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.