as seems to be the case with many children's books, the mom in the story (if she wasn't referred to as the mom, we'd still know it was her because the otherwise unclothed bears do wear accessories and she wears an apron throughout) seems to have no issues to work on (an addiction to Ben & Jerry's perhaps?) and she's totally on board with the idea. The other bear family members, however, need a bit of convincing. There's an athlete sister, a dad who wants to fit into his ski pants (although it doesn't seem to be winter or snowy) and a couch potato uncle who asks at one point if they are getting cable. (Okay, so I really didn't need to provide you with that synopsis, but, hey, I did. Ahem, back to the original point.)

I stopped for a moment to explain to Pic what "getting cable" meant. Here at La Casa B, we don't have cable and haven't...ever? We've had satellite, but it's been almost a year-and-a-half since we've had that. In our last home, we didn't have a good line of sight (or whatever you call it) for the dish to point to. It took a bit for Pic to realize that we could no longer "go back" and watch again something she found particularly funny. We have the channels you don't have to pay for, although we did have to get one of those converter boxes because our tv is apparently that old, although I swear it isn't. We do subscribe to Netflix and we have a wide variety of VHS and DVDs from which to choose for our mind-numbing pleasure (I just watched Stranger Than Fiction tonight).

Wow, I seems to be having a problem closing the floodgates here tonight. Yes, I had to stop and explain cable to Pic. When I was younger, no one would have had to explain that to me. (They might have had to explain it to me when I was five, but probably not by the time I was a year or two into elementary school.)

So, what else is going to boggle my child's mind? I'm thinking things like Beta (which I barely remember) and cassette tapes (although I have some of these and a tape recorder on which we can listen to these -- we just don't use them). Car phones -- like actual car phones, not just cell phones that can be used by the driver to text message while she or he drives. Trapper Keepers* and Peachies (is that how you spell that? I always thought so because of the color).

We were out for a bike ride earlier this evening and I spotted a locksmith's van. The name of the company? Matt Lock. I don't believe I've ever seen Matlock, but at least I get the reference, but I wonder how many people that's completely lost on?

I know there is a vast amount of things that will be lost before she even becomes aware of them, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I guess I'm thinking that it makes me feel strangely old and I'm definitely not old.

And, oh, to think of the things she'll have to explain to me. All of the pop culture references that I don't even get now (I only have the slightest idea who people like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift (actor? singer?) are and I know pretty much nothing about video games). I can imagine the eye-rolling right now when she's trying to describe the newest fad and I'm making references to Alanis Morissette and the Cranberries and MC Hammer's parachute pants (or, really, just MC Hammer).


It's late and I'm branching out all over the place. I meant for this to be somewhat short. I wondered what references others thought future generations completely wouldn't get. But, then I let my digressions overtake me.

So, off to some other middle of the night project I can get to, a project which requires no (delayed) interaction with others. G'night.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

nearly wordless wednesday*

Warmth! Sunshine! Suncreen! Sunhats! Five hours of outdoor bliss!
(The punctuation is totally called for, I promise.)


* I'm needing to start reading Harry Potter for the year, I believe.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

simple fare

After a few days of eating with reckless abandon, I've really needed to reign it in here. It's funny how food affects us (and, by "funny," I mean completely obvious, but oh-so-easy-for-me-to-ignore). When I eat a bunch of unhealthy, fatty, sugary foods for three straight days, I have zero energy and I feel somewhat gross.

Yesterday, I went to the opposite extreme, from the one above. I really didn't eat enough. (Oh, to be able to choose to not eat enough, instead of having no choice simply because the food isn't there. I know.) Three unhealthy days followed by one more. Ugh.

Today, I've tried for a better balance. I didn't quite reach it, but I'm getting there.

Lunch (because you care):

I've really been craving a grilled apple and cheese sandwich, so I finally made myself one. I'm glad I stuck with one piece of bread for a half-sandwich, though, as whatever grocery store-bought bread we bought was just kind of funky. That thing that looks kind of like mashed potatoes is a HoB macaroon (Cardo loves these and buys them in bulk, I swear. Then, of course, I eat them.) I ate another macaroon later. Ah, well. (Please excuse my crummy counter.)


I accidentally put too much oil on my carrots, but other than that, they were mighty tasty. The beans, cheese and corn tortilla were all just kicking around in the refrigerator, needing to be consumed. Pic's carrots remained uncooked and she had the last flour tortilla for her burrito.

