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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I just want a nap

     So, I guess you want to see/ hear about crafting/ no sugar added week. The crafting went well. I made a lot of stuff. The problem is that a lot of what I made was for Christmas gifts and I don't want to talk to much about it or share pics until after Christmas. I don't want to be a scrooge and ruin the surprise for at least 7 people for my own selfish purposes. Let's just say some sparkle, some are dramatic, some took and hour, others days.
     No added sugar week was going well until my boss brought in her leftover Halloween candy. Then I ate like 14 mini snickers in a day. Ok, not 14 exactly. There goes the squid brain again. Eat a little, suffer massive brain damage. Well, maybe 14. Ooops. But I refrained from sugary drinks and coffees, other desserts or candies, sugary yogurt and the like. So...sort of yay?!
     This week has been financials week. Not very fun, but something I feel is important. I am trying to learn: how to buy a house, What is 401k and should I have one, How can I invest and will it ever be possible for me to own a house. Right now I can only answer a little bit of each question. However, since I one day hope not to have to eat spaghetti with plain canned tomato sauce at the end of each month, so I will study. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Next week will be better

     Here is another little squid tidbit- A squid's brain is shaped like a donut and its esophagus runs trough the middle. If it eats something too big for its esophagus, it suffers brain damage. That is how I feel around meatloaf or jelly donuts. One bite and I have enough brain damage to eat the rest.
     On to the rest of the show. This was no television week. It was a supreme failure. I watched TV everyday. Here is how it played out:
Monday- I watched the Simpsons Halloween Special. 30 min.
Tuesday- I came in and Ben was watching TV. I wanted to hang out with him, so I watched. 45 min
Wednesday- A friend was featured in a TV show so I had to watch. 1 hour
Thursday- BONES season premier!!! 1 hour
Friday-  Watched a new episode of Regular Show On Demand. 15 min.
Saturday- The game was on. I guess I wasn't actually watching because I don't like football, but it was on.

     You know what I found out? I don't actually watch that much TV. It is mostly just background noise. I thought I'd have all this spare time and get so much done. But I didn't. If I was tired I would just sit and stare or listen to music. I wasn't any more active.
    I know that all of you have heard the people bragging that they are so intelligent/cool/cultured that they don't have a TV. But what does that really mean? For me, in the end, it meant listening to more music. Not smart music like jazz or classical. Just regular entertainment stuff. So am I a better person for not watching much TV for a week? Nope. Are they? Probably not. Just more arrogant.
     So this is a dual week. It is no added sugar week AND craft like crazy week. I have had so much sugar (Read: Halloween candy that was not given away) that i have to go without or I just might go into sugar shock. And I need to craft like crazy to get to ready for Christmas. Most people are getting handmade this year. And I'm trying to make some cute stuff to wear. Brooches, hairpins, etc for being festive for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yay!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something smells fishy

              This last week was fun for me. I have always had a soft spot for squid because they are such cool creatures. They are all bendy and loopy and primitive and strange. They are also incredibly intelligent. There is a story documented of a squid kept in a lab with a bowl of goldfish near the tank (for daily feedings). Somehow it figured how to crawl out of the bowl, into the bowl with the goldfish and then eat them all. How incredible is that? That it even understood the concept of glass and the fish in a different bowl and there was a way to get out. Some people are not that smart (see: people who repeatedly push on door that says pull).
                Some of the newest science on squid involves the giant squid. They were long thought to be figments if the imagination of drunken sailors.  Turns out: not so much. The theory is that they just live deep in the ocean unless they are sick. I hypothesize that they are all ninja squid and constantly evade picture and capture.  I mean, anything that can take on a whale is pretty hard-core. Why not ninja hard-core?

                Some other news is that squid mating is not a precise science. Scientists have known for a while that squid will try to mate with any other squid. It’s not romantic. All they do is place a packet of sperm in the arm of the other squid. I guess it is hard to tell boy or girl if you just go by the arms.  One of my favorite quotes is,

"Male squid, it seems, have only two responses to things they bump into: eat it, or impregnate it. Which is a good reason to avoid bumping into one." -Edward Willett

What they have found, thought is that navigating all those legs and tentacles while fighting with other males often end in the males placing their own sperm packets in their own arm. I know many of you are cringing right now. But it is a little bit funny.

As a part of the week I have made a little book about squid. It is factual with cartoons. I don’t really know who my target audience is- it is too much cartoon and too little facts to be adult informative. It is too many big words and squid concepts for little kids. But I’m making it anyway and you can’t stop me. It still needs color before I post it though. It is always better with color. Also: I ate some squid. Watch out for squid salad. It can be rough *shivers with the thought*.

This week is no TV week. I had actually planned on another week, but that fell through. So now I am going without TV. Already it is heard because so often if I am not watching the TV then it is background noise. This morning I got up and read the news with breakfast. We’ll see how this goes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Here is a fun blog if you would like to play along with squid week:

And this is even better You can build your own squid, set it free, and then go back later and check on it. I named mine chester. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Read about reading

     So, I have to admit, my reading this week was mostly fluff. I have been really into Amish based fiction. I know, it doesn't sound so exciting. But I swear it is! It is kind of calming. The drama is not too stressful and you get to imagine you are living a simple life (without having to do all the extra work that not having electricity brings). Plus I love hearing about all the traditions. Here are a few examples:
  • Weddings are in October and November so as not to disturb harvest.
  • One traditional wedding food is celery casserole- so you know when a person plants a lot of celery one of their daughters is getting married.
  • Some traditional desserts are shoofly pie (made of molasses) and whoopie pie.
  • Courting is all done in secret. Parents do not even know who their child is dating until they "publish" their engagement at church.
  • Until you take the "kneeling vows" (which means joining the church) nothing can be held against you. But after- everything is held against you.
     I finished the last two books out of the three book series. I forget the names. All of them are the same. "The something" where something stands for "Betrayal" "Longing" "Parting" or something like that. It is funny because it's not just one writer either. My fave if Beverly Lewis, but others are good too and have the same type name. Copycats or is there  something special to that style of name and the Amish? I don't know.
     I have started reading a book called "the lost". At least I think. I am bad about titles. It is based on a Jewish myth that there are 36 saints in the world at any time and if there weren't then God would destroy the world. But they are not regular goody-goodies. They are flawed people who teach other people how to live better and be better.  It is interesting, but a little dirty.
     This is squid week. I love squid but have gotten behind on current squid-science. So I am studying all that is new.
     I am thinking about posting some how tos. What do you think? Would you want to read any about how to bake or sew or bead?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Half week- half weak

