21 December 2009

a Serious Lack of direction

I want to write on this blog, I like my blog, but there's nothing. My mind, usually incessantly wandering, has come to standstill. All I can think about is how badly I want to play Zelda.

The semester just ended, my last final was on Saturday. I feel a congratulations should be in order, but now it's Monday and finals are old news. No one wants to talk about them because they've already heard all about them and there's only so much you can say,
"Finals are over!!"
"Good for you."
End of conversation. It's not enough for me. I'm still feeling the residual waves of tension and nervous energy from all that studying, from 15 weeks of total dedication, from the overwhelming and unbelievable thrill of being done with Photography FOREVER. "Good for you" just doesn't cut it.

What else would I have them say? As one who has been through finals and craves more appreciation for accomplishing the task, I admit that I too reply, "Good for you" when the subject arises. I try to fill it with enthusiastic sincerity, though. See? It's different.

10 December 2009

wandering Thoughts amidst mouthfuls of Doughnut

Anything I could possibly say has already been, undoubtedly, said. By much wiser and more knowledgeable people than me, I might add. What can I add? Why do my thoughts matter? Do they matter?

I used to have witty things to say, funny stories to unravel, and I might again someday; but now that we're in the throes of Finals Week my mind is a constant to-do list on "Repeat and Shuffle All." Dulls my senses.

For some reason the really important things on my to-do list only come to me after mid-night. They clench my chest and brutally shake the canvas of my mind. I take a deep breath, listen to the soft breathing of my husband beside me, and tell myself to deal with it in the morning. But these things, these nasty pestering things, don't seem to like the light of day and persistently wait until nightfall to re-emerge.

Class starts in ten minutes. And after that I...blank. Where is my to-do list when I need it? What was I going to do before leaving campus? Finish this post? No, probably not.

It'll come around again on the Replay.

I just broke my desk drawer. Awkward. There's my cue to exit.

06 December 2009

let's Never Go there Again

I had to run to the mall a few days ago to pick up Christmas gifts. What a nightmare.

I got lost on the way to mall. Then I got lost inside the mall. I got lost trying to find my way out of the mall. I got lost trying to find my car in the parking lot of the mall. And I was so flustered by the end of it that I got lost on my way home from the mall.

I hate the mall.

Walking through a shopping mall is like suffocating yourself in commercialism, materialism and blatant attempts to brain-wash the general public. Posters and ads are everywhere telling me that I'm not thin enough, not pretty enough, my teeth aren't white enough, my hair is the wrong color, I wear the wrong clothes, and I couldn't possibly be sufficiently happy until I get enough money to rectify these glaring defects in my life. And I find myself surrounded by people who have bought into these sordid, contemptible and shameless lies.

I hate the mall.

I tried to go people-watching at a mall once. I thought it would be a chance to see a lot of people in many varieties. I brought a sketch-book.

Have you ever tried people-watching in a mall?

It was the most boring experience of my life. Everyone looked the same. Same hair-styles done at the same salons. Same clothing styles bought at the same department stores. All too skinny, all too fake, all of them walking in all directions at once, yet going nowhere; all with an insatiable burning emptiness in their eyes; all yearning for satisfaction that is always just out of reach.

One more laser hair removal treatment, one more teeth-whitener, one more blouse, one more pair of shoes, one more bauble, one more ridiculously over-priced bag of European chocolates or hand lotion...THEN will you be happy?

I hate the mall.

04 December 2009

Real Adventures in The kitchen!

The "Easy, Lazy Cookbook for Easy, Lazy People" can now get started!

I made muffins. No lie. And I can prove it:

<-----------See those? I made those. Those are my pride and joy. And those are delicious.

"Those" is all of the sudden a very strange word,

No sifting or alternating or other weirdness, just straight up throw it in a bowl, mix it up, and pop in the oven. Easy. Lazy. Delicious. (ooh! That would be a better title!)

The batter was a little bit thick. Not sure if that's normal for muffins. It was so thick I don't even have a metaphor to describe to you how thick it was. The closest thing I can think of would be like...like...stirring cement while it was hardening, except it never did harden it just stayed really thick and made my arm hurt.

Lame metaphor. I know. I apologize.

Also, a couple of notes of what I would add in The Lazy Easy Cookbook for Lazy Easy People OR Easy. Lazy. Delicious. *ahem*