It's supposed to be warm (finally) tomorrow, and I'm thinking that I'll have to make a loaf of bread. It's been far too long since I've done so.

Writing this is making me hungry, so I should probably step away from the food post for now.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Ten years ago today, my mom and I piled into my car, with all of my stuff, to head back down to Vegas after my first year of college. I had picked her up from the airport, maybe a couple of days before, on a perfectly sunny day. As we started our drive, it started to snow. It was snowing on May 10th! It was the middle of spring!

As I said, we were headed down to Vegas, the place I had lived for the thirteen years prior to college. There is maybe an occasional flurry of snowflakes in Vegas, so I was not at all prepared for what Reno had to offer (which, much to my chagrin, I found out the first time I drove when it was actually snowing in Reno, and I discovered that my windshield wipers didn't work...and it was nighttime). I pretty easily accepted that it snowed during the cold months of late autumn through early spring, but snow in May was amazing to me. I'm no awed by the sight, but I do prefer May to be sunshiney and snow-free (all right, Mother Nature?).

Today, Pic and I walked to a nearby grocery store so we could pay bills and continue to enjoy electricity, gas and running water. We went just after midday, and thank goodness for that. It was a windy walk over, but on the walk back, Pic actually shed her jacket and gloves (her icebox mamma kept wrapped up, though). A bit after we arrived home, it started raining. Then, it was raining and snowing. Then it was dark and freezing (I don't think we actually got down to thirty-two degrees, but at one point, it was in the thirties). By the time we saw some sunlight and lacked some falling precipitation, it was evening and I was glad our outing was already taken care of.

What did we do to ward off the outside cold? Well, we waited until eight-thirty to turn on the heat (the thermostat was reading fifty-four degrees and I just couldn't take it any longer). And, we made a complete wreck of the kitchen, making strawberry frozen yogurt. Yes, there's nothing quite like a nice chilly dessert to end a day like this. Or something.

Pic took this picture. This is the first I've looked at it. I love that she captured that drop of honey descending.

Pic actually didn't have any frozen yogurt for dessert tonight, because she got a good deal of it after I finished filling the jars for the freezer. "What a hard day," she told me. "You're washing all those dishes and I'm eating frozen yogurt." Oh, my child.

I did have some frozen yogurt sprinkled with mini chocolate chips for dessert tonight. This was after I had turned on the heat and wrapped up in a blanket.


The yogurt-making was really simple. I used Judy's recipe, from No Fear Entertaining. Only three ingredients. Of course, I had to first re-liquefy my honey. My honey's normal state is solid, as has been the case with every bit of honey I've purchased for the last several years. Not so bad when I'm just getting a chunk out for my hot tea. I took the time to heat it through today, though. After heating it through and letting it sit a bit, it was beautifully thickly liquid once again -- for the moment.

I used about two cups of chunkily cut strawberries to get my one cup of strawberry puree. This recipe was perfect for my ice cream maker. I filled it to the very top.

The result is a very tart strawberry frozen yogurt. I'm sure this has to do with the taste of the strawberries. In a bit, there will no doubt be sweeter berries available. (I'm just realizing this, but I didn't taste my berries today. I was so intent on actually getting this made, that I didn't take the time (like it takes a lot of time).) I'm glad we have a bunch of little jars left for the coming days. I'll be doing this often this summer, I believe.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

a mother's day retrospective

-- late to bed.

-- late to rise.

-- set butter out to soften (or, "soften" as it turns out).

-- housework.

-- check butter.

-- shower.

-- check butter.

-- Cardo home. Walk!

-- decide butter will just have to do and speed through process of making cookies.

-- deliver cookies.

-- read bedtime stories.

-- eat dinner.

-- taste cookies (and confirm that I don't enjoy M&Ms).

-- stop in here.

All in all, it was pretty laid back, which is the way we like things around here.

I hope it was a restful day for all.

a whole new sound

I definitely want to get away from "revision" title I've been using because I keep reading that in an entirely too literal sense. I keep thinking visual as in seen and not vision as in something much more abstract (an idea floating out there in space/in here in one's mind).

So, anyhow. Enough of that.

Such a difference:

"Depeche Mode - Master And Servant - 1984"


"Nouvelle Vague Master & Servant Live Nyhetsmorgon 2009"

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I took a nap this afternoon. I know, big deal, right? I really can't nap during the day because then I really don't sleep at night. I'd love to go out for a walk, but it's beyond late, it's dark and it's cold. I'm tucked away in the den, listening to music (Basia Bulat's "Heart of My Own" right now), reading, typing and listening to Pic sing in my room.

