Friday, January 13, 2012

Give it a try.

If you are looking for somthing to do, why not try out my new blog?      It is a similar thing with a new style. Much like movies nowadays.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The last project

      So, I bet you expected a nice big post on New Year's eve. Nope. Why? I'm not ready for this to end. This project has been some of the most fun I've had. Sometimes it was super difficult. But it always gave me a goal and something to look forward to. So now, I will reflect.
     As the last project I learned how to publish a book. Well, sort of. I had even less time this week than I usually do (trying to meet up with family I didn't see on Christmas and planning a new year's party). I vaguely know what I have to do to turn this blog into a real, in-your-hands book. Or the book I wrote during this blog into a real, in-your-hands book.
    Looking at it got me thinking, though. How will I make this a book that will actually mean something to more than just my friends? I think that with the right writing, it can be what it was to me- a life boat in a big open sea of fright.  There are a lot of people out there who are still in the position I was in at the start of the year- Jobless, directionless and maybe a little hopeless. When I applied and applied and didn't get a job, I went beyond the fear of running out of money. It became personal. People would say to me "Oh, look at the market, no one is hiring." But it didn't matter. I thought, "I worked hard to be better than everyone else. I went beyond. And still-nothing. Why?"
     Now, a year later, I have a full time professional job, a part time retail job and have managed to put a tiny bit of money in the bank. I feel good in general. Of course, some of that is my awesome friends and family. However, really feeling good about life has come from 1) having a direction and 2) accomplishing things I WANTED to do. They may not be applicable in most situations. When am I ever going to use my knowledge of Victorian toiletries? Unless I discover a time machine and get stuck in Victorian England because the machine is lacking a bulbophonic spring resistor coil- probably never. But I was interested in it and pursued it. Then I was happy and accomplished. And it happened again and again every week. More happy, more accomplishment.
     I hope that if you take anything from this blog, it is a desire to create your own adventure. To pursue your interest-of-the-moment, no matter how esoteric. I know that it doesn't not take money to make a top-notch change in your life. I mean, you probably can't have "caviar tasting week" if you aren't rich. Or "Learn to fly a helicopter week" without some dough. But you can learn to make the best cookies, wrap presents, recreate a painting and a million other things. You can actually take the time to read the newest novel. Or a classic novel. You can take the time to WRITE a novel. It's up to you.
     Now, go, my friends! It's adventure time....

It's the end

        Let me catch up on posts I haven't posted:
       Wrapping week, as those of you who got gifts know, quickly deteriorated. Some of you found globs of hot glue on the top from me trying to add glitter flowers or sprigs of pine. But they never stayed. I tried wrapping them in really cute ribbon in the same style that you see in Victorian movies. Maybe it would have worked better with cloth ribbon, I'm not sure. I do know that it did not look right as it was.
     Another hazard I faced was my cat. Normally fairly docile, he turned into the wrapping monster. He particularly loved the gold ribbon I added to packages. I came home after wor one day to find that he had detached the ribbons from most of the presents. THe ones that were still on the packages were chewed into oblivion. No one wants stinky, cat-chewed bows. So I had to re-wrap or re-ribbon a lot of it.
     I did learn that the trick or wrapping is to keep the ends short and fold it in at the middle first. This probably doesn't make a lot os sense reading it. Let's see if I can do this better. You turn the open ends of the paper towards you and push in the sides (not the top or bottom flap). The top and bottom flaps will fold in. All you have to do is fold under the the raw edges and tape. Ta-da.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A week cut short

     I loved compliment week. It definately kept me from getting too grumpy. I hope it made some people's day better, too. I know that some of you gave mecompliments and it made my day! I don't have too much to tell you about it. You give people compliments. It's more of a lifestyle change than how-to.
    You get a two for one week this time. I'm running out of time to do all I need to, so these are two compatible things that won't take time away from the other.
    I have to admit that I've already cheated on new veggies week. I ate at a restaurant with my friend and they did not have any interesting vegetables. But I did eat a regular veggie with a new spin. I had carrot soup with coconut and crispy shallots. I have also tried pickled mustard seeds. They had the pop like caviar but not the icky fishy taste. I liked them. Nothing else has stood out so far. Jicama tastes like an asian pear. Good, but not exciting.
     Wrapping week is not goign so well. I want to wrap presents like MArtha Stewart, but I don't have time to make all of my wrapping paper out of bleached newspaper and carved potato stamps. I mean, I think they are as cute, but they don't have the tight lines and awesome bows made out of recycled yarn.

Friday, December 16, 2011

So sleepy, so slow.

