Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Evening in Pictures

*A birthday present for Erika's Mom
*Hand-sealed birthday card
*Collaged, recycled jewelry box wrapping with a bow made out of dried maple leaves.
*Dinner: Yellow onions, garlic, and fresh oregano and basil from my garden cooking in olive oil.
*Slightly roasted, just the way I like it.
*Fresh tomatoes, diced.
*Black olives, sloppily minced
*Served over multi-grain radiatori and garnished with fresh basil.
*To finish: the last slice of my pie made with fresh, locally grown rhubarb and plump strawberries.

Now, I'm going to curl up with some trashy TV and my knitting.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Will Grayson Spoiler Alert!

There is always something to be said for trying new things. The ability to try new things, the openness to new experiences, is something I value in others and strive for in myself. However, there are some times when I crave the familiar. It doesn't matter how many times I find a new exciting recipe and get all a-twitter about a new vichyssoise (with zucchinie?!?!?) or exciting new bread-making techniques, I will still have days when I just want Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

It was only yesterday that I found myself having the same experience with books. I was having a not-so-marvelous night, and I decided to hole up in my room to read. As I scanned my truly monstrous to-read pile/shelves of books, I quite literally put my hands on my hips and said out loud, "I need comfort food." It took me a second to look, and then I pulled Sabriel by Garth Nix off my shelf (a childhood favorite). I decided to skip all the exposition and go right for the best part. Chapter 11 is really when it gets crazy: crashing paperwings, cats that aren't cats, princes that aren't princes that are really made out of wood, etc. I sat myself down and read until there was no more to read. The lovers had kissed, the wounds had been tended, and the evil Kerigor was vanquished. Wonderful!

It was today, with more time to read, that I had the option of reading the follow up novel -Lirael- or picking up something new instead. As satisfying as Garth Nix's novels are, and always will be, they're predictable. Those books will never be quite as magical as they were the first time I read them. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for predictable endings. Sometimes I watch Pride and Prejudice because I go into it knowing the Darcy and Bingley and the Misses Bennett will figure it all out in the end. Our own lives can never be like that, so we can gain comfort in a certain amount of the known fates of fictional friends. I get that.

There comes a point, though, when relying on the security of other people's happy endings is just a crutch. There comes a time when we need to take a risk, meet new people, try a new genre and go into a book NOT knowing.

The book I read today, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, did have a happy ending. In fact, it had one of the happiest endings I've ever read, but this was not a comfortable book to read. Not. Comfortable. At all. Not because it was largely about men, several of them gay, but because (more than in many books I read) I saw a lot of myself reflected in the characters. It was because of that discomfort -and believe me, I know how cheesy this sounds even as I write it - that this book affected me so much. The 'not-knowing' was pivotal to my reading of this book, as was my apparent (yet disturbing) empathy with Midwestern gay teenagers.

I think in literature, as much as in life, that a reliance on what is known and expected is a kind of emotional laziness, maybe even addiction. Like those women who read romance novels by the pound and can't even remember which ones they've already read. No one wants to turn into that. It can seem to give comfort, but is ultimately a weakness if used too often.

Anyway, all philosophizing aside, both of the above-mentioned books are fabulous, and if you haven't read them, please do, and the moral of this rant is: next time you're craving mac'n cheese, try the vichyssoise instead.

My name is not Will Grayson, but I appreciate you, Tiny Cooper.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I just completed three writing assignments in the last four hours. That was stupid. Now, all the caffeine I drank to keep myself awake is preventing me from taking advantage of the 2.75 hours till my alarm goes off for like...sleeping and stuff. bummer. Don't procrastinate kids....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Danger: Super gross food ahead!

So, I've been doing most of my writing away from the computer lately. It's been a productive turn of events, but I feel guilty about leaving you out of the loop. I've been writing a lot about the garbage patch in the Pacific ocean. Super depressing. You're probably glad I'm not talking about it.

Anyway, here are a few things I thought I would never say, that I just said to myself:

"Well....jicama in this dish was CLEARLY a mistake."


"This needs much more cumin. What? out of cumin!?! ......Do I still have some of those Taco Bell sauce packets lying around?......SCORE!"

Needless to say, tonights efforts were an object lesson in why you should not perform culinary experiments with limited materials in the middle of the night while trying to read a textbook.

On an unrelated note. really really really stupid.

That's all.

Wally out

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Wanna Shank You Like I Shoooould!

Hey there! Sorry for two boring posts, but I did most of my writing on paper today.