                  Last week has been a half week. Half of the time was spent in New Mexico and the rest catching up. Still, I managed to pull together a project. It was jewelry designing week.  A friend bought me some beads while she was on vacation and I combined those with the home made beads to interesting affect. Later once I can get a good photo I will show you. 
                I made two necklaces of blue, two or red orange and one of green. Actually, the green one had the ammonite pendant than Ben bought me for our anniversary, so it is extra special. Today I am wearing the blue one with the silver, fake, Mayan coin pendant. So far I have received two compliments.

                I have to confess, I am so far behind on everything I don’t know if I will catch up or give up. Either way it is catch up on reading week. I have a collection of things I want to read and I don’t really want to do something too involved this week. I want something that I can relax while doing.  But next week- anything goes.

I need some help coming up with new ideas for weeks.  Please send in any ideas you may have. I have covered quite a few suggestions so far. Why not yours?

Read me before reading backwards for full enjoyment

             My more loyal followers have noticed that I have not posted for two weeks. No, I didn’t forget about you. I was away on vacation. Some people have made me paranoid, though so I didn’t want to post that I was going to be gone and for how long. I doubt anyone would have broken in or anything, but you know that the stranger and more unlikely, the likelier that it will happen to me.
                I have posted a few short articles about New Mexico. You can pick and choose what you want to learn about. But don’t worry, they are not too educational. About ¾ is opinion and sassy. So read what you will, ignore the rest. I may or may not post more later. There were a few other excitements such as the bear that ate through the beer lines at the restaurant we were at and a tremendously eventful and unnerving plane ride back.

How to survive a hostel

               So, Ben and I thought that it would be a neat adventure to stay in a hostel. Plus, it would save some money. Win/win, right? Looking on the website it said it was on a historic square and offered a free full breakfast every morning. So, well, not really. Actually, no. Not at all.
                As it turns out it was on a historic town square technically in the town we wanted. Technically. If you were to write it a letter, you would address it to the right town. In reality it was more than twenty minutes outside of town proper. Apparently New Mexico has large zip code areas. We ended up in a town that had seven shops that all closed at six. No grocery store. No convenience store. The one little shop where you could “buy groceries” actually (I’m not kidding) had two of every product. Sometimes not that much.  So this is your first tip: look up on a map exactly where the place is. Look at its relationship to other places that you want to go.

                For a hostel the place was nice. We actually managed to book private rooms with private bath for a little extra (the grand total was still $35 a night). That being said, it is still a hostel. There are some things you need to think about that might not normally know. Here are a few things that I found most handy.

For your own health and well being, when you are staying in a hostel bring a pair of shower shoes. Also be sure to bring some kind of room spray; not everyone is as clean as you. If you plan on going to bed early or sleep late, I suggest a pair of earplugs. Lots of other people stay there and they do not care what your sleep schedule is.  To make your stay more enjoyable, ask the people who live there what they like to do and what places are good to eat at. They can give you insight to places you didn’t even know were there.

There will come up situations that you do not like. You should find a way to be flexible. Remember: you are in a hostel not a hotel. It is not about customer service there. It is about a place to sleep for cheap. For example, while we had a private bath, the plumbing was so old that you could not flush toilet paper down the toilet. I’m not going to go into detail here, but you can imagine the complications that arose. So we just planned to be elsewhere at certain times of the day (just in case).

Don’t plan on meals. It may promise a full breakfast, but in reality it is a tub of oatmeal and access to a pot. This can be a plus or minus. If you are looking to save money you can buy some groceries and cook yourself. If you are looking for convenience and want to come in after a long day of activities and pay for a meal, you’re out of luck. Another possible down side is that someone has cooked curry and for several days the whole place smells.

Overall, it was a neat experience. We got to meet some cool people and some weird people and some quiet people. I had some of the best noodles I’ve ever eaten. I met a Buddhist who uses his practice group to pick up women/see them naked. I met a Disney producer and his writer wife. I learned these helpful tips to pass on to you. So if you fell like an adventure, I actually do recommend trying a hostel.

Architecture...sort of

               If you read the article about food, then you know I awarded New Mexico a gold medal for consistency. Well, they get gold in architecture, too. All of the buildings look pretty much the same. All of them and square and low- There are no tall buildings. The tallest building would be the hotel we stayed in which was five stories, but even that was unusual.  
                The buildings are all painted one of three shades: Adobe, Terra Cotta or Adobe/Terra Cotta. I really found it amazing just how alike all of the colors were. I mean, most places that I’ve been you can have ten blue houses and none of them are the same shade. I guess that it is possible that the shades aren’t that close and actually just pick up natural shades of the dessert. Therefore they all fit the color scheme so well they just look the same.  Whatever. They match.

                It was cool that the modern styles matched the ancient native built pueblos.  The pueblos are all low and desert colored. You can see a new home and an ancient pueblo and there is only one big difference- pueblos had the door on the roof and you had to use a ladder to get up to it. It was nifty for when there was fighting or bears or annoying visitors. You could just pull the ladder up. Not good for the old, disabled or clumsy.  That is why a few pueblos that are still inhabited have changed that and cut a door in the regular spot.