  • If your butter is frozen, let it thaw BEFORE trying to beat it with the eggs and sugar. Blending frozen butter is like having a sparring tournament against a brick wall. Don't do it.
  • You will need a wooden spoon and an electric egg beater. That's it. I dirtied two wooden spoons, a fork, a butter knife, two soup spoons, a whisk, and my electric egg beater and I'm just letting you know: it's unnecessary. Two things, that's it.
  • A little tip: if you keep your blueberries in the freezer, you do not have to wait to the end of the recipe when it says "Add blueberries" to take them out of the freezer. Let them sit on the counter while you prepare, let them defrost a little bit, they'll appreciate it.
  • Wear an apron. I know you think you're clean and you won't have a problem but, we're dealing with flour here. Flour is the sneakiest of all ingredients. Without an apron it will find a way onto everything you own, including clothes you haven't worn since last week! You'll be cleaning flour dust out of cupboards and drawers you could swear you've never touched. Apron. You don't have one, GET one.
  • Just an FYI: fill the muffin tin cups 3/4 full. I tried it from 1/2 full to clear-to-the-brim full and the best results lie at 3/4 full.
I think that's all the dumb stuff I did in this adventure that I wish someone could have warned me about. Oh sure, it seems like obvious stuff (the frozen butter, in particular) but it honestly didn't cross my mind until I was staring it in the face. If I wrote a cookbook, people would be warned.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if this hypothetical cookbook of mine already exists. It should, if it doesn't. By this day and age I'm sure someone would have thought to write a cookbook for novices. If I were more ambitious I would seek this book out.

Instead I'm going to go eat a muffin and read Return of the King.

03 December 2009

The gook is Congealing into Something not unlike Silly-Putty

I'm writing a paper on the most boring topic I could possibly imagine: Architecture.

I shouldn't say architecture is boring. Sorry. It's just...well, no. It is boring. *shrug*

It's one thing to appreciate architecture as a feat of human engineering, or the unique use of space and natural light, and even the influences that led up to that one particular building. But I really (really) don't want to know about "squinches" and "pendentives" and "naves" and "transepts" and "ambulatories" and all the other strange terms that come with studying ancient, and particularly Christian, architecture.

This has come upon me through Art History : Prehistory to the Renaissance. I'm not an architect, I'm not an art historian, but as a general art major the class is required.

My teacher really loves architecture. She gets pretty excited about it. It makes me want to bang my head against my desk until I black out and start bleeding out my ears.

As my Korean painting professor would have said, "We are having probrem."

(That class was over two years ago. Is it strange that I still hear that little woman's voice in my head sometimes? Especially the way she said "questions." Not a "w" sound after the "q" but a "y." Phonetically it might look like this: kyess-chuns.

"If we are not having kyestions then we having probrem, okay?" *cute smile*)

You know the feeling when you've worked on one thing for several consecutive hours, how your brain feels like it has imploded in your skull and is now sloshing around between your ears in a gooky mess?

Yeah. I'm feelin' it.

02 December 2009

Once Again my peaceful Existence is disturbed By Sports

I'm lagging in posts because nothing is going on.

But what about Thanksgiving break? All the holidays coming up? The crazy football game that everyone is talking about??

Yeah, like I said: Nothing.

Thanksgiving came and went like it always does; I could complain and moan about how difficult it is to go back to work and school after a break but, seriously, it's not like you don't know. Besides, it happens every year so why talk about it again? Holidays, yeah, same old, same old...you don't really care about those personal details of my holiday plans. I know that, because I don't really care about those personal details of my holiday plans. And football...


...I'm NOT a sports-fan and I make no pretenses about it. The game or the rivalries or what so-and-so said about the other team and how that team should have egged so-and-so's car...blegh!! The only part of the whole thing that affected me was the blasphemous traffic it caused in the neighborhood. If it weren't for the people I work with and their strange obsessions with football, I never even would have known there was a game.

(I think I just heard an audible future gasp from several soon-to-be readers. ...sorry?)

I wash my hands of it and steer clear of the whole thing. So I'm just going to hunker down in my little hermit cave, wait for the end-of-semester-haze to pass by, and we'll get back to your regularly scheduled rants and pondersome posts when all the boring and blatantly bizarre cultural phenomenons are over.

(yay alliteration!)

28 November 2009

adventures In the Kitchen! (almost)

I've got this honking huge bag of blueberries in my freezer from my mother-in-law and I'm not really sure what I should do with them. I've mixed them in things like yogurt and put them on top of pancakes, and they're okay but hardly anything to get excited about.


I baked them. In a muffin mix. One word: Wow. Something about baking the blueberries releases some sort of mouth-wateringly delicious
and magical property that I cannot resist. (cooking them in pancakes is good, too, but it doesn't quite measure up to the muffins)

I ran out of muffin mix (oh sadness) but it's okay! We've got the stuff to make 'em from scratch, and although I'm not a great cook, I can follow a recipe.

Or so I thought.

I'm reading over this "simple" recipe I found online and I'm getting confused. What's with all the weird words? And why all the extra steps? Does alternating the milk with the flour as you mix it in make that much of a difference? How would it? All the ingredients will end up together in the same bowl and then into the oven, right? How crucial is it, exactly, for me to "sift" the flour and baking powder?

Rookie questions, I know. But I'm extremely lazy, especially when it comes to cooking (or baking). I want to do as little as possible but still get the same result. So let me ask you this, if I were to forgo the "sifting" and the "alternating" and just threw everything into the bowl, mixed it together, and threw it in the oven...I'd still get muffins in the end, right? It's not like skipping the sifting step will turn them into cookies or flatbread, right?

I think the author of this recipe is just trying to make baking look harder than it really is, possibly as an attempt to come across as impressive to their doctor and lawyer friends.