My whole rhythm has been off for longer than I care to say. I lay, sit, pace, awake in the dark hours while I languish during the daylight ones. I put on a pretty convincing (I think) facade when needed, but those hours are few. My clock is all turned around. While others have been tucked into bed for hours, I'm wide awake, my mind racing with ideas, anxieties, desires. And, here's the thing: I prefer it this way. I like to walk in the evening, in the setting sun. I like to come home and clean up and settle in to read and write. I've never been a 9-to-5 (or 7-to-5 or 8-to-6 or whatever) type. I've been a nightowl since birth and I've come to know that this isn't going to change.

I'm aware of one very big drawback to this: no matter how much I turn up the volume on the music I'm listening to, the nighttime hours are just quieter than then daytime ones. I can't distract myself as easily at night and I get wrapped up in my head. I get lost in dangerous places. Sleep refuses to visit.

I'm not exactly sure what to do about this, but here it is.

Friday, May 7, 2010

'up to my knees now, do i wait? do i dive?'

"Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Cant [sic] See Land"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

revision: day the extra

Okay, that whole revision week was kind of just thrown in here. And, now, I'm throwing in some more. Were I teaching Comp, I'd have used songs such as those I used here in a revision activity. Alas...let's not dwell.

I just came across the following song, which, until the very end, sounds very Tommy-ish to me. Interesting revision (re-auralization? I need a good sound word here). I'm not really into it, but I might save it for some imaginary future date when I might once again be teaching Comp.

"The Hot Rats - Fight For Your Right (Late Show with David Letterman)"
[The version I heard was slightly different. It was prerecorded, not live. And, I know there's probably something to say about the literal (yes, I mean it) objectification of women and the gender-bending (not a term I really love) clothing in this recording. Hmm. I'm not sure what to do with either, as my mind is forever elsewhere. Also, my picture and sound are wonky.]

events aplenty, events galore

I went on and on about my woe yesterday, and I forgot to mention upcoming events that will fill our weekends this month. So, for the next several weekends, here's how we'll be using our time:

-- a bit of volunteer work? more on this later?
-- an event at the coop (I'm just going to call it that, as they seem to call it that often): meet farmers, hang out, have Pic's face painted (again)

-- our dearly beloved Auntie C is finishing her Bachelor's and we'll be attending graduation -- we're very excited for her, and proud

-- Auntie L and Papa are coming for a visit (Nana will be missed, but we hope to see her soon, too)
-- wedding of family friend we've known for about 25 years
-- return Auntie L and Papa to the airport :(

-- remembering those who have died while serving the U.S.
-- camping?

I'd like to do some hiking somewhere in there also. We're planning to celebrate a wee friend's third birthday also.

Am I afraid to be idle? I'm definitely filling up my days.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

everybody's working for the weekend

I feel that for the past several months, I've been existing simply to reach Fridays. I think, Ah, Friday. We'll spend some quality family time together. We'll run some errands. I'll get stuff done and feel relaxed when the weekend comes to a close. So, yes, we do spend lots and lots of quality family time together (I desperately cling to that in these few months before our family dynamic shifts in a way I'm still not sure I'm comfortable with or ready for) and we do run a few errands, but I haven't felt relaxed at all in a very long time.

We somehow manage to wander around, doing little errands, but neglecting to go grocery shopping (which lead to me eating some very questionable left-over couscous for dinner last night). At the end of each weekend, I feel myself longing for just a bit more time.

A couple of weeks from now will mark the first time in two-and-a-half decades that I've gone a full year without being a full-time student. I took off one semester after Pic was born. The plan was for me to take an entire year, but I wasn't capable of taking a full year.

I need to be busy. I need to be doing. I worry about my inability to just chill out, to spend some quiet time figuring out what to do next, but bills keep coming and life keeps moving and I feel at a standstill. (I'm pretty sure I sound like I just contradicted myself there. It is definitely possible for me to be at a standstill in my life and feel not at all chill at the same time.)

When my hours aren't filled, I am at a loss about what I should do, so I shut down. Not good. (Probably also not good is my sleeping something of an average of four hours a night when I was a grad student/teacher, but I (barely) survived that.)