                I am sure there is a ton more that can be discussed. But overall architecture bores me. So I don’t have much vocabulary to discuss it intelligently. “That building is big,” “It was so pretty,” and “The windows were big,” is about the limit of my architectural knowledge. So it you want to know more look it up or take a vacation.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

State of the native- revered and ignored

     As you may or may not know the Native American population is high in the Southwest. I don't know the statistics, but everywhere you go there are full-blooded natives embracing their heritage. I am curious about why there are so many natives that practice native traditions there, and around here, where there were just as many native people, it's more common to find 1/8 Cherokees with no clue to traditions. Or people who say they are native, but have no idea what tribe or how far back.
     Sure, you can go to a reservation and see the dances and visit the museum. But over there you can meet a Native in a bar that is studying atomic interactions and in his spare time preparing the fruit pies for Feast Day. Not really. Men don't prepare the fruit pies. But you get my point. Why did the natives there maintain traditions and here- not so much?
     Part of it may be that here we have not celebrated the culture much. In New Mexico, there are beautiful celebrations of the native cultures every where. There are tons of museums to honor culture, art and heritage. Even more important than that, the culture is honored in everyday life. All of the bridges and noise blocking walls on the highways are painted to match the adobe homes and have native designs like the roadrunner and Kokopelli painted on them. Any building you go into is decorated with Native crafts like baskets and woven blankets. Find me anything like that here. I challenge you. And "Cherokee National Park" doesn't count. It has to honor in more than just name.
     While Natives have a revered place in society and traditions are maintained in New Mexico, that is not saying that all is well. Far From it. The reservations are plagued by alcoholism. I know, it is a stereotype, but there is truth to it. One big problem there is Native people freezing to death on reservations because they have drank to much and not gone inside. Drinking, Meth and gambling are major issues. I could go into the root causes of poverty on the reservation due to lagging schooling system and lingering cultural isolation (despite the more recent efforts). But I won't. You can look that up.
     As you may or may not have known, I was hoping to have some kind of artistic inspiration or revelation out there. I did not get any of that from the modern artist over there. I manage to find some inspiration and new ideas from native art. The farther back you go (preferably before European contact) the more interesting it is. Designs, simplification, making the normal sacred- it pushed me in a new direction. Once I get some stuff made, you will see what I mean.

Food of New Mexico- Feel the Burn

     Do you like food so hot that it burns all the way through your system? Do you like beans to be the majority of every meal? Is your favorite side item a dry tortilla? Then Northern New Mexico is for you.
     Ok, it wasn't that bad. But is was vastly different from my beloved Southern Food. So different that I had digestive troubles for a week in a half. The last few days of the trip I only ate food from the tourist restaurant (read: mild and inoffensive). It was necessary for my own well being.
     Here is something you might now expect: in all the food we ate there were no black beans or salsa. I don't know about you but whenever I've ordered "Santa Fe" anything it is smothered in black beans and salsa. Thins Santa Fe chicken, casserole, eggrolls, etc. In reality every dish came with pinto beans and chili sauce.
     I was fine with the pinto beans. They are a little bland, but fine. The real issue I had was with the chilies. There was chili sauce on or in everything. Everything. And I don't mean a sauce with chilies in it or sauce with a lot of hot pepper added to it. It was chilies cooked and pureed. No other ingredients to take off the heat except my tears.
    Which brings me to the dry tortillas. At first Ben and I were confused why they kept giving us side dishes of dry tortillas. Even with things lite burritos which are already in tortillas. After some trial and error (and then confirmation by a local) we realized that the tortilla was to cool your mouth off. Ta-da!
     I have to give it to the people of Northern New Mexico- they are consistent with their food. It is like they had a meeting and agreed that frito pies, navajo tacos and stuffed sopapillas should be on every menu.  Frito pies are a big deal over there. They are fritos, pinto beans, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese and chili sauce (which was like our kind of chili with hot chilis added).
    Navajo Tacos and Stuffed sopapillas are both made with the same base- Indian fry bread. It a little hard to describe. The bread is flat and square, but is puffy from being fried. For the tacos they are folded over and for stuffed they are cut in half and, well, stuffed. I, as a good Southern girl, think that we should invest some time in learning to fry our bread. Sure, we have hush puppies, but they put their fry bread with sandwiches, burgers, practically anything. Catch up. I'm looking at you, Paula Dean!
     Of course, we had more food adventures than that. We had a really excellent dinner at a restaurant called Mica. We ate a ton of honeyed sopapillas. We ate vendor food. But all of that is normal stuff you  could find anywhere. I wanted to give you a taste of what made New Mexican food unique and worth the burn.

PS- There were still Mexican food restaurants out there. They are very clear that Mexican food and NEW Mexican food is completely different- God help you if you say they are the same thing. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out the differences (but don't tell them that).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

On hiatus

     Positivity week was...positive. I found it was much harder than I thought to keep it up. As hard as it is to break the bad habit of negative thinking, it is even harder to keep it up when talking to people. People love talking about how awful their life is.  The only thing people love more is hearing that your life is worse. I'm not kidding at all.More often than not people would get agitated almost to the point of angry if you say that everything is going all right. So I end up saying something negative.
      I did, however try to make different people's day. I sent out a bunch of cards letting people know I love them. I gave some little surprise gifts to people at work who were having a bad week. I also gave one homeless man that waves every morning money with a card to thank him for waving every morning.     
     Other than the people at work, I have no idea if anyone felt better by what I did. I don't exactly know how to feel about not getting a phone call or e-mail or anything from a single person. But I guess that wasn't the point. The point was to do something nice even if I never know the outcome. That's life, right?
     I will be away from this blog for two weeks. I am calling the next two weeks New Mexico Week and and Watercolor week. I will hopefully have lots of great things to give to you at then end of them.

Sending you each lots love!

Eye Candy

     I'm about to go on Vacay so I wanted to give you a few things to look at while I'm gone.
This is Peaches part 2. But It is still not done. However, I'm having a hard time finding a direction.

Here is one of the headbands I made and one of the flowers I made pinned to it. The other headband is the same material as the flower.

Here is a little watercolor I painted. It is entitle "Fuzzy Dreams of Mama's Kitchen."

THis is a really old painting entitle "Sidd in Green" Sidd is my dog. Normally he isn't green, though.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Yes to this week

     Fabric week is officially a success. I managed to make two headbands, two flower decorations, a sachet for my car using my favorite incense and mended some clothes. I know I owe you like ten million pictures, but I promise someday soon to deliver.

      I found a great way to get the right amount of fabric is to buy quilting squares. They are a fair size, but not the yard  that stores often required. I really do not need a yard of fabric to make headbands. While on the subject- does anyone have a good pattern than makes the headbands that look like head scarves? I only have one for tighter headbands.