We're going to try this thing my way. The easy way. The lazy way. I'll let you know how it turns out.

If it goes well, I may write a book: "The Easy, Lazy Cookbook for Easy, Lazy People." ...the title may need some refining.

27 November 2009

I'm Going To enjoy this break Like i've Never Had a break before In My LIfe

Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope you enjoy our strange gluttonous holiday. It makes no sense, but it's tradition! which excuses all behavior that would otherwise be unacceptable.

So bring on the pie and let's sleep until noon! Hoo-ha!

25 November 2009

crappy Digital Camera strikes AGAIN!

My garbage disposal ate a plastic spoon today.

It's been in a bad mood ever since.

Speaking of bad moods!

I had a dream last night that I and a group of random people were trying to complete some sort of task, but we couldn't communicate or get anything done because in the background, blaring on the radio, was Taylor Swift's song Romeo and Juliet (that's probably not the title, but you know the song I'm talking about).

Over and over and over and over and over and...


Then I woke up and the song WOULD NOT get out of my head. If there was even a small pause in my stream of thought, the song would start up again.

I've had songs stuck in my head before, but they've never been this persistent or aggressive before!

Every time it would start going again I'd yell as loud as I could (in my head) "Shut UP Taylor and leave me alone!!!" The song is gone now (after several hours of listening to a plethora of other songs and artists) but I still feel on edge and slightly schizophrenic.

24 November 2009

we're Still in The 21st century, Right?

A man, a Navy soldier, gave his nephew a suspicious look after a joke had been made and said, "Wait...are you really? You're not. Okay, 'cause I'd have a problem with you if you were a Communist."

(go ahead and give yourself a moment of silence and a puzzled expression. that's what I did.)

I didn't say anything, but it struck me as odd. Who talks about Communists these days, 2009, as if it's a secret conspiracy group from the 1950's? The only people who are still nervous when you mention the word "Communism" are the much older generation, now dying off at ripe ages of 80 - 90 yrs old, and we want to be gentle to the elderly so we refrain from saying the dreaded C-word in their presence. This Navy soldier was young, early 40's maybe late 30's young. What was he worried about Communists for?

Frankly, my grandfather quite liked the idea of Communism. Not exactly the way Karl Marx planned it out, and he certainly disagreed with the Soviet Union's attempt to make a Marxist society work, but the basic concept of having no social classes and all people laboring equally for all people's equal benefit, under a single benevolent ruler, appealed to him. It would be a plausible Utopia if our base human natures didn't keep getting in the way. We get power-hungry, greedy, and corrupt. Not to mention lazy and consumed in our own selfish endeavors.
My grandfather believed that the Second Coming (oh no, religion! run! hide!) would bring about a society with striking resemblance to Communism.

Now you see the concept of Communism I've grown up with: it's a paradisaical idea and simply can't work for people as we are now. We know it doesn't work because there are those who tried it and it failed. Pretty miserably. And now we've moved on. *shrug* No big deal.

So what was this Navy guy's issue?

Granted, I'm overwhelmingly under-informed in this issue. I was not around in the Cold War. I wasn't constantly terrorized by my government and local leaders that "the Commies are gonna nuke us." I haven't read Karl Marx's Manifesto. (Unless excerpts count. Do excerpts count? Yes? No. I thought not...) So who am I to question any man's opinions of Communists? Especially this man, a soldier in the United States Navy?

The more I think about it, though, the more I wonder if this man is not against the actual idea of Communism (as a social theory), but rather against a vicious and sadistic stereotype that has been tied to the title "Communist," a stereotype that I'm unaware of in my uneducated state. Maybe he thinks that Communists vandalize street signs, or leave used chewing gum on the sidewalks, or beat puppies...with kittens (I wish that line were mine; I'm borrowing it from some comedian whose name is now lost to me but I'd know his face if I saw it on Youtube). Call me innocent, naive, and sheltered, but a Communist sounds like a person who's trying to think of better alternatives to their current situation.

It's possible he's judging a stereotype. Stereotypes are wrong. Only lazy ignorant people with an uncanny love for potato salad judge people by stereotypes. (Wait...didn't you just...?) And it's wrong.

I was under the impression that we were no longer overly concerned with Communism because the Cold War is over. And besides, we now have just as much (if not more) ability (and motive) to nuke ourselves as any social party out there. And we're pretty settled into our little Capitalism idea at this point, so I don't see Socialists or Communists getting much influence in that way...so why be hatin'?

Are Communists a problem? Is Communism threatening your way of life? I'm leaning towards "No" on both these questions... Let me know if I'm mistaken. It's possible I missed a memo.

23 November 2009

it Will All Be over in Four (long) weeks

I've been studying principles of design and composition for over three years now. I understand elements of repetition, rhythm, contrast, balance, line quality and color. I get it. I've taken drawing, oil painting, watercolor, and sculpture, and I've done well in all of them. I'm a good artist. I'm not the best artist, and I may not even be a great artist, but I don't suck.