     I am like waaaay behind on my blogging. I realize now that  I didn't even tell you what last week was. It was short story week, I know a lot of these have been writing weeks lately, but that is a direction I'm headed. I have love my painting weeks, but have very little natural talent at it. Actually it is really frustrating to me right now. That's why I'm writing more.
     This week has been hard on me. I have been working a ton more than usual. So much so that I nearly nodded off in traffic. The good news is that is was in traffic and not while I was moving. The car got so warm and the radio started playing "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby and my eyelids started to droop- hard.
     To keep from falling into a grumpy mood I am making this week compliment week. I give compliments to people when I think them. But they can never be insincere. Most people love to hear that you like their hair, clothes, makeup, or anything really. Well, the woman at the bank who smelled nice didn't like the compliment that much. But if you don't want someone to think you smell good, why wear that much perfume? It wasn't like I was too close to her in line or leaning over her shoulder. I was walking behind her. She stopped to open the door and held it open for me and I told her she smalled nice.
     I really hope that you try compliment week. It not only makes other people feel good, but it harbours good will and makes you fell better about life in general.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A short bit from my bio

     So, even though I'm just 24, I did not even get close to finishing my bio. I thought you might like to read a snippet from my early life.
                                                                    The Fire
The first huge event of my life I can’t actually remember. I was all of a year old and a fire burned down my house and everything in it. We were lucky to get out, but we were all that did. Everything else is just ashes. Probably best I don’t remember much. Just talking about it makes me want to go check and make sure the stove is off. Not only did it create my fire paranoia, but it started a trend of moving every year or so. But, more about that later. First, the fire.

At the time we lived in a “log cabin” on the family “farm.” I use quotes because the “cabin” was 7,000 square feet and the “farm” didn’t actually produce anything. It is more like a family compound. Oh, sure we had some cows but dad could never bring himself to have them slaughtered. Once mom got cow butchered and dad felt so bad he couldn’t bear to eat it and gave all the meat away.

The night of the fire, my mom was cooking pork chops in a cast iron skillet when the phone rang. She ran to the other room to answer it. She told her friend she would call back once she was done cooking, but before she could hang up she heard the popping and smelled the smoke. She yelled “I’ve got to go, there’s a fire,” and ran for the kitchen. She tried to get to the fire extinguisher, but the fire had already engulfed the logs in the kitchen. The smoke was quickly rolling into the other rooms. She ran back to the bedroom where I was napping with my dad. After waking dad and I up, she carried me out with dad following behind.

Once dad and I were safely outside, she tried to go back in to save whatever she could. By then, the fire was already out of control. She could only reach the phone right inside the door. She called my grandparents who lived down the road and told them to call 911. They called the fire department but by the time any fire engines could get there it was too late. Who knew that dry wood sealed with varnish would burn so quickly?

My granddaddy brought his truck and a chain to save the cars that were parked too close. But no car keys. They were melted in the house. All anyone could do was stand and watch as the house burned magnificently. Eventually my nana took me to her house and started making calls to everyone that needed calling.

 One of the most important calls was to one of dad’s friends asking him to bring some clothes for dad to wear. The news teams were already at the gate and Dad only had on his underwear and my mom’s jean jacket that he grabbed on the way out. Now, mom is 5’9” and about one hundred and fifteen pounds at the time. Dad is 6’3” and one hundred and eighty pounds.  News teams covering our loss was bad enough. No one wanted to see dad in tightie whities, stuffed into a jean jacket half his size and covered in soot end up on the morning news. I really want you to get that mental image. It’ll last a lifetime.

After the house was gone and all the coals had burned out the fire department conducted their investigation. The only thing that survived the fire was the defective cast iron skillet that split and dropped grease on to the burner. All the gold jewelry, all the copper pots and pans, every other metal melted into indistinguishable pools that mixed with ashes. But cast iron doesn’t burn.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cookies and More

     I apologize to all of you faithful readers out there. I have not updated in two weeks. But I keep putting it off because I think about writing about financials week and decide not to do it. So I’m not.  I’m just not going to write about the stuffy boring stuff. If you really want to know, you can ask. But I’m not weighing down my blog with it.
     I will, however, talk about cookie week. I thought thanksgiving was a good time for cookie week because it is a great way to dispose of all the cookies that I made. I made about nine dozen cookies. Actually that number would be a little higher but my first batch was inedible.

     There were several modifications I made to my usual recipe because I was trying to perfect the “Nana rie” cookie for Thanksgiving. I was trying to halve the recipe so that I could try the new techniques without ruining a whole batch. Which was good because ruin I did. Too much sugar, too much vanilla, not enough flour. They just melted and the sugar caramelized quickly then burnt.

     It does not help that my oven is awful. After initial failure I redid the cookie recipe by adding more flour and less sugar and changing up the proportions of sugar (I add more brown sugar and less white sugar). So the first sheet I put in still burned horribly in the back and was not done in the front. That is when I discovered that my oven burns at such different temperatures between the back and front that I had to turn my cookies every three minutes.  The added flour meant that I had to bake them for a full 10 minutes instead of my usual 8. It was a pain in the rear. I had to sit in the kitchen so as not to miss a turning for the next three pans of cookies. And I couldn’t do two pans at once because the bottom one would burn and the top would end up taking forever then end up hard and unpleasant.

     Finally on Wednesday I went to my mom’s house. She has a nice new oven that baked just fine.  There I made peanut butter with peanut butter chips, chocolate, and chocolate chip cookies. And they were a success. I actually wasn’t crazy about the chocolate cookies because they were boring, but several of my coworkers loved them. So.

     All in all I think I have earned the title “Her Serene Cookie Baker of Middle Tennessee and Western North Carolina for Life.” I will also accept the lesser titles of “Her Lady Cookie Bakeress” and “Marchioness of the County of Davidson Cookie Battalion.”

     This week I am writing my autobiography. I know, I’m not that old or that awesome. But that’s the point. Autobiographies and biographies always make people sound much cooler than they actually are. I am feeling bored with my life right now so I’m going to write it all out and make it sound like I’m adventuresome.  It’s much easier than actually doing stuff.