      I have found that I need a sewing machine. The pattern that I used to make the headbands said that they are so easy you can make a dozen in an hour. When you are sewing by hand, however, it takes considerably longer. And the lines are not always straight. For the people who are to be recipients of headbands as gifts I am just telling them that crooked lines means more love.
      This week is an important week to me. First of all it is don't-think-negatively week. Not only am I trying to think of goof things, I am trying not to think of bad things. It is harder than you think. People like to talk about the crap in their lives and they love to hear that your life is worse. But I'm trying very hard not to do that. The second part of this week is to make someone's day. I try to make at least one person's day every day. Maybe it will be you.
      Just in time for positivity week I got to see Maya Angelou speak at my Alma Mater. I wish I had words to describe how excellent it was. Her over reaching message was "Be the rainbow in someone's clouds." That is what this week specifically about, but I also want to take that with me into the future. One of the things she said that struck me the most was, "Let your gratitude go ahead of you. Let people see how happy you are to be living your life before they ever see you."
      I know there are plenty of you who do not want to participate in making things or reading things or remembering things, but please please try this one with me. Let's work to make the gray world brighter. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunday, Monday, Wednesday....whats the difference?

     So I'm updating at the end of my lunch break. You may wonder why I update on lunch so often. It is because after working on a computer all day I really don't want to be on one at home even for recreation. Much of my spare time not being spent on cleaning, the project or finding, preparing and shopping for food is spent napping. That is neither here nor there.
     That being said I owe you some drawing I made during journal week. I like to draw and make diagrams because it can be clearer than descriptions. Sometimes. Sometimes I just like a reason to use markers and crayons.
     This week has been fabric crafts week. I have not actually crafted much so far. I have made a headband and  sewed some buttons back where they were supposed to be. I don't know how we lose so many buttons. But I hope to try out a few things I have seen on different craft websites.
     Next week is going to be a combo week. You will like it when you hear it. Plus, I will be expanding the contest so that even those of you who do not feel artistically inclined can participate.

Monday, September 5, 2011

You know you want to win preserves

     I canned like a madwoman this week. Just take a look.

These are the regular peach preserves. I also made some with crystallized ginger. I don't know if it is possible to keep the fruit from rising to the top.

Look at this craziness. And I have already given away four! 

So, remember the painting that I told you about last week? Well, I didn't do anything to them (yet) But here they are. Don't be too harsh on them.

The contest: come on people.I KNOW that you have made something excellent. It does not have to be really recent. My friends are more creative than this. You can send them in here, facebook, or if you know my e-mail, I will e-mail it. You can even make something now. How about a haiku about your summer? I would love that!

      This week is more about doing than learning. I have gotten out of the habit of writing in my journal and it is something I'd like to do again. So this week my goal is to write in it at least 20 min a day. You may or may not know that I was a history minor. Would've been a history major except I was hoping to earn money to fund my book habit.  As a result I always write with an eye to the future. I know, nerdy and overly hopeful. I think that might be my new motto "Nerdy and Hopeful"

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Monday and I've already finished most of this week.

     So the whole hairdo for Victorian week did not work out so well. I have too much hair for it to hold together. The good news is that I still got to drink a lot of tea and didn't have to put on makeup which resulted in cleared skin. That led me to believe there is a makeup conspiracy that they all make your skin look worse so you have to use more makeup, so on and so forth.
     Anyway, this week is canning week. I have, however, already done most of my canning- about nine hours worth. I actually got a jump on the week. On Saturday I went to my mom's and she taught me how to can. It was extra special to me because her mom taught her to can and she taught me. I just wish  that Nana could have been there to show me herself. She was truly an expert. She and her sisters would raise gardens and then at the appropriate time they would all take a week off work and help each other can the garden.
     On Saturday my mom and I canned 12 jars of peach preserves. It still has not set up properly, but the recipe says it can take up to two weeks to go from syrup to jam. Either way, it is delicious. The real chore was to peel and cut up all the peaches. I used a trick that Ben's mom showed me- you boil them for two minutes and the skin peels right off.
     Sunday I canned another eight jars of peaches using a different recipe. This one had crystallized ginger and a ton of sugar. So much sugar it made me a little uncomfortable. But the recipe was featured in Southern Living so it has to be good, right? Southern Living hasn't let me down yet. I also canned two pints and three half pints of salsa. Yum! It is a simple recipe, but how cool is it to be like, "I make my own salsa with veggies from the farmer's market, thanks." I just don't know that I have it in me to can too many other things.
     If anyone is interested I will share my recipes. I might also take this time to work on the paintings I was so unhappy with last week.
     CHALLENGE: Here is a new contest for you to win. I have been trying to be creative and positive. Send me a pic or copy of something that you made in the last year. Poems, paintings, really good dinner- it is all fair game. The winner will get a jar of homemade preserves. I will run this contest for two weeks. Good luck!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Soon they blog police will come for me

     I have been neglectful of my dear blog. I will tell you why not for an excuse, but so you see what a week and a half it has been and maybe forgive me some. First of all, I spent 3 days of last week in bed with some kind of flu. I slept for nearly three days straight. No sooner was I better that Ben and I hopped in the car for an 8 hour drive to NC where we spent the weekend. We get back and there is a ton and a half of work to catch up on because we both missed quite a bit of work. Then my sweet pup hurt his tail. Still waiting to see exactly what is wrong, but I'm afraid it is broken or strained (can that happen to a tail?).
     That being said, here is the book list that I promised you two weeks ago.