I suck at Photography. There's no simpler way to put it. We're 3/4 through the semester and I've actually gotten worse since we started in August

I've never cared for photography anyway. But the class is required so I thought, "Eh, at least this way I can learn to appreciate it even if I don't pursue it any further." And at first that's exactly what happened: I learned to appreciate the work that goes into a good photograph and what qualifies it as "art." That lasted for about...oh, I'd say...two days.

It's like everything I've ever learned, and everything that any other art teacher has praised me for, is all of the sudden wrong. Just wrong. Example: we looked at two pictures of the same subject, one with a filter and one without. I thought the one on the right was the best one because the background was subdued and didn't compete with the foreground. This is an elementary concept that must be taken into account when creating any composition.

Except it's wrong.

The one on the left was better. The background got confusing with the foreground, but the "tonality" was better so apparently that makes it a good photograph.

What. The. Fetch!

This happens consistently. I've stopped raising my hand to voice my ignorant opinions and ceased all futile attempts to understand the babbling jargon and strange terminology. My new strategy is to lie low and just get through this class with a passing grade. The quicker we get to December, the quicker this will be over.

This has never been my attitude towards school. I love school. I've loved all my classes, especially art classes. But I think Photography has broken me. Twice a week when I walk out of that class I have to build myself back up, mentally repeating, "I'm a good artist, I'm a good artist, I suck at photography, but I'm a good artist..." It's discouraging.

It would be one thing if my problem were in the developing or printing stages. That would be understandable. There are a lot of steps and a lot of places where you could screw yourself over, but it would be a simple matter of correction and making a conscientious effort to be more thorough next time.

But no. I've got the developing and printing down pat.

I'm just a terrible photographer.

It's not that I can't find anything worth photographing in the natural world. I get inspired by small things all around me when I'm walking around outside or through a building...wherever. It could be the angle of two metal beams from a certain vantage point, or the color of leaves under frost, or the vibrant color of a rooftop or brick wall in the sunset, or the tenacity of a solitary green leaf in the midst of a graveyard of crunchy brown and rust-orange. It's not that I don't see the beauty around me. It's that I can't capture that moment, those emotions, in a black and white photo. As soon as my finger clicks the shutter release, the image loses its vibrancy and beauty, and becomes flat, gray, and unremarkable.

If I can paint it or draw it I can use loose lines to imply movement or mood, and use color to play on your imagination...I can make you see it the way I saw it and feel what I felt.

With a camera, all I can show you is what's there. And what's there is not all that I want to show you. There was an element of imagination that went on only in my head that made the experience worth having, and there's no way to get the sparks of delight from my mind onto the photo negative.

My professor keeps saying that the camera is a limitless medium, but I can't help feeling incredibly limited.

(this is not to discount photography as an art form, by any means. there are people who love taking pictures and are good at it, and i admire them for that talent. i'm only saying that it's not for me and hopefully i've supplied you with reasoning that can allow you to empathize with my plight)

19 November 2009

showing Consideration for The structural Integrity Of My brain

I was totally going to study and then my brain went


So I stopped.

Memorizing architecture, manuscripts and mosaics from the Dark Ages and trying to write a 5 page paper comparing/contrasting two landscape paintings will melt your brain. Take it from me, there's nothing interesting going on in the art world in the Dark Ages. And how much can you really say about a landscape painting? Really? I got to page 3 and thought that was pretty dang good.

(and it's double spaced...how embarrassing...)

I need a break. I need a book. I need to get off this computer.

my Average Life

One thing should be established before we move on. My life is good, as far as lives go: sweet husband, solid job, nice apartment, and a great family. For the most part, I really like being me. Average, yes, but I like it that way. The predictability and relative ease of it is a good fit for me.

However, I suspect that part of my soul is off living a double life without me, probably in Greenwich Village or some little coastal town in Italy.

This secret side of my soul is staying up until 3 a.m. writing poetry or drawing or painting, discussing literature with writers and other artists, sleeping in until noon, and going to art galleries and shows in the evening. This is my "inner artist" and I can't stop it from wondering and fantasizing about the carefree lifestyle I've just described. Much like Edna St. Vincent Millay when she was in Greenwich Village...minus all the sex and drugs and chronic anxiety.
(But can you really have that life without the dysfunction? The pleasure without the pain? Popular theory is that you can't. The whole point of that lifestyle is to ride on the cusp of chaos.) So I leave it alone and stick with what I know: simple and average and content.


I met a girl who embodies this imaginary side of my soul. We used to work together, that's how we met, but that was over a year ago. We haven't seen each other at all since then. Odd thing is, I didn't realize she was the embodiment of the untapped portion of my soul until months and months after I left that job. We never talked about it, we never really talked at all, so she has no idea and never will. We're friends on Facebook, but that's meaningless, really. There are people that I can't stand being around and they're my "friends" on Facebook.

Through Facebook, though, I found her blog. This is embarrassing to admit but...

I'm blog-stalking her.

She's a good writer. She reads books the way I eat food or drink water. She knows things that I wish I knew: memorable lines from great written works, names of people from historical and current politics, tenets of eastern philosophy and religion. I haven't dabbled in any of these things, but I wish I knew something about them.