So, for now, I feel that I'm muddling my way through the week, hoping for the weekend when Cardo will be off and available for me to pester full-time for two whole days. I'm sure he truly relishes this.

In the past few days, I have been presented a couple of opportunities for the coming year. Neither are perfect as I'm imagining perfection to be, but they are something. I'm not sure where to go from here. I have no sense of direction and here I stand with no map. I don't even have a set of "turn left at the second dead tree" kind of directions.

Anyone interested in doling out advice that I might or might not use to act on? This would require some one-on-one time, but I feel that I need actual feedback because this floundering around lost stuff just isn't working for me.

[A lot of this is always brewing in my head, but I've especially been mulling over Coach J's "The Right 'Stuff'" since the moment I read it. I love when a piece of writing sticks with me and forces me to think.]


Wow, I meant to write a post joking about Cinco de Mayo and the fact that Cardo is baffled that that's something "we"* celebrate here, but instead that gush of crap emerged instead. Sorry.

* We, as in our family, does not celebrate this commemoration of Mexico's defeat of the French at Puebla (a battle in a war Mexico lost, by the way). I didn't really know anything about this holiday until Cardo explained it to me. I have no idea what I thought it was about when I was younger.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

when (and if) i grow up

Today is National Teacher Day. Happy day to all of you teachers out there, whether you are of the working-in-a-school category or a teaching-outside-of-the-traditional-school category.

I'm not exactly sure where I am on my path to being/becoming a teacher. I feel that I haven't done much teaching lately, when it comes to my time with Pic. I'm working on it.

I have been lucky enough to have a great amount of teachers I've loved in my lifetime. This ranged from kindergarten to college. I've also been lucky enough to know a great many teachers outside of those teaching me, both in real life and here on the interweb.

I was three when I first declared that I wanted to teach. I reached a wall during undergrad when I wasn't pleased with my teacher education and when I was afraid to actually get up in front of a class and teach. I was offered something of a last-minute opportunity to teach, early in my grad work and I took it, hoping that I wouldn't throw up on my students the first day. My mom still laughs that I told her that it made me anxious to think that all of my students would be looking at me during class. (Yeah, I know. Where else did I expect them to look?)

I've been going back and forth (and down many side-paths) lately about where I'm going next as far as my teaching goes. I hope to figure it out soon (like, three months ago).

In the meantime, I'm grateful to all of the fabulous teachers I've had, both in my regular schooling and out. I'm grateful to know so many other wonderful teachers who are gracious in sharing their own methods and techniques. I'm also very, very grateful for this here interweb connection which has made it possible for me to really explore the ways and meanings of teaching.


"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young* minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards." --Anatole France

* "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." --Henry Ford


P.S. Speaking of teaching, check out the new link I've added in the sidebar for the Organic Sister's Unschooling Coach.

Monday, May 3, 2010

no, thanks

Because of my interest in Dogma and Clue, Netflix believes I might also enjoy the following: Beerfest (unrated), Old School (unrated), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (unrated, uncut & uncalled for) and National Lampoon's Animal House.

Um, no. For every suggestion: no.

Of course, I did just rent Did You Hear about the Morgans? from Netflix. That'll go under the "Really? What was I thinking category?" I knew I shouldn't have rented it.

Next up, I have Big Night. I've never seen it and I'm hoping it's at least decent.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

lunch to go

Okay, so yes, the plastic package directs us to wash before eating, but it's a forty-five minute walk home and Pic was hungry. As we walked home, snacking on blueberries, I started dreaming of berry picking on Apple Hill. We had better make it over there at least once this summer (and, then again in autumn, of course).

I also bought strawberries to make frozen yogurt. We'll see how that goes. I'm just hoping it goes. And, I bought a round of sourdough bread. I'm about to have a couple of slices of sourdough toast and maybe some white beans on the side. I'm all about well-balanced, healthy eating right now, in case you didn't notice. (Actually, I could do worse than a very pale meal...but I could also do better.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

mangia!: may fare

A few recipes I'd like to try this month:

* white-bean hummus
* chive-and-garlic knots (except the recipe I have calls for refrigerated bread dough...what kind of bread dough might I have to prepare to substitute that?)
* molasses crackle cookies
* crusty whole-grain flaxseed rolls
* skillet-roasted potatoes with lemon and mint
* fresh fruit pizza with lemon curd
* risi e bisi

Just a few possible dishes. What are you all making?