Ella Minnow Pea

The Help (Although I’m usually skeptical of popular books)

The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks (Non-fiction)

In My Time (By Dick Cheney)

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Emperor of Maladies (Non-fiction)

Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate

The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Particular Sadness of Lemon cake (thanks Casey)


Packing for Mars

     I still owe you pictures of the paintings I did last week. While I did have a lot going on -see above-they are still truly disappointing. I mean, seriously. I did the electric tangerines (that were supposed to be peaches) and a night beach scene for my bathroom that looks just awful. I have to keep working on that or maybe burn it. I haven't decided.
     This week has been Victorian Week. How will this help me in the future? Not quite sure. Don't quite care.
     Besides the usual reading and research, it has so far meant observing tea, but not high tea. I'm too lazy and don't have proper tea clothes. I have also rented a book on manners and learned how to properly act and react in all situations. Apparently spitting isn't an appropriate end to an argument. Who knew?
     I tried observing the Victorian sense of modesty, but it has been over 100 degrees here and I'm not looking for a heat stroke. I don't know how they wore long skirts and sleeves and high necks plus petticoats. I wore long sleeves one day and thought I would fall out right in the parking lot. I have been observing the Victorian custom of not wearing makeup. Only whores rouge their cheeks. I'll tell you, though. It's hard to walk into work without a stitch of makeup. Especially since I feel my eyes disappear without liner or mascara.
     Tonight I am going to try a Victorian hairstyle that involves powder and lots of back combing. I hope I don't regret it for the rest of my life.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peaches, cruddy peaches.

     So this last week was write a play week. I decided to write a play that is representative of life in the generation that got lucky enough to graduate in tanking economy and cruddy political field. So here is the introduction section.

(It starts with a back lit stage. You can see the silhouette of mortarboards and a student standing at a lectern)

Valedictorian: As you move into the future, never forget the things you stand for, the beliefs you stand on or the friend that stand behind you.

(Applause and people throw their hats. The stage gets completely dark but you can hear a a group of girls talking.)

Bethany: I’m so glad I’m getting out of this place and into a city. If I hear one more person talk about getting married or the kids they are going to have I’m going to puke.

Veera: I know.  Just thinking of living here all my life and working at Kroger’s makes me want to kill myself.

Lorna: No worries. We’re going to good colleges and so we will get good jobs and be able to live a real life. Then we can laugh while we twirl our diamonds.

Bethany: Or better yet never come back.

      I hope that you can read the unrealistic optimism in that. I hope it sounds like  the high hopes you had when leaving high school. It is kind of hard to post more because the next pieces are longer or really short. So, if you are interested in any more, in seeing the decay of modern optimism, please let me know.
      This week has been paint your summer week. I have had these ideas of painting I want to create. However, I have spent the last three days sick and in a NyQuil induced haze. So all I have is one painting of peaches. Cruddy peaches that look like electric tangerines. So onward I go.
    If you painted summer, what would you paint? If I ran a competition, what would you want to win?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Paintings for you

I never posted the pics of the last contest winner's paintings. Actually, JC still hasn't got hers. Oops. So,*Spoiler Alert* for JC.

This is Kayla's painting and it's called "Electric Giraffe"

This is JC's painting and is called "Modern Wild Flowers"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It feels like lit class- heaven

     Well, I finished my book week. I ended up reading Racing in the rain, starting Same kind of Different as Me and The Street Lawyer. I am halfway through both of those books. They really are absorbing. Coincidentally the two books I am reading now are both about homeless people and a rich white man that wants to help them. I see volunteer work at a soup kitchen in my future. Racing in the rain- good story. Can't tell if it is written that way on purpose because it is the point of view of the dog or if it is just kind of poor writing. Like I said, it is a good story, but too many descriptors some times.
     I made a list of the books that I want to read, but I'm updating on my lunch break, so I am not sure what they are. I know for sure I want to read Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. All of her stuff is hilarious AND informative. Just as importantly, she was part of the inspiration for this whole blog!
      I also want to read Lena Roy's new novel Edges. I've been following her blog ( )for a while and like her writing style. I can't wait to read something novel length. Technically it is young adult lit, but I find the best young adult lit is just like regular fiction without the swear words.
     This week is write a play week. What I can tell you so far is that it is named "Reunion" and is a statement about youth in the modern day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Oggi si festeggia il tuo compleanno ma io lo festeggio tutti i giorni

Buon Giorno!
     This week was fun and informative. Of course, I didn't master the Italian language, but I did learn some useful phrases. Such as "ho fame" which means I'm hungry. In Italian isn't that all you really need to know? I can also greet and introduce myself. I sort of know the days of the week, but I get it mixed up with Spanish. Italian/ Spanish Uno- uno Due- dos Tre- tres Quattro- quatro Cinque- Cinco. The pronunciations are a little different, though. So I am realizing as I write this that it is not exciting to read. It is, however, the most mentally enriching thing I've done in a while.
     To keep up the trend I am taking this week to catch up on contemporary literature. Clearly I can not read a ton of books in one week. I do plan to read some, but more importantly I plan to read reviews and compile and awesome 'to read' list. Now, this comment board better by lit up because I know I have some hardcore readers out there. Help me out, folks! I want to hear your reviews, too.

PS- The phrase means "Today is the celebration of your birthday but I celebrate it every day." I just memorized it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Loser week....

   To make up for the lateness of the last post, you get this perfectly on time.
   This week was a major fail. It was write a mystery week. I did not finish a single mystery. I could not write anything that actually left you wondering. Either it was waaaaay to easy or did not make sense. I really wish I had a short story to post for you. Something bright and clever that would make you go "Ah!" But I do not.
     If any of you have written a successful mystery story I would love to hear from you. Any tips? Part of me wants to get it right. Another part says 'move on to another genre.'
     This week is learn Italian week. I will probably only get to the greetings, but who cares? It's Italian!

OK, pretend this was from last week...

     Last week was las paletas week. Paletas are a type of Latin American Popsicle. Wikipedia says, "The name comes from palo, or "stick," and the diminutive ending -eta, referencing the little flat stick frozen into each item." I strongly suggest that in this summer heat you experiment with these yourself.
     I bought a Popsicle maker from Bed, Bath and Beyond- you know one of those little plastic things with brightly colored holders that you stick into it. I got the one that has the little sipper thing, too, so that you get to enjoy it even as it melts. It costs me $3.
     There are two types of paletas- cream based and water-based. I tried both and loved both. Some of the combos I made were as follows:
  • Coconut milk and toasted coconut (cream based)
  • Coconut and large pineapple pieces (cream based)
  • Mango (water based)
  • Mango and sweet tea (water based)
  • Arnold Palmer (which is half lemonade and half tea. It tastes like really lemony tea)
  • Pineapple (water based)
  • Pineapple and pineapple sage (water based)
     I had planned to make cherry and cherry yogurt swirl, but Ben and I ate all the cherries before that could happen. I also tried to work out a s'morescycle. Too sticky so far. There are some paletas that are traditional that I have not the courage for such as dill pickle and avocado.
     I love experimenting like this. I discovered some fun flavor combos and eat Popsicles. I have kept making my faves ( pineapple and I made peach) because it is so darn hot. The best part is that they are all natural- no unnatural flavors or preservatives or colors. Even the "real fruit" pops have all of that stuff in it. What is not to love?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oooh, yeah.....