(I can't believe how confidently I'm writing all this...she'll know it's her if she reads this. But here's the thing: I know that she will never, never read this because I never, never cross her mind. Never.)

My inner artist wishes I could trade places with her. The rest of me, however, knows better. I don't really want her life and she wouldn't want mine. I don't fit in that world, I don't fit with those people, and the greater part of me recognizes this. Yet she still fascinates me and I still watch her through sporadic blog posts and Facebook updates.
Admittedly, the fascination has died down some in recent weeks. Maybe I'll finally break free from whatever holds me in her wake. Deep down I can still feel my inner artist sleepily pondering her life and dreaming of its taste. But I know I wouldn't find happiness there. So I comfortably sink deeper into my own average life and I feel a wrenching pain -- my inner artist is dying, day by day, one small piece at a time.

17 November 2009

does My use of Italics distract You?

My car has been dead for the last two weeks. Students in the automotive department at my university have been working on it. It takes longer, but they're cheaper.

It was finally ready to be picked up today.

(shout praises!)

I went down to the shop, they gave me six copies of the receipt (six? What the crap are you going to do with six copies??) which I had to take down to the first level of the school, the cashier's office, to pay for it. She stamped my receipts, all six, then I hiked back up the hill to the automotive building (These buildings are not close together. I won't try to estimate distances for you, cuz I'm bad at it. Suffice it to say, they're not close) and handed him the receipts and he gave me my car key. Kind of a long process just to pay for a car, but I won't complain. It's done now. Sweet.

Only thing left to do is drive my car out of the garage door and into the parking lot.

Little did I know that this was the tricky part.

I had to turn to the right a little to avoid a cement column and as I pulled forward there was a grating sound. Ah, probably just driving over the vents, no worries, it's all good. Until the grating turned into a screeeEEECH!!

Oh fart.

Wouldn't that just be my luck? I finally get my car back and I wreck it driving out of the repair shop! Good grief.

Well, as it turns out, a piece of machinery caught onto my tire rim when I pulled right and I had been dragging it. I didn't even see it. It was one of those...geez, I don't know if they have a name...it has two ramps, one for each tire, so you can drive up and onto a higher platform (Would that be considered "machinery"? Not really. Let me re-phrase: "a car repair prop caught onto my tire rim...") It was dingy yellow, greasy silver and angry looking. I dragged it for about two feet before I stopped the car. Luckily I didn't hurt it at all and my car looked untouched.

So no damage done. It only took a small chunk out of my tire rim and attracted the attention of every instructor and student in the shop as they stared at the idiot girl in an idiot car dragging their idiot prop as the echo of screeeEEECH! bounced off the cement walls.

Thus marking the disintegration of the last remnant of confidence I had as a woman in a car repair shop. Almost no damage done.

My gawsh I am such a klutz (bangs head on desk).

15 November 2009

tragedy At the Bus Stop

On a cement post supporting the roof of the bus stop where I wait every weekday evening (that sounded funny...weekday evening? Can we call it weekevening?) someone has drawn a picture of Spock. Yes, the Spock. As in Star Trek and Captain James T. Kirk and the Vulcan, Spock.

It's awesome:

Can you see it? A low quality picture from my obsolete cell phone. Here's a close-up:

Brilliantly simplistic, isn't it? That is what, we in the business call, skillz. Call it graffiti if you want, but I'm calling it art and I love it.

I'm so impressed by this image I've taken pictures of it on my cell phone and sent it to people. Same response every time: "What is...*double take* Is that Mister Spock?! That's awesome!!"
I love seeing him there every time I'm at the bus stop. I like to wonder about the person who put him there and how they did it.

A week ago I went to the bus stop, sat down, looked at Spock and saw something that troubled and angered me. Over Spock's face someone had written in Sharpie marker:


I'm having a hard time forming words right now. I'm torn between "What. The. Fetch." and "That doesn't even make sense!!" and "GAH!@#!%$^&*#$@*!!!"

Are they trying to label Spock as vandalism? If that was the point, then that is the most irritating example of irony I've ever seen. Or is it some moronic version of "I was here"? Perhaps the message is actually, "[This is] VANDALISM!" If that's the case then, guess what? It's still stupid! And why did you have to write it over Spock's face?? JERK!

I don't mean to take it personally but I am taking it personally. I'm ticked off at the mystery VANDALISM-jerk and I fume every time I see it now. I want to write something underneath it. Something short, concise, that effectively portrays the indignation and frustration of all Spock lovers that have ever sat at that bus stop. How's this?:

"Everyone loved this picture of Spock.
We all thought it was awesome.
And you ruined it.
Good job."

Maybe that's too long. How about this one?:

(arrow pointing to 'VANDALISM!')
"Written by an idiot."

Perhaps I'll compose a fitting haiku. Ah, yes. It'll be poetic and classy, while being poignant and possibly stinging.

13 November 2009

ethical Dilemma?

I put chicken granules on my scrambled eggs. For flavor.

How do you think the chickens feel about that?