I also want to take a minute to step back from all the crazy introspection and doom/gloom stuff I've been writing to say how amazingly great my life is.

Nicole asked me today if I ever thought about the friendships I've had in the past that ended. I replied that I actually think about that a lot. I also think about the amazing number of friends I've retained through years of young stupidity, hysterics, and transition. I am insanely lucky and insanely loved by more people than one woman deserves.

So even on days, like today, when I am this tired and this frustrated, I still manage to spend a few hours laughing with my friends.

The world is instantly a better place when you have people who know you well enough to know that, "I love you so many stomachs," is the sweetest thing I've ever heard.

I'm going to go pass out now.

Mea Failpa!

I know, I know, I just got back on the wagon, and I had every intention of posting yesterday, and I DID write 500 words (or more). I simply didn't get around to posting anything. Mostly because....well, when I finished my homework the clock said 5:30 am and my alarm was set for I decided that sleeping before my in class essay was more important than my blog. Silly, I know, what was I thinking?

So, here's my early morning shout out: Hi!

Now, I'm going to finish my oatmeal and green tea. Then off to school......yay?

Have a good day! Peace out!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back In The Saddle Again!

Sorry, folks, I fell off the wagon. I got tired and busy and I didn't make writing a priority. Which is exactly what I am NOT supposed to do. So, I'm taking a page out of the vlogbrother's book and asking you, my devoted reader(s), to prescribe a punishment for not writing. Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Let me start off my saying that I have a pimple inside my nose. It really hurts. Especially since I'm still kicking the tail end of this cold. Nasty business.

So, what have I been up to?

Well, I made this: for the daughter of my bosses. Cthulhu dice bag for the win!

I also wrote a lot of letters, worked a lot, and caught up on some much needed rest. Eleven days without a day off was just too much, my mind was melting. I've also managed to not do any homework. Gosh I'm a slacker. I'm going to be tired this week too, I can feel it. I just still need to get back in the habit of having homework that I HAVE TO get done before I actually live my life. It's so strange to have to force myself to prioritize something that I have no interest in. It seems so backward.

I can't believe January is almost over. This year is 1/12 over. Not a huge chunk of the pie, but still. Being conscious of how fast time sneaks away is something that has come to me with age, not that I'm that old mind you. I used to not think of it, though. I know that sounds cliché, but it's true. In all of my smaller classes I've been asked in one way or another what my long-term goals and plans are.

I still have no idea.

I can feel my life moving onward, my age increasing, my decisions making themselves by my inaction, but still I have no clue. I'm coming to the time in my life where that isn't cute anymore. I've always had a plan. Before I needed a plan, I had one. When I was eight years old I printed off the student handbook for Edinburgh University. I was going to go there when I was out of high school, study literature, and then move to the Scottish countryside, become a hermit, write books, and raise goats. That was my serious life plan for more years than I care to admit.

Even later in life when I had a better grasp of reality and the things that would actually make me happy, I still had a plan. A different plan: get a scholarship to Washington University in St. Louis, study architecture, get a scholarship to Yale, study graduate level architecture, get a brilliant job, design sustainable buildings for the third world, save humanity.

Still a little crazy, a fact I realized in the midst of step number 2 of that plan. I was massively unhappy and had a meltdown. I all but checked out entirely during my third semester of college. I spent the vast majority of that semester wandering around Forrest Park and the St Louis art museum, decorating my class drafting studio with paper snowflakes, and getting in fights with my professors. Word to the wise, if you are taking an art-based class with no concrete grading criteria, it would behoove you not to call the professor a bitch to her face and scream, “Oh yeah, what are you going to do to me if I don't feel like sticking around after class to set up your stupid gallery show? Huh? WHAT CAN YOU DO?”

She can give you a C is what, even if you work your ass off, that's what she can do. I guess I should count myself lucky. In my own defense for that stupidity, I hadn't slept in about three days and I was having massive withdrawals from a prescription I was taking back then. I was a my game.

Anyway, aside from that bizarre flashback, the point I was attempting to make is that since that time I haven't really had a concrete plan. My plan is that I don't need a plan. I don't know what I want to do so why force it? Well, if I don't start making decisions soon, all my decisions will be made for me. I'll get stuck, I'll waste opportunities. Any kindergartener, when you ask them, can answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I still can't answer that, and it's really starting to bum me out. :-P

For now, I'll plug along. I had my staff Christmas party tonight, and if I'm going to waste away in a retail job, I couldn't ask for a better trench to toil in. Them's are a good lot, that's for sure.

ps- creepiest beverage ever = rooibos tea in a skull mug