     So the title I forgot last week was "moment of death". if it tells you how good it was I forgot I watched it. I did learn that cooling the body during heart attack or stroke does not just reduce brain damage it can also help bring a person back to a higher level on consciousness that without. Hm.
    This week was tough but rewarding. Can I tell you how hard it is to buy at the grocery store? I ate lots of veggies and organic meat. I even found some pasta that was just semolina, salt and water. Other than that I did not eat breads. Most grains that are available have preservatives. Unless you make your own. Just doing this for one week I decided I would rather just go without. Cooking became vital for this week. There are few easy meals unless you just want a bunch or raw veggies. That is fine for some meals, but I really don't care to eat that for all of them.
    On Thursday I had a major meltdown. I was tired from the week and did not want to cook. I had ran out of fruits. I didn't want to cook breakfast. I didn't want to cook something for lunch. So I just ate cereal. Oops. And for lunch I had a salad. Not too bad. Just the dressing threw it off. Oh, and the hot dog. Still...
     What was the result? I guess I fell better. So far I can't really tell about that. However, I have gotten two compliments on my complexion while at work. I figure if it can make my skin look that good in one week, well six days, then what would it do in a month? Si I have decided to keep it up. I will not be so exclusive. I will try to keep all artificials to a minimum.
     So the fourth of July fell during my diet. What did I have? I made ribs, but I had to make my own sauce to keep it "real food". here is a rough recipe. Remember if you try it, do it all to taste.

1 small can of tomato puree
1 box of organic chicken stock (Be sure to check the ingredients)
2 Tbsp non-processed brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
dash of liquid smoke
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin

1. Basically just mix it all together, adding the chicken stock slowly. I got my very thing because I based the ribs often. You can keep it thick if you want.
2. Salt and pepper your ribs.
3. Cover you ribs in the sauce. Cover with tinfoil.
4. Bake for at least 4 hours in a 300 degree oven.
5. For a crispy skin remove the foil and bake another 15 min.

     Besides the ribs I had corn on the cob and mashed potatoes. Most good butter is only made of cream and salt. Watch for yellow food coloring! Then dessert was blueberries. I also ate omelets, organic oatmeal, meatloaf (with organic sugar-free ketchup) and sauteed zucchini and layered bean salad.
     This week is once again food related. it is Las Paletas week. That is a style of Popsicle made of crazy flavors. SO far I have made mango tea pops and Arnold Palmer pops. I am looking at how to do S'mores and coconut. Maybe something spicy. Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I think I am forgetting a title

     This week was fantastic. I watched at least one documentary everyday (sometimes more) and then discussed what I learned with Ben. Well, I told him about it while he brushed his teeth or shaved. That way he had to stay and listen.

Appalachian Trail (National Geographic)- This had the most beautiful cinematography. It talked about the Appalachian trail and the people who walk it. There was not a whole lot of history, but the scenery alone is worth the watch.

Ancient New York (History Channel) This was interesting, but more of a pop documentary with cool graphics. Did you know that NY was a sea? And then was landlocked? And then had a giant glacier that move 4 FEET PER DAY? Well it was, it was, and it had.

Sawfish (Nat Geo) I only caught part of this one. They tried to make you like these fish, but it made me never want to go into the ocean again.

Very Young Girls (Shotime) THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. It was so moving that i cried over 50% of the movie. The average age that girls start prostitution is 13. 13. 13. I bet you have a niece or daughter or cousin that is that age. Some come from broken homes, some are abducted and brainwashed. ALL ARE ABUSED AND SEXUALLY EXPLOITED. This is a film about those girls and the struggle to "get out of the life." Are there answers how to fix it? Not really.

Conan Can't Stop (Pariah) Do not expect the Conan that you see on TV. This is about his tour that arose from the contract that said he could not be on TV, Internet or radio for six months. There are many many funny moments. HOWEVER, there are just as many thoughtful and anxious moments. You can never quite tell if he loves what he is doing or hates it all. Although with performers it can be a combo of both.

Freakonomics If you read the book, you don't really need to see this. It is cute, but does not give much more information than the book. If you have not read the book then definitely watch this. It makes you think in different ways than before. Like why do so many women who end up exotic dancers already have names like Candi and Unneeke? Why do real estate agents give you advice that they themselves would not do? How corrupt is the Sumo world?

Food Matters (Permacology Productions) This is an interesting documentary that is ushering me into the new week. it is about the current harmfulness of our food and food industry. The only thing is that it seems like inflated science. Maybe a little stretching of the truth. Have you seen What The Bleep Do We Know? It is the same kind of science that is built off some truth, but is just as much opinion. Although it is hard to tell the difference. That kind of thing can make these documentaries so dangerous. If I did what they said I would go and take 3 or 4 multi vitamins a day. They say doctors are lying when they say that some vitamins are toxic in large doses. But I know that I have read about people who took too much iron and got sick. Fat soluble vitamins especially.

This next week is "food without chemicals" week. Nothing I eat will have colors, preservatives, processed sugar or any other of the crazy stuff. Only real, whole foods. I will urge you to try this for one day. It is a lot harder than even being vegan. It will open your eyes to what we eat.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Look at teh counter!

     Watch who is number 600! Let me know and there may be a surprise in it for you.  I am also still calling for your expertise. I know that some of you can teach me something. Do you know how to say," I would love some soup" in Chinese? Do you know the secret to flaky pastry?
     My friend Beth just recently taught me how to take better photos of jewelry. She is an amazing jewelry maker and is used to this kind of stuff. I think the key that would have helped me is adjusting the white balance. We'll see. Thanks again for your help, Beth!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fuzzy pictures and Status Quo

     Law week was helpful for me and for my work, but good reading? No. It is a lot of technical terms and boring procedures. Nothing you want to hear about unless you are looking for a divorce. Then call me.
      Instead this week I am posting the pics of the beads I made. I have made them into bracelets. Sorry that the pics are fuzzy, but I could not get an up-close and clear photo. Anyone have any suggestions as to how to make that happen without buying a new camera?