10 November 2009

Petty problems We All share

For years I've wanted to lose weight, but I don't want to diet or exercise.


Okay, okay. That statement isn't entirely true. As far as diet goes, I actually eat really well. I love fruits, veggies, and whole grains. My calorie intake fluctuates a bit (yay college) but it stays in normal range.

My real problem is sugar. Oh my goodness. I. Love. Sugar.
Candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, you name it, I'll eat it. (except brownies. gross.) I try to be moderate about it, but if we're being completely honest, I eat significantly more sugar on a weekly basis than the average person. This love-affair is doomed to end (eventually) due to insulin resistance and diabetes looming on the horizon of my not-too-distant future. My logic may be flawed here, but I say: enjoy it while you can.

Then exercise. I love to exercise. When I had a gym pass I was going 3 - 4 times a week and stayed about an hour or more each time. Here's the problem: my pass has expired now and I don't have money for a new one. I have asthma that doesn't react well to cold air, so jogging around the block will not be happening. Not to mention the fact that I hate running. I'm just not built for it. Everything hurts when I run: knees, ankles, lungs, arms, head...my goodness, it sounds like I'm trying to run into the sidewalk or nearby walls. I'm not (probably). Although it would explain a lot...

So what does an asthmatic with sore joints and no gym pass do for exercise?

No really, I'm asking.

I did come up with one other option. It doesn't require any drastic change to my diet or a rigorous exercise program:

Learn to accept and love my body just the way it is.



How long is that going to take? I'd have more luck on a grapefruit diet...

04 November 2009

Can you relate?

So, picture this: your hands are in water, maybe you're washing them or you're doing dishes, and you reach up, for a towel perchance, and when your wrist gets higher than your elbow the water starts to drip down your forearm...

I HATE that.

It's a small thing, a teeny-tiny detail in my life, and yet it infuriates me. In fact, I get a little bit of panic when I feel it going down because then I'm more wet than I had intended, and I don't know where that water is going. It could drip onto my foot, onto my floor, or get into my sleeve. (Gaaaah!!) I get flustered and upset, my heart rate goes up and my pupils constrict and I, well...I panic.

Because of water. On my forearm. Moving towards my elbow.

You may be thinking, what's the big deal? It's just water. You just *fwoop* wipe it off. What are you panicking about?

Well I'll tell you.

I. Don't. Know.

I've always hated the feeling of water creeping up my arm. I find myself getting angry at the water- no, not at the water, at gravity. Angry at gravity, the law of gravity, what sort of absurdity is this? What kind of crazy person has selective anger towards gravity?

Me, apparently.

Does anyone else hate that feeling? Am I really the only one? Have you ever even thought about it before now? Leave a comment and tell me! Tell me about the things that frustrate you, the little things that you don't think anyone else notices.

Even if you stumble on this and see that it was posted years ago...leave a comment anyway. Keep the conversation going.

31 October 2009

Bus stop Conversation

Sitting at the bus stop, scarf around my face, not interested in talking to anyone, I just want to get home and eat dinner. Typical Thursday evening.

Unfortunately, I ask a simple question that, instead of allowing me to return to sitting in silence, starts a conversation.

(And now you will see why I'm not interested in talking to people at the bus stop. Inevitably I end up with the person who is taking the bus because they couldn't keep their driver's license as opposed to those of us taking the bus to be thrifty or environmentally friendly.)

This random guy turns to me and starts asking questions, but I can only make out what he's saying by reading his lips,"What bus are you waiting for? Didn't you used to ride the 811? 300 West in Lehi, right? Yeah...I thought I recognized you." Oh joy.
He sits down on a bench next to mine. I can no longer read his lips unless I turn 90 degrees to my left, and that causes a crick in my neck so I keep looking forward. Our benches are just far enough apart, and his voice is just soft enough, that all I really make out is:

"Frickin' mumble mumble frickin' mumble mumble mumble freakin', y'know?"

Then he laughs. Okay, so it was funny...? I guess so. I smile and halfheartedly nod. Apparently this motivates him to continue:

"Freakin' yeah mumble frickin' something else that's really long that I couldn't make out sprinkled with several "frickin's"...frickin', you'know?" Laughs again.

As the conversation painfully continues I realize that he's instigating the most absurd conversation I've ever been party to: mocking and laughing at people that he doesn't know, complaining about things that he doesn't understand, and trying to pull me in as his cohort.

I did not want to be part of the conversation anymore. I was bored and a little offended. I could have turned to him and confronted him. I could have actually said something, taking part in the conversation instead of passive shrugs and smiles. That certainly would have surprised both of us.
My question is, to you dear reader, what should I have done? What would you have done?

Well here's what I did: my bus came and I got on. I know. I disappoint myself, too.

As the bus pulled up he asked for my name. I told him (natural reaction but, again I ask, what would you have done?) then I looked him in the eye for a moment. I could see him hesitate; he wanted to tell me his name, but I hadn't asked for it. Should he just say it? Would that be appropriate? Maybe if he waits another second, I'll ask him. Maybe he'll just blurt it out-

Too late. I got on the bus without asking and without looking back.