Can you see the pink, purple and green swirl?

This is my fave!

I call these tie-dye beads. You could see them if you could see them up close.

Not my fave.
          This is documentary week. I plan to watch documentaries and learn how they are made. I also hope to get ideas for upcoming weeks. Again, I would love your input. Is there anything you know that you can teach me? Other languages? Mad knot tying skills? Dog Whispering?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Last week was so much better

     I know, I know. I've been a bad blogger. I have not updated you with my book, photos of beads or anything. Someday when I'm not blogging on my lunch hour you will get all of those things, but for now.
     Clay week was fun. I only got five colors so my projects are a little limited. Mix colors? Leave it to me to buy unusual colors that all seem to mix to make a shade lighter of the same color or brown. I got Peacock, Olive, Dusty Rose, Pearl and shimmer purple (the actual name escapes me). With these I made several swirl pattern beads. I also delved into caning (not as fun as it sounds). It involves rolling logs of clay with patterns in the middle, slicing them, rolling the slices out and using it to cover a bead base.
     The main problem I had was in baking them. I burned up 1/2 of them. they went from not done to crispy. A few survived. I think it might be my oven because I made some cookies that went from raw to blackened in the lowest prescribed time on the tube. I think it may be because the oven is as old as I am.
     I also had a little issue with making holes in the beads and not squishing them to funny shapes. That might be solved with better equipment, but I didn't want to invest a ton in something I wasn't sure I would like.
     This week has been named by itself. It is law week. One of the women in my office went on vacation and I am standing in. This has meant that I've had to learn more about the process and all of the cases. I've been reading up outside of work trying not to look too stupid while at work. So I decided to make a week of it and go all out. However, I don't like this week so far and I am ready for it to be over. But it will make me better at my job.
     "Boo being a grown up. Hurray imagination!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Still no novel

     So, I still did not complete my novel, but I made some real progress. Angelita has now survived the battle. I can say that without giving anything away because it would be a bad author that killed the main character in the first 30 pages. Or a great one. I'm not sure. The point is- she is alive!
     I will put up a snippet soon. My lovely boyfriend bought me a new computer and I don't have all my files transferred. It is an excellent problem to have.
     This week, in honor of my good friend Vicky, is clay week. I have been making beads. Nothing too sophisticated yet, but it is fun. They had a deal at Michael's 4 for $5 and one lump makes so many beads. Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas. Visit Vicky at to see why she inspires me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Organized and artsy

    This will be a short update. Organizing was necessary but makes for boring reading.
     I hope that you will forgive me, but I am repeating a week. I am doing write a novel week again. I will be attempting to finish the first one. I know that several of you out there are writers so I'm inviting you to share the title or general plot to one of your stories. We can pretend we are in an old fashioned artist bohemian paradise. I can almost smell the patchouli and unshaven pits now...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Starting off my new year right.

               Celebration week was the best idea I've had so far! I know that some of you participated along with me because I was there. For those of you more remote, I hope you found your own ways to have fun. This week was full. Monday night I had to work but we made it a celebration by laughing more than we worked. Tuesday I went to dinner with a good friend and then Ben and I went to see Pirates 4. Wednesday I went out with the ever-excellent Gloria to paint pottery. Thursday day we celebrated at work with donuts and presents.  Thursday night I celebrated with sleep; 12 hours to be exact. It was supposed to be a nap before going out to dinner and I just didn’t wake up. I am a little concerned that Ben didn’t wonder if I was still living. I did not move until 6 a.m. the next day.

                Now the real party weekend. The celebration started because my boss let us out early from work because she didn’t want to work anymore than we did. I went to the mall and treated myself to a tiara and new shade of lipstick. Then it was on to Virago for a friend’s going away party and then to Fido to meet 3 friends for dinner. Next it was to Sambuca for the best flourless chocolate cake that exists. All with my closest friend in Nashville.

                I didn’t get to party that hard because I was up early the next morning and to my Dad’s farm for ½ of the family celebration. My dad, brother, two sisters, one brother-in-law, niece, nephew and their friends all fished and then ate lunch on the dock. Dad even thought enough in advance to get me a cake (even if he couldn’t remember how old I was. I heard 23, 24, and 26. Definitely not 25). After that I left and went to Hendersonville for Seafood with mom’s side of the family. Friends, cousins, my aunt and uncle and of course mom all came and we had a great time. I had stuffed crabs. Sadly, there was no cake involved. But  I still wore my tiara

                Sunday was mostly sleeping until Ben and I went and ate Mexican. How did you celebrate? 

This week is organization week. I am getting my house organized and my personal papers. It is not really a skill that I’m learning, but I could definitely use practice. Otherwise I’m just going to have to move and leave ½ my stuff there.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Almost a two week update

So you all know that last week was gratitude week. It really helped me look on the bright side in a week I would have gladly sulked through. Here is a  condensed list of mini-gratitude

  • Stained glass making beautiful light patterns on the wall
  • My dog and cat laying with me on the couch when I was upset (the cat kept his butt on the dog's head)
  • The perfect Chai latte
  • My sister calling me at work just to say she loves me
  • Ben cleaning the kitchen unprovoked
  • Snapple Sorbet pops that cost $1 for ten! Kiwi Strawberry are the best.
  • Watching cat vs. cicada
  • Real mail from a real person
  • Meanie-free days at work
  • My fave lip gloss going on sale
       This week, in honor of my birthday, I have been studying the art of celebration. An easy week, you say? You try bringing the spirit of celebration everywhere you go. To work, to the doctor's office, to the bank. It is particularly difficult with crabby people around. But It has been well worth it. It has been one of the best weeks ever (so far). In the office I have single-handedly brought down productivity levels by 30% and party level up 42%. I managed to talk to the lady at the bank for 15 min about going to the beach and holiday plans.
       I suggest you try it too. It makes mundane tasks much more fun. Try bringing candy with you or wearing an unusual hat. Fortune cookies can also make a party.
       I am still going to run the contest. You have until Monday to submit your list. PS- did anyone see who was visitor 400?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lunchtime update

      Sewing week was fun, if not productive. I mended some clothes (that I had procrastinated on). My biggest project was kind of a joke gift. My boss joked that she needed a bib because almost every time she eats lunch she spills on her nice shirts. So I made the most upscale bib you ever saw. It is black material somewhere between polyester and satin. It is big and square cut so that when on it just looks like a shirt and not like you were going to the crab shack. The strap does not tie in the back but come around the back and snaps on the right shoulder. There is a pretty silver button as decoration so that you can’t see the snaps.