Maybe I'm being harsh. Sure, he was boring, and utterly incapable of forming a sentence without starting it with "frickin'" or "freakin'" or some other variation (some people have the same problem with the word "uhm" or "like"...you know who I'm talking about), but the things I mentioned above: mocking people he didn't know and complaining about things he didn't understand...aren't we all guilty of that at one point or another?

Of course we make fun of, or gossip about, people we don't know. Because if we really knew them, the way their friends and family knew them, we would have no desire to laugh at them.
Of course we complain about things we don't understand because if we understood them, we'd just solve them. People with greater understanding than either of us are working, even as we speak, to find solutions. I guarantee it's over our heads.

I usually don't talk about things unless I know a lot about the subject and can hold my own in the conversation. I understand that most things are over my head. Even then, I sometimes get carried away with talking about what everyone else is talking about without bothering to do a fact check. Many times I've done this, much to my chagrin, with someone who is actually knowledgeable about the topic and they set me in my place (making me feel ignorant and useless in the process).

I've probably inadvertently offended or bored someone the same way this poor fellow did to me. I understand that. I shouldn't hold anything against this guy, regardless of what my first impressions are of him.

I still really hope I never run into him again.

23 October 2009

my cream of wheat gives me serious mental issues

So I was making hot cereal this morning, as I am wont to do, enriched farina to be exact (cream of wheat). I haven't made cream of wheat in a while because my husband has no taste for it, so I go long periods without that gentle red and white box even gracing my cupboard.

However, this is a special occasion. I was sick for two weeks (wretched wretched blegh blegh never-do-it-again) and the only thing that sounded like it would not make me puke or want to die was hot cereal. So he bought me a box.

I never look at the measurements, I just eyeball it, but I do like to read the directions occasionally, just to make sure I remember it right. Here they are:

1. Bring water and salt to a boil.

Awesome. I can SO do that. Check.

2. Gradually add enriched farina, stirring constantly with wire wisk until well blended.

Singin' a little song, stirrin' my hot cereal with a wisk (my European style wisk that I love so very very much) Yeah, this is how we do it (say it like you're really cool even though you're in a bathrobe in the kitchen looking at a pot of white and brown mush) Check.

3. Return to a boil -

Uh oh.

"Return"?? We're not supposed to be boiling right now? Scroll up and check steps 1 and 2, right now, check it. Did you see anything about bringing it down from a boil? If I wasn't supposed to be boiling, they really should have said something.
(They don't, by the way, say anything about bringing it down from a boil in step 2, in case you didn't check. I've checked like a paranoid OCD nut)

Oh wait, there's more to that last step, I cut you off too soon:

3. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low; Wait, what!? Make up your mind, how hot do you want this stu- sorry, I cut you off again, here's the step in its entirety:

3. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered 2 1/2 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Cool slightly.

Is anyone else confused about this step? So I'm supposed to bring it up to a boil but as soon as it does, hurry and reduce it again to low? Really?? Does that even make sense? What if it's already boiling? Is my hot cereal doomed? And when, if at all, am I supposed to stop boiling the first time, anyway? This is ridiculous!!

You should see me, too, when I'm making this stuff. I keep changing the temperature from hot to low to hot to low to hot to medium...to hot to low...it's like a vaudevillian skit. The tongue-in-cheek kind of stuff that would make Charlie Chaplain proud.

The funny thing is, I've bought at least two different brands of this stuff and the directions are the same. You're telling me that no one in the Cream of Wheat industry has tried these directions? 'Cuz I guarantee that if they had tried it, they would have been confused by it.
Maybe no one up there knows how to make hot cereal. They just know that it can be done and it's something like this! (throw directions down in a pile and put them on the box in random order) There you go. Hot Cereal.

It still turned out alright, for the most part. (took longer than it should have...grumble grumble...) Except I feel like a crazy person every time I try to do what the box tells me. And yet I can't stop reading it... Well there you go, maybe I am a crazy person.

I also eat my cream of wheat with toast. "With toast" as in taking the piece of toast, buttered and delicious, in your right hand and putting a spoonful of hot cereal on the toast with your left hand, and then biting into it. Yes. Yummy. That's how my mom ate it (eats it) and that's how I ate it (eat it). Then it occurred to me about a year ago that that's a lot of carbs. It's all carbs, really. Creamed wheat on wheat...dang. Where's the protein in this breakfast? (it's not in the cream of wheat, I checked. 4 grams, that's not even, it's just, no, it doesn't count) Is this balanced? Is this good for me? Will a glass of milk balance this out, do you think, or should I make eggs?

And yet I persist in eating it with toast. And reading (and re-reading) the directions on the box even though I know they make no sense. I must be crazy for still loving this stuff as much as I do.

22 October 2009

My Rant on Camping - For Lovers of Civilization (and avid campers who care to try to convert me)

My husband loves camping. He's really into outdoor survival and Scouting and Backpacker Magazine and 72 Hour Kits and all that stuff.

I don't get it.