      In the process I learned how to make knife pleats. I learned about box pleats and fold pleats as well. I experimented with those techniques on scrap fabric and don’t have much to show for it. Even beginner lessons on pleating had terms too advanced for my skill set. I also worked on making button holes, but none of them actually became button holes. I’d like to remind you that this is all done by hand. I don’t have a working sewing machine. The non-sewing portion of sewing week was also fun. I learned to make cheap dress forms. What can’t duct tape do?  I will have to post the pics soon.

                This week is gratitude week. I have hit a rough patch again with news of an impending surgery (although they should be able to do it laproscopically) and my car needing repair, so I decided that it is best if I spend this week focusing on the positive. I am making lists every day of the top ten things that I am grateful for that day. I am trying to be very specific and be grateful for really small things every day. Of course I could say, “I am grateful for my family, for my friends, health, having plenty of food…” But those are too broad. To really feel the gratitude it helps to list specifics. For example, one thing on my list for Tuesday is that my sister called me at work to tell me that she loved me. It really made my day.

                As an added incentive for all of you to participate I am offering a deal. For each one of you that sends me a list of what you are grateful for this week I will send a dollar to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, my budget limits it to 30 people. But still, a dollar is a dollar. Let me hear your gratitude!

PS- because this is a little late I will run the offer through next week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A very clever title

              So, I hate to say this again, but this week wasn’t much of a week. I tried to watch classic movies. Sarah was even nice enough to furnish me with a bag full of DVDs. But every time I got ready to watch, I fell asleep. I’m sure it has something to do with working over 57 hours this week. That does, however, bring me to a very important point that I have been thinking about for a while.

 The word “busy” is crippling our relationships. I want you to really think about all the times in the last month that you used “too busy” as an excuse. How many times has a loved one been too busy? We have all reconnected with a neglected friend and exchanged ‘oh it’s been so busy’s?   Even worse than not spending time with family and friends is that the phrase “too busy” implies, “What I am busy with is more important to me than you are.”

This whole month I have been trying not to say that I am too busy. Even when I am swamped with work and exhausted, I try to say yes to things. If I cannot I try and let the person know that it is a previous commitment that I am unable to cancel. If I am tired, I will tell them that I am too tired.  I hope that people feel better knowing that I am working hard, but still thinking about them all the time.

This week is sewing week. This should be some fun because I am attempting to make a dress form with duct tape and saran wrap.

As we move on, keep an eye on the counter. The 400th visitor might get something special to commemorate their 400ness.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Look at my purty writin

     So, calligraphy is a lot harder than it looks. Particularly if you have terrible handwriting in the first place. In my reseaarch I found several types of calligraphy scripts. There is Japanese, Arbic and variations on script. There is an old english style, loopy script and every combination in between. I wish there was more that I could tell you, but really it is about practice and patience. Here are a couple of examples:

     So, who want me to do their wedding invites? :D

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 motion

     Poetry week was really just an excuse for me to luxuriate in words without giving in to more reasonable To-Dos. I love it as usual. Right now I am away from my books, but soon I will post the names of my  favorite new poems. I managed to memorize a bit of "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron and "Music When Soft Voices Die," by Shelley.
      Special mentions to Vicky and Casey who sent me their favorite poems. If only we lived closer we could have a killer poetry club. I'd bring nachos! An EXTRA SPECIAL mention goes to my big sis Cindy who sent me an original. She didn't want it shared, so I will not. She hides her pen under a barrel too often and I hope someday she will share some of her writing.
     Inspired by my reading this week is Calligraphy week! I got a late start as I was in NC for three days out of the week. Oh well, onward and upward. Thanks to Casey I have also decided to to a 'classic' movie week soon. Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Late week update

   So, only one person has shared a poem. Whats with that? I have been reading a lot of poetry, but my attempts to memorize have almost all failed. But I would like more input from you the viewer. Have you memorized any poems? Whitman, Byron, Millay, Suess? And if you have any suggestions of what you would like to see in coming weeks I would like to hear it. If you are not too crazy, then I'll do it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yay vegan week!

     So, this week was the hardest one that I have done and yet the most rewarding. Being vegan cuts out a lot of things that most people don't even think about. One big stumbling block was sugar. Any sugar processed and bleached is made with bone meal. The crushed bones of animals? Ooh, sounds delish... Anyway, more than you'd think has hidden sugar in it. Ketchup, granola, peanut butter and more. Sugar was the only thing that I had strong cravings for. I wanted it sooo bad by day three.
     I have to admit that I slipped a few times. A muffin, a bite of ranch dressing on a fry (the fry was vegan), and on the last night I ate creme brulee. Oops. I loved it. I will admit that I did have more energy. But I ate like seven times a day. I stayed hungry. Perhaps if I had planned starches better that would not have happened.
     I'm sure you are all waiting on tenterhooks to see who won the contest. Well, I only had two real entries. Thank you Kayla Park (gravy) and JC Fulton (chocolate chip cookies) for two real, excellent recipes. Both of you get a prize- an original Hannah acrylic painting. As soon as I finish painting them I will send them off and post a pic.  Natalie- what were you trying to do to me? Guacamole on an endive did not work out for me. And of course, a (dis)honorable mention to Dana Hunter who quite obviously cheated. I really got the giggles, but I appreciated the fact that you took the time to google it.

This week: poetry week. Want to participate? Send your favorite poem. Let's act like we learned at college!