But I keep trying! Let the record show that I am trying. I agreed to go on the last family camping trip, to give it a chance, to figure out what I was missing, and generally have a good time. It was car camping, just a quick over-night deal, not (what my husband calls) "real camping." We went with his family (interesting that they're "his family" and not "my in-laws"...is this something that changes with time and increased familiarity? Or is it a deeper reflection of my own struggling inter-personal relationships revealing the darker side of my psyche? *shrug* Prolly the first one...) So we're in the mountains and it's cold, wet, and altogether rather dull. We played some card games (Rummy woot) while the men-folk made dinner in their manly dutch ovens roasting in their manly man-made fire. We ate some rubbery chicken and undercooked brownies, I took a quick visit to the smelly little-girl's outhouse, brushed my teeth without a sink (don't be fooled, not as easy as it sounds) and went to bed in a freezing and uncomfortable tent.

Are you still following me? Am I still the only one who doesn't see what was "fun" about this trip? Oh wait, there's more...

We left pretty early in the morning so I could make it to a Saturday class. I woke up stiff and cold and groggy. But I was still determined to give this camping thing a chance. I thought, 'It's just because I'm not used to it. Sleeping outdoors is probably very refreshing if you're accustomed to it - I'm sure everyone else slept great.'


Everyone complained of stiff joints or sore backs or having been "half-awake" the entire night. Except my father-in-law and my husband. Seven people present and only two actually slept. I took out my mental list of "Possible Reasons that People could Like Camping" and silently crossed off "Good solid sleep and waking up refreshed."

And while I had my list out, I decided to review some other items. "The beautiful scenery." Admittedly it was lovely out there...but honestly? You've never seen aspen and pine on the side of a mountain?? It's Utah!! Just look around you, man, they're everywhere!! Not that impressive. Cross that off the list.

Or how about this one: "The dutch-oven cooking." I tried not to laugh out loud as I crossed that one off.
Don't get me wrong, dutch oven cooking can be really tasty. But it's cooking by people who are deliberately limiting their resources and food options (what can we "pack-in and pack-out"?, what will cook quickly and properly in a giant cast iron bowl sitting in a giant fire?, what will not kill us if perchance something goes wrong in the giant cast iron bowl sitting in a giant fire?, etc.) Admittedly, cooking in a dutch oven is not as satisfying when done at home, but we eat better when food is cooked in an actual kitchen anyway.

Speaking of home: the food's better, we could have played cards on a table that wasn't wet, in a room that wasn't cold without wearing three layers of clothing to be comfortable, (in fact, we could have been in our comfy pajamas) and the men still could have cooked a manly meal on the manly grill outside (the manly outside). Why didn't we just stay home??

(I know you can't really sense it from where you're sitting in front of your computer screen, but that last question is charged with frustrated aggravation. You've got it, that's better.)

"...almost the entire drive of human history has been an attempt to get as far away from Nature as possible."
"Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

Best quote in the whole book.

If you disagree with me, let me know this story from your point of view. I'll keep an open mind, I truly do want to understand this weird drive that forces you people into the outdoors with nothing but a tent and a backpack. After all, I'm married to one of you now.

If you agree with me, let me know; it's lonely being an anti-camper in a world of gung-ho hikers/backpackers/National Parks enthusiasts.

20 October 2009

NPR, Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, and Tolkien

Listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! on NPR's website. Apparently Kellogg's is going to start branding each individual corn flake with lasers. You know, so you can rest assured that you are eating only REAL Kellogg's flakes instead of those knock-off flakes that magically sneak into your Kellogg's Corn Flakes box.

It happens.

Who has that kind of money, time, and energy to brand every individual corn flake? And who in the corporate offices of Kellogg's is under the delusion that the general public cares where their individual flakes came from? I can't speak for everyone, but when I look at my breakfast bowl I do not consider each unique flake that took pains to be present and contribute to the whole, but rather judge the bowl of corn flakes as a whole entity, fully disregarding the origins of the flakes that make the conglomeration. And why should their origins matter to me when I know intimately the fate that they all equally share?

Did that paragraph even make sense? Should we go out and have a corn flakes party, since talking about them so much has made me crave a bowl, or should we all band together and boycott Kellogg's for their absurdity?

As for the Chicken Noodle soup mentioned in the title: I'm sick. NPR and Tolkien are keeping me company as I flush my system with steaming hot chicken broth and cheap (but tasty) noodles. As the chicken chunks only boast a .5% contribution to the soup, I feel no obligation to give it positive mention. However, it doesn't matter that I'm sick because I was sick all last week and I've missed too much class. It's unacceptable, and I must drag my sorry self out of my comfy robe and into the shower within the next half hour so that I may look somewhat decent in 3D Design today. And then I'll come home and get back into my comfy robe and you'd never guess that I had showered. Oh the vicious and unfulfilling cycles of life.

The purpose of this post? The moral? The meaning? *Ahem* Eating a whole can of Campbell's soup does not help nausea, being sick does not always guarantee a "Get out of Reality Free" card, and The Fellowship of the Ring is a great book - especially when you